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From the Archives — 50 Years Ago, the AC Champion Spark Plug/EAA Kickoff Rally

By Ian Brown, Editor

October 2019 - We can learn a couple of interesting facts this month from this article from 50 years ago about the AC Champion spark plug sponsorship of the kickoff rally at the start of Oshkosh — one about Canadian participation and the other about the gender split.

Three of the 28 participants were from Canada. That's about a perfect representation of the population split today of 10-to-1. One of the names should be very familiar to regular readers of our newsletter: Father John MacGillivray in his CF-NXT. He came in seventh out of 28 participants. If you Google CF-NXT, you will find the following on EAA's website: "During his European posting Fr. MacGillivray purchased a 1935 Miles Hawk and had it shipped to Canada where it was registered as CF-NXT. Both airplanes were hangared at his new posting, RCAF Station Chatham, New Brunswick. You can only fly one airplane at a time, so it was decided that 'IVO' would be donated to the EAA museum following the 1964 fly-in. On August 9, 1964, CF-IVO carried its last passenger, Pete Bowers, at the Rockford fly-in."

Our own Jack Neima, key member of our Canadian Council, provided this information.

It was not possible to find any references to the other Canadian aircraft in attendance — CF-REH flown by Gerry Younger and CF-BBS piloted by Harry Barr — but it's interesting to note that of all the participants in the AC Kickoff Rally, there was only one woman, Constance Marsh flying N671M. That's about a 3 percent female participation, though one more or less could have skewed that statistic significantly.

Do you know of any more history on these early participants in our annual trip to the world's biggest fly-in? Please contact us and tell us what you know.

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