Gander 1956 - still a reference
for spark plug ads


This wonderful magazine ad  appeared in  "American Aviation" on 16 January 1956.  It shows well that the profile of Gander in the mid 1950's was still high enough to be considered a reference point in the aviation world.

It was normal in those days, and no longer very risky,  to fly the Atlantic in a 2-engine prop aircraft  -  2750 miles from Gander to Paris in a bit under 9 hours.  In late November 1942, it was quite a different story when similarly looking, but unpressurized and unheated Hudsons eaked their way across the Atlantic without any navigations aids to talk about - in only an hour or so more.  

The aircraft shown is a Lockheed Learstar.  These aircraft started out as Lodestars which had its first test  flight in 1939 and were used by the military. A number of them were converted to civilian use as Learstars after the war.  Rumour has it that they were sometimes successful as drug-runners! 

Probably the biggest difference was the power of the engines. The Hudson Mark ll used 1,100 hp Wright Cyclone 9-cylinder radials while the Learstart Mk 1 was powered by R-1820-76A engines, at 1425 hp.  Given the difference in power, equipment and conditions, the Hudson pilots had to be pretty hot to get close to the same performance. They both however used Champion plugs.

After some searching, I may have even come up with a real photo of the same aircraft !

It is interesting to note that the Lear name has become Candianized  and is now used by Bombardier. As well, there is quite a resemblance to the Lockheed Hudsons which did the first Ferry Command flights from Gander to Europe in 1940.