Friday, 2nd December 2005
INVITATION TO THE 16th ANNUAL ICOA
WINTER WEEKEND RENDEZVOUS
Dear Challenger owners and friends:
Again this year, with the help of Mr. Bryan Quickmire of National Ultralight Inc., Canadian Distributor of the Challenger aircraft series, I am organising a 16th edition of the annual International Challenger Owners Association (ICOA Canada) Winter Weekend Rendez-Vous. This fun-filled skiplane event will be held on the 28-29 January 2006 at the beautiful Chateau Montebello, 392 rue Notre Dame, Montebello, QC. The GPS co-ordinates for the hotel's location are N 45 39 W 74 57.
This year, our Rendez-Vous will feature three Saturday "hangar flying" sessions. Starting at 11:30 hrs in the Quebec Room, Mr. Quickmire and Mr. Bill Dawes, Challenger Dealer for the Ottawa area (www.challengerottawa.ca) will hold an information session on what's new with the Challenger, including the new approved gross weights, support for the Rotax 582 and pricing/packaging policy. Refreshments will be served. At 14:00 hrs in the same Quebec Room, there will be a slide presentation by Mr. Dale Erhart from Comox, BC, on the pleasures of building and flying his Challenger on the West Coast as well as the lessons learned. Following a refreshment break, at 15:30 hrs, Sylvie Perreault and Arlo Speer from Transport Canada will inform us of the very latest, including the new passenger carrying endorsement for ultralight pilot permit holders.
As well, tradition willing, Mr. Frank Hofmann, Secretary to the Board of Directors and Quebec representative, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), will also be giving us his thoughts on the latest trends in the world of aviation. Finally, the evening's post-banquet presentation will be an entertaining slide show by Gord Ekstrom from Woodlawn, ON, and Claude Roy from Carp, ON, about their summer 2005 float flying escapade to Lake Superior.
Saturday morning is usually your best time to observe the airplanes coming in and buzzing all along the River. Anyone with an air radio should monitor the local frequency 123.2 mHz or the enroute frequency 122.75 mHz.
Last year, our 15th Rendez-Vous was held in this same venue. The weather was ideal all weekend long. A total of about 58 aircraft, of which 36 were Challengers, made it to Montebello and all returned home safely. Attendance at the Saturday evening banquet was our best ever. A record attendance of 196 people (up from 193 the previous year) enjoyed a superb meal and excellent company.
Mr. Jim Donnelly won the 2005 "Long Distance" Award for his great flight to Montebello from London, Ontario. The father-and-son team of Pierre and Dany Brisson won the 2005 "Best Show Plane" Award with their beautifully rendered 2004 Challenger II C-IPJB. The prestigious "Maurice Vinet" Award, honouring a Challenger Pilot who exemplifies the passion for flight of the late Maurice Vinet, went to Harold Young from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland.
Again this year, a group of owners of ski-equipped Challengers from Southern Ontario is planning to fly in formation to the Challenger meet. We would like to extend an invitation to other Challenger owners to join them along the route and help them in this aerial odyssey. This group will originate from the Toronto area and proceed generally eastward to Montebello, adjusting their route to meet up with others along the way. You can also come on your own or, better still, organise your own groups to come to the Challenger Rendez-Vous! Let me know of your intentions to fly to Montebello and we will help you with contacts and use of the Challenger website to promote your adventure flight.
Of course, flight planning is subject to weather. The group may leave a day or two early or get back a day or two late. Either way, this is true adventure and a great opportunity for you to build flying memories that will last you a lifetime. Groups usually can alter their plans to accommodate other Challengers. For more information or to indicate your desire to join this Southern Ontario group, contact Bryan Quickmire - for phone and email info click here.
Yes, we are returning to the picturesque Chateau Montebello. The big difference this year will be the fact we will start our walk towards financial self-sufficiency. For the first 15 years, the Montebello event was fully subsidized by National Ultralight Inc. and completely free to you. It used to be just a few people showing up. Now, we completely pack up the hotel and it costs National Ultralight around $4,000 to hold Montebello in its present format. We have been asked if we, as a group, could help a little bit to curb the creeping costs of running this event. I know we all can.
So, for the first time this year, the strategy will be to (a) decrease the expenses by going electronic mailing as much as possible; and (b) generate some income by (1) asking all participants to come to the registration desk (situated in the hotel's main lobby) and give a donation in exchange for a Montebello button/name tag to indicate they support this event; and (2) asking commercial exhibitors to participate in helping with some of the Montebello costs. I will personally monitor the results of these efforts and adjust our long-term financial strategy accordingly. In advance, thank you all for your support.
Again this year, our group will be the hotel's prime customer during that weekend as I pre-booked for you ninety five (95) Fairmont rooms. You can personally reserve one (or many) of these rooms until Friday, 30 December 2005, after which any of the hotel's remaining rooms will be on a "first come, first serve" basis to any hotel customer. Price wise, the hotel offers us a group rate of $170.00 per room per night (many rooms have two double beds), which is a real bargain considering the luxury and comfort of this hotel. It also offers an impressive selection of recreational facilities for the whole family to enjoy. You can make your own hotel reservations by either calling the Fairmont Hotel Reservation Centre at 1-800-441-1414 or faxing your request directly to Chateau Montebello at 819-423-5283. Please, specify you are part of the Challenger group, so you can get the special rooms and group rates.
If you find the Chateau fully booked then there are many picturesque sleeping spots nearby - a complete list can be found by clicking here!
Year after year, the deluxe buffet supper formula is a success. Having our own buffet and banquet room means we can all be together in casual clothing, we can move around freely and talk "Challenger Talk" all evening long with everybody. Again this year, the Chateau's biggest reception room, the Canada Room, holding a maximum of 200 people, will have a deluxe hot-cold buffet served with bar facilities available in the same room. Jeans are perfectly acceptable in our banquet room as well as throughout the hotel during the whole weekend.
As in previous years, the hotel will make only one single invoice covering everything for the banquet except personal bar expenses. The hotel will not collect individually at banquet time, which means I have to collect the money from everyone in advance.
The price for the banquet, again this year, is $50.00 per adult and $25.00 per child (under 12), including all taxes and a 15% service charge. The hotel will need to know the exact number of people who will be attending this buffet by Monday, 23 January 2006. Therefore, I need a firm commitment of your presence to the banquet one week prior to the event by Friday, 20 January 2006. Your confirmation will be in the form of a personal cheque sent to me at the earliest convenience and dated 20 January 2006 at the latest. The amount of your cheque will cover the full amount of your reserved seat(s).
As in previous years, if for any reason anyone from your group does not show up for supper, Joan, my wife, will be manning the banquet reservation table at the entrance of the Banquet Hall. She will do her utmost to sell your seat(s) at the door on the night of the banquet. Providing we are successful in selling your paid seat(s) to someone else, once Montebello is over, I will return your money in the form of a personal cheque sent to you by mail.
Hotel rooms and banquet places are limited. Attendance should reach or surpass the hotel's full capacity of 200 people. We work on the principle of "first come, first serve", so please make an early commitment on your personal/family schedule for this special event, making this one your best and most important Challenger activity in 2006. Whatever the weather, whatever the means of transportation (by Challenger preferably!), come and meet all your flying friends.
Every year, Montebello serves as an ideal launching point for discussions on the upcoming summer float trips and other flying adventures. This year's theme for the whole weekend will be "Pass it on". It is my wish to see every participant at Montebello, flyer or not, ground crew or not, come to Montebello with a genuine desire to exchange knowledge. There will be several hundred thousand hours of flying experience around us all weekend. Let's all take full advantage of it. I encourage the more experienced people to seek out the less experienced ones, the new faces, and simply say something like "Can I answer some of your questions?" Conversely, I will ask all the newcomers to leave any shyness aside, go forward and be openly vocal with their questions. There will be someone around them who knows where the answer can be found.
Personally in 2006, I plan to organise another two-week float flying adventure, this time to the out backs of Northern Quebec. The timing will be around the first two weeks of August 2005. If all goes well, we will depart on Saturday, 5 August, to visit exotic places like St-Bruno-de Guigues, Rouyn, Val d'Or, Senneterre, Clova, Parent, Wetomaci, La Tuque, Lac-à-Jim and Canadian Forces Base Bagotville.
This particular adventure requires all participating pilots to possess an amphibious aircraft and a minimum one full year of float experience. If everything goes as expected, people involved in the trip will take lots of pictures and will subsequently prepare a feature presentation of their whole adventure to be given at an upcoming Challenger event, probably at the 2007 Winter Rendez-Vous in Montebello.
If you are interested to join us or provide help on this floatplane adventure, please contact me personally at my home phone number indicated below.
Let me invite you, once more, to keep current with the latest Challenger news through the Challenger website at www.challenger.ca. If you have your own email address, be sure to leave this email address at the website notification list, so we can give you an automatic email notification of any change(s) to our Challenger activities.
Joan joins me in wishing you all "Season's Greetings" and lots of good flying in 2006!
Major (Ret.) C. "Crash" Roy
Director, ICOA Canada
1986 Richardson Side Road
613-836-7243 (H) firstname.lastname@example.org
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