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de Havilland D.H.82C Tiger Moth – N667EA (CF-IVO)

EAA’s de Havilland D.H.82C Tiger Moth is one of the earliest aircraft in its collection, having been donated by Royal Canadian Air Force Chaplin Father John MacGillivray (EAA 3974) following the 1964 EAA Convention and Fly-In at Rockford.

Early in 1948, as part of the build-up to establish technical training for its air mechanics, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) acquired three ex-Royal Canadian Air Force D.H.82C Tiger Moths from civilian sources. The first Tiger Moth served with Fleet Requirements Unit 743 providing support to the fleet, while the remaining two were maintenance trainers. In 1949, two Tiger Moths were retired from the RCN and the third was dismantled and placed in storage. In the summer of 1954 it was reassembled and used as a general utility aircraft until finally being struck off RCN strength in November 1957. This aircraft was acquired in mid 1958 by Father John MacGillivary, a Roman Catholic Chaplin based with the RCAF at Summerside, Prince Edward Island. The Moth was registered as CF-IVO and was painted navy blue with white wings and accent trim and red wing struts.

Fr. MacGillivray had a passion for flying and obtained his private pilot’s license in March 1956 while stationed with the RCAF in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He had logged very little flying time in a Cessna 140, when he acquired CF-IVO. Regardless of experience, he set about to explore his immediate surroundings in Canada’s Maritime Provinces with short cross country hops to places like Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and New Glasgow.

By the summer of 1959, Fr. MacGillivray was ready to spread his wings. With a fresh membership in a new organization called the Experimental Aircraft Association, he decided to venture off to the annual EAA convention and fly-in at Rockford, IL. This was a serious undertaking for a low-time pilot on his first long trip in an aircraft that by today’s standards was very under equipped. Navigation was by dead reckoning and compass and the trip was made without radio communications. He departed Moncton, NB on August 3rd and arrived at Rockford on August 8th with stops at fourteen towns in Canada and the U.S. While at Rockford, he had the opportunity to meet a number of EAA pioneers who were to become close friends in the decades that followed. These included Marty and Ruth Haedtler, Paul Poberezny, Steve Wittman, and, as he said at the time, “more swell people than I can remember”.

After a two-day visit to the Rockford Fly-in, Fr. John reversed his route and returned to Nova Scotia arriving there on August 13th. The trip lasted 10 days and he logged 39 hours and 40 minutes, but it was the start of a life long love affair with EAA. Apart from a two year posting to Germany, he never missed an EAA convention until his death in 1995. Fr. MacGillivray’s account of that first trip to Rockford appeared in the October 1959 edition of Sport Aviation and it describes vividly the experience and the emotions he felt.

By the time the EAA Fly-in rolled around in the summer of 1961 Fr. MacGillivray was posted with the RCAF to Baden-Soellingen, Germany so the Moth remained in Summerside until June 1963 when he returned to Canada. On July 19 of that year he was off to Rockford again.

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.

    Lord and maker of all things,
    Bless the hands that fashion wings,
    Forming Beauty, Faith and Hope,
    Of lowly things, like wood and dope.
    Bless each fresh new eager span
    Sprung from careful thought and plan;
    Bless the ancient, tried and true
    That ventured first through Heaven’s blue.
    May this fellowship of Flight,
    Choose what’s best, but first what’s right.
    United here, through flight, may we
    Together, share Eternity.
    Amen
    Father John W. MacGillivray, EAA 3974, (Aug. 30, 1923 – Feb. 5, 1995)

This aircraft was researched by EAA volunteer Jack Neima, EAA #413636 (nephew of Fr. John MacGillivray).

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