So is that a superb reason to get out of your cabin in the middle of winter?
The Canadian Challenger Owners Association
invites Challenger owners and fans as well as all aviation enthusiasts
to congregate at Chateau Montebello
This is a lengthy page with tons of information, pictures and links.
The deadline for reserving places at the banquet is Friday 25 January 2013.
For Challenger owners the runway, river, lake or field is a gateway
At the 2013 Rendezvous we are celebrating
30 Years of Challengers
The first Challenger, a single seater, flew in 1983. The first two-seater in 1984.
Instead of resembling hang gliders with lawn chairs and chain saw motors, Challengers look and fly like real airplanes. Today, some 4,000 airplanes and several hundred design changes later, the Challenger line of aircraft is dramatically more capable and still maintains its position in front of the pack.
From an open cockpit plane, meant for sunny summer days, with tiny tires on plastic rims with no brakes, meant for smooth grass strips, the Challenger has evolved to become uniquely versatile. Today owners can easily switch between wheels, tundra wheels, skis, wheel/skis, ... even amphibious floats.
Today's models all have heated cabins and engines needing no preheating. This all comes together to make the Challenger a true four season aircraft. Cruise speeds have nearly doubled and owners can fly in real world winds and weather. Challengers can fly multi-thousand mile cross-country flights and yet they still offer the simple pleasures of local low and slow sightseeing hops.
36 Challengers and well over 200 aficionados have attended past Rendezvous!
This skiplane fly-in is a wonderful opportunity to look at Challengers close up, exchange information, tell flying tales and socialize with fellow owners and enthusiasts. There'll be great food, warm fires and a plethora of activities, including dog sledding and swimming (outdoors and indoors respectively).
Come alone, bring a friend or arrive with your entire family, but
donít miss this
Make your hotel and banquet reservations
NOW to avoid disappointment!
This event is organized by Major (Ret.) Claude "Crash" Roy, director of the Challenger Owners Association, with the help of Bryan Quickmire, President of National Ultralight Inc., Canadian Distributor of the Challenger line of aircraft.
The Challenger Winter Rendezvous typically attracts over 200 attendees from across the length and breadth of Canada as well as from the USA. In the middle of winter there have been 36 Challengers on skis parked together outside! The Rendezvous has become the premier fly-in / drive-in of the Canadian winter.
Have a look through reports, pictures and video from Rendezvous past!
More From The Past
2010: 20th Annual! The Big Two Oh! Pictures & Videos!
"Montebello is worth the experience for any wannabe. My first trip there by car years ago set the path even though I didn't realize it at the time. Wandering around on the snow covered river among a buzz of Challengers and owners I got the sense of a real close group. Everyone shared information willingly and was proud as punch to show you their airplane. Oh how I longed for the day this would be me showing off my Challenger!" -- John Woudstra, Owner.
The Chateau Montebello, located on the Ottawa River mid way between Ottawa and Montreal, is the world's largest and most spectacular log cabin. It is known around the globe - for good reason: the food is gourmet, the rooms luxurious, the fireplaces roaring and the ambiance magnifique. It's the perfect place for airplane buffs to bring spouses and children for a mid-winter escape.
Built in 1930 from 10,000 red cedar logs, the star-shaped structure was constructed in a mere three months by 800 log crafters armed only with axes and scribers. Three crews worked 24 hours a day in overlapping shifts! Their efforts seem to have paid off - Chateau Montebello is known around the globe and has hosted meetings of world leaders, including the 1981 G-7.
Now, every conceivable form of outdoor winter activity is offered, including dog sledding!
For less hardy souls, there is an indoor pool,
There is a brand new spa, which is rated fabulous.
All that plus it's informal - jeans are acceptable throughout the hotel during the whole weekend.
There are no stuffed shirts here!
The Challenger Owners Association is always fortunate to be honoured by the attendance of distinguished guests at its events. Past dignitaries include (in alphabetical order, by first name since this is an informal gathering):
-- Arlo Speer - Director, Recreational Aviation, Transport Canada
The Rendezvous will kick off Friday at sunset (or earlier!) when the attendees will gravitate to the lobby bar for libations and laughter around the magnificent three-story six-sided granite fireplace. This is an excellent opportunity for people new to the Challenger community to meet other enthusiasts - name badges will be issued and introductions made. Once appetites are whetted the group disperses for dinner. Most dine in the Chateau at Aux Chantignoles (fine French cuisine) or La Seigneurie (bistro fare) while a few stroll into the nearby village where the local plates are excellent.
On Saturday morning the local flyers and drivers start arriving around 9 or 10 and by lunch time most are there. The long distance flyers and drivers plus the true enthusiasts usually arrive on Friday or even Thursday. Lucky them! Saturday before lunch is the best time to watch Challengers arriving from all directions.
All through the day people wander down to congregate on the ice in front of the Chateau, chatting and looking over the Challengers with an eye to casting their ballot for "Best Showplane". Other popular spots to mingle include the lobby around the fireplace in comfy chairs and at the scrumptious buffet luncheon.
This Rendezvous will feature five Saturday daytime sessions. Refreshments will be served at 10:30 and again at 15:00 courtesy of National Ultralight. Registration, which is free, is in the main lobby and will be easy to find!
At 11:00 Bryan Quickmire will host a session in the Quebec Room. First will be a review of Challenger news and happenings across Canada. The planned slate of events for 2013 will be presented along with an update on the new Challenger Light Sport X series - the XL-65, XS-65 and XS-50 models.
Immediately following the news update Bryan and other long term members of the Challenger community will reminisce about "30 Years of Challengers" - how the Challenger came into being 30 years ago, how it has evolved over the past three decades, and how it has reigned as Canada's most popular ultralight.
At 14:00 there will be two concurrent sessions. In the Quebec Room reps from The Magnes Insurance Group will be present to talk about aviation insurance, the types of coverage available and how they protect you and your airplane.
At 14:00 in the Ontario Room, Rob Archibald of Nav Canada, will give a high level presentation on ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast) and MLAT (Multilateration) which are technologies on track to replace ground based radar for air traffic control and separation. From his perspectives as technology manager and Challenger owner, Rob will demystify ADS-B and MLAT: how they work, what equipment is required, how they will be used by ATC and by pilots, how they will influence recreational aviation in the future.
At 15:30, after a refreshment break, there will be two more concurrent sessions.
At 15:30 in the Ontario Room, Ed de Nijs with sons Rob and Chris plus their neighbour Joe Riedl will give a "show and tell" about their experiences assembling not one, not two, but three Challenger Light Sports! The de Nijs family took delivery of their first kit, a LSS, in January of 2010 and completed assembly three months later. They soon realized one plane wasn't enough for three wannabe pilots so last winter they assembled a XL-65 in time to fly both planes to Montebello. There they won the Farthest Flown and Best Showplane trophies plus the Maurice Vinet Memorial Award! Now this winter they are assembling a XL-65 for a local owner who is upgrading to the new XL-65 model from an older Classic Challenger! With three kits under their belts they will surely have lots of hints and tips for attendees!
At 15:30 in the Quebec Room, Kathy Lubitz, President of the Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada (UPAC), will review the latest in the ultralight world, including regulatory directions in Canada and the USA. Frank Hofmann, in his roles Eastern Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, COPA, and Canadian delegate to the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), will give his thoughts on current trends in personal aviation worldwide.
After the afternoon sessions there will be ample time before the banquet to head back down to the Challengers on the ice or to mingle in the lobby.
Saturday evening the banquet will be held in the Chateau's private dining hall so we can talk the Challenger talk and walk the Challenger walk. Dress is casual - wear jeans if you wish or an informal tuxedo. The meal will be superb, the company will be stimulating. Awards will be presented. Challenger events for 2013 will be announced: Westebello, Eastebello, Edenvale, Float Tour...
The banquet's post prandial entertainment will feature a presentation by Kevin Brown, Claude Roy and Patrick Vinet about the 2012 "Deep South Adventure".
The catalyst was an invitation from an American friend and Challenger owner to fly their Canadian Challengers to visit him at Lay Lake, Alabama. They parlayed this into a 5500 km marathon down the west side of the Appalachians and Alleghanies to the Gulf of Mexico then across Florida to the Atlantic and back up the eastern seaboard. Whew! They took tons of pictures and no doubt have tons of anecdotes so it should be interesting and amusing!
For many years the International Challenger Owners Association has organized annual ultralight group adventures like this one. We have learned that the amount of fun and thrill you derive from adventure flying has nothing to do with the size of your airplane. Au contraire, we dare say it is inversely proportional: the smaller the airplane, the bigger the fun and thrill of flying it!
On Sunday after partaking of the Chateau's top notch buffet breakfast there will be much hustle and bustle as the flyers prepare their Challengers for the return home. For the more local participants there will be an optional group fly/drive to the renowned Willow Inn near Montreal to partake of their excellent fare. Come if your figure dares!
The Saturday night banquet is the venue for presentation of the Challenger Owners Association awards which convey accolades to worthy owners from their peers. The ceremony starts with recognition of the dedicated Challenger owners who flew in to the Rendezvous then the trophies for "Farthest Flown" and "Best Showplane" are presented.
Following this is the presentation of the two highest honours of the COA - the Maurice Vinet Memorial Award and the Dave Allan Memorial Award.
The Maurice Vinet Memorial Award was founded in 2001 to honour the late Maurice Vinet who passed away from cancer in 2000. Maurice's company Puddlejumper Floats opened up new realms of pleasure for Challenger owners worldwide and is now run by his son Patrick Vinet. The Vinet Award is presented to a Challenger pilot who exemplifies Maurice's passion for flight.
The Dave Allan Memorial Award was founded in 2007 to be given each year to a member of the Challenger community who has made a substantial contribution of a technical nature. Dave Allan passed away from cancer in 2006. Dave was an extremely talented and knowledgeable Challenger builder and inspector. He gave freely of his time to owners across Canada who called for advice and he welcomed visitors to his workshop.
Click here for the list of past award winners - it makes very interesting reading!
You may recall that in 1999 an intrepid group of voyageurs made an eight day, 2,000 km trip in their amphibious Challengers. (See Float Flying Adventure.)
That was the first of what has turned out to be the Annual Challenger Float Tour. Since then Challengers have explored the majestic fjords of the Saguenay, the granite shores of Lake Superior and the white sand beaches of Lake Huron. They have ventured east to Atlantic Canada and migrated south to the Gulf of Mexico!
The 2012 float tour, named Deep South Adventure, was a 5500 km jaunt down the west side of the Appalachians and Alleghenies to the Gulf of Mexico then across Florida to the Atlantic then up the eastern seaboard. Whew! This will be the banquet's feature presentation so we'll not let loose any spoilers.
At the banquet we will discuss plans for the 2013 voyage to be organized by Claude Roy. This will have the identical objective as the 2008 tour: celebrate a very important anniversary. On the 2008 tour five Challengers on amphibious floats flew in formation up and over the Great Lakes then down the other side to the Challenger 25th Anniversary fly-in in southern Illinois. The 2013 float tour will go back to Moline celebrate the 30th Anniversary of our favourite plane!
The 2008 adventure was featured in the January 2009 COPA Flight which gave COPA's 20,000 readers a taste of the unique world of flight experienced by our Challenger community - the adventure and camaraderie to be enjoyed on such voyages.
The Challenger 30th Anniversary will be celebrated at Erie Airpark, Illinois on September 20-22, 2013. The pace of the aerial voyage will be leisurely (notice picture on right) covering 3,500 km over a two week period. The departure date is Saturday 14 September 2013 from the Ottawa area. The flock will rendezvous with other Challengers en route.
Participating pilots must have one full year of Challenger experience plus one full season of float flying. If you are interested in joining the flock for all or part of the itinerary or to meet the group en route then get in touch with Claude directly. His contact info is here.
If you donít have the experience to do trips like these then start small - fly a day trip to a local, but new to you, place. Today the back yard, tomorrow the world!
To whet your appetite here are recaps of some past Challenger float tours...
In 2003 the Challenger tour went south to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to pay respects to the Wright Brothers on the 100th anniversary of the first sustained heavier-than-air powered flight. In 2009 it was only fitting that the tour should head east to Baddeck, Nova Scotia, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the first powered flight in Canada. An account of this pilgrimage was rendered at the 2010 banquet with many great pictures. Click the pic at left to have a look at the December 2009 issue of COPA Flight. The cover has a terrific shot of a trio of these Challengers flying in formation along the shore of the St. Lawrence. The photos on the cover and the following pages will whet your appetite for such adventure!
The 2006 Challenger Summer Float Tour, dubbed "Le grand tour du Québec", visited such exotic spots in Northern Quebec as St-Bruno-de Guigues, Rouyn, Val d'Or, Senneterre, Clova, Parent, Wetomaci, La Tuque, Lac-à-Jim and Canadian Forces Base Bagotville. The 2005 voyage was to the north shore of the world's largest inland sea - Lake Superior!
In August 2004 another float flying adventure happened, this one to Quebec's St-Lawrence North Shore as far as Natashquan. Claude Roy, Andre Girard and Tom Reavell visited enchanting places like Charlevoix, Baie-Comeau, Sept-Iles, the Mingan Archipelago and one of the world's most exclusive deer preserves: Anticosti Island.
The 5th annual floatplane adventure took place in 2003, the 100th anniversary of the first heavier-than-air flight by the Wright Brothers. On this momentous occasion the destination was the birthplace of aviation, the sand dunes of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. The flock crossed the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. On the way back, the States of Delaware and New Jersey were also visited. In 2002 instead of the east coast of the United States it was the east coast of Canada - Prince Edward Island - and in 2001 the east coast of Lake Huron.
In August 2000 a group of Challengers became the first Canadian ultralights to attend Oshkosh with its 10,000+ aircraft and nearly 1 million people! This marked the opening of the United States border to Canadian ultralight aircraft and pilots. In a historic role, the Canadian Challenger Owners Association spearheaded the regulatory changes to permit such cross-border flights. Accolades were received from the EAA and COPA as well as from the FAA and Transport Canada! In 2010 a Challenger flock returned for the 10th anniversary.
Again this year, groups of owners of ski-equipped Challengers are planning to fly in formation to the Challenger meet, adjusting their itineraries to allow other Challengers to join up en route. We would like to extend an invitation to other Challenger owners to join them and participate in an aerial odyssey.
Join a flock, come solo or, better still, organize a formation from your local area! The aerial odyssey is a wonderful opportunity to put some lasting memories in your logbook. Earmark a few days of your vacation backlog and come along! Of course flight plans are subject to weather so leave slack in your schedule!
This is true adventure - a great start to your plan to expand the horizon!
For more information or to join up with a group or form one yourself contact Major Roy at the email address or phone number given on this page here.
Those fortunate enough to be owners coming by Challenger will find the flight easy and beautiful. As the GPS flies, the Chateau is at N45 39 / W74 57. This is just west of the village of Montebello, Quebec, on the north shore of the Ottawa River which is an endless runway for Challengers on skis. Secure tie-downs will be located in the protected harbour in front of the hotel. Auto gas will be available.
Monitor radio frequencies 122.75 en route and 123.2 within
If you're coming by car (quel dommage!), Montebello is 80 km from Ottawa: cross to Hull and go east on 148. From Montreal it's 120 km: take the Trans Canada west to Hawkesbury, cross the bridge to Quebec and go west on 148. The Chateau is on the south side of 148, just west of the village of Montebello. The address is 392 rue Notre Dame.
The deadline for reserving places at the banquet is Friday 25 January 2013.
Make your hotel and banquet reservations NOW to avoid disappointment!
Contact the hotel directly for your room and contact Major Claude Roy directly
To reserve your room at the Chateau Montebello call the reservation line at 1-800-441-1414 or call the chateau direct at 819-423-6341. All rooms have much character and many have two double beds.
To get our special group rate tell the operator you are with the Challenger Owners group. If all the rooms in our group's block are taken or if you call after the deadline then you can still reserve at the regular rate on a space available basis.
Ours is a VERY popular event so the Chateau does tend to get fully booked VERY quickly. If you call and that is the case then there are a number of quite charming alternatives in the picturesque village of Montebello nearby. Everyone who has stayed there has been pleased with the accommodations.
Listed below are a few of the local inns and B&B's - you can find more online:
For still more choices of habitat you can click here to have Google Maps do a Search Nearby for accommodations.
If you are silly enough to procrastinate even longer and even those alternatives are sold out then contact Major Roy for assistance. His email and phone info appears at the end of this page. Do this soon or bring a tent and sleeping bag!
At the Saturday evening banquet a sumptuous hot and cold buffet will be served and bar facilities will be available. The price is $55.00 per adult and $27.50 per child (under 12), including tax and tip.
The Chateau needs to know by Monday 28 January 2013 how many people they will be accommodating at the banquet. This is because before serve-off Tableau Canada requires chefs to calculate the C of G (Centre of Gastronomy) to ensure they are within limits on the W&B (Waist and Belt).
Accordingly Claude needs a firm commitment of your presence at the banquet one week prior to the event - ie Friday 25 January 2013. This confirmation should be in the form of a personal cheque sent to Claude at your earliest convenience and dated 25 January 2013 at the latest. The amount of your cheque should cover the full amount of your reserved seat(s).
If you have confirmed seats at the banquet and cannot attend for any reason, for example on the way to Montebello you are beamed aboard a flying saucer and dissected, then Claude's lovely wife Joan will attempt to sell your tickets at the door to the mob of standby hopefuls. In the past when this has occurred a full refund has always been issued. (Of course a refund is the least of your problems if you were just dissected by aliens!)
If you do not have a confirmed seat then you can still come on a standby basis since there's always a few people with tickets who do not show up. (See preceding paragraph for details.)
If you do not get on board the banquet standby then you can dine in the Chateau's main restaurant or bistro (not the worst fate imaginable!) and then rejoin the group around 9 pm for the official program.
The main switchboard number at the Chateau Montebello is 819-423-6341.
To learn and see more order our comprehensive information package and video!