Canada's Favourite Advanced
The annual Challenger Winter Rendezvous is the venue for presentation
of 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.
Following are the past winners of the Vinet and Allan awards - click
the images of the plaques to enlarge:
The 2012 Maurice Vinet Memorial Award was presented to
The de Nijs Family from southwestern Ontario.
They assembled their two Light Sport Challengers in the workshop during the winter lull on the farm.
All three generations participated - from unloading the boxes from the truck through assembling and launching the planes.
It was literally every man, woman and child.
They flew their Challengers 1500 km round trip to Montebello on skis
to win the Farthest Flown Award. Their XL-65 was voted the Best Showplane!
They took the Triple Crown! We have seen no better example of passion for flight!
The 2012 Dave Allan Memorial Award was won by
the very deserving and very surprised Rob Lake of Kingston, Ontario.
Rob left his day job several years ago so
he could spend his full time in the Challenger community.
He has assembled Challengers for himself and for others plus
he has traveled to assist owners at their locations.
Rob has spent a huge amount of his personal time
talking on the phone and communicating via email
to answer questions and guide people on assembly of Challengers,
all across Canada and the United States.
Rob is indeed a most worthy recipient of this honour.
2011 Maurice Vinet Memorial Award was presented to Bernie and Shelley Rector
of East Coast Ultralight in Nova Scotia. They have a 2000'
grass strip with hangar, classroom, workshop and two Challengers.
Bernie has 1,500 hours in Challengers on wheels, skis and floats and
he has built a half dozen Challengers.
In 2011 East Coast Ultralight
became a full time, full service Challenger dealer. Bernie and Shelley
have hosted the East Coast Challenger Rendezvous since its inception in 2010.
Clearly they have made a major contribution to
furthering ultralight aviation on the east coast!
2011 Dave Allan Memorial Award was presented to Bob Robertson, owner of
Light Engine Services, the Western Canada Rotax Service Centre. Bob's Aero
Controls throttle quadrants and splitter cables are found in many if
not most Canadian Challengers. He developed an excellent, high
quality system for oil injection on Challengers powered by the Rotax 503.
Bob is regarded internationally as an expert on Rotax engines. He is known
for giving his advice freely by phone and email as well as on internet
forums. Bob is not just a contributor of great prodicts and service - he
also contributes to safety by sharing his extensive knowledge with others.
2010 Maurice Vinet Memorial Award was presented to John Woudstra
of Stittsville, Ontario. John came to the Challenger community a decade
ago via gliding and general aviation. He did an excellent job of building
his own Challenger and has been an ardent flyer on skis and floats. John
has overcome substantial personal challenges during this period yet he
has continued not just to fly himself but to foster and encourage others.
He has been active in the Young Eagles and Youth Flight programs to attract
the next generation to aviation. John is an outstanding example of passion
2010 Dave Allan Memorial Award was presented to Patrick Vinet
of Puddlejumper Floats! After his father Maurice passed away Patrick left
his career at an engineering firm to run the float business full time.
He has made Puddlejumper amphibious floats the most popular choice for
light aircraft everywhere. Patrick's ongoing refinements have made PJ floats
lighter and more durable plus more functional all at the same time. In
float flying lighter weight is extremely important for performance but
at the same time it is extremely difficult to achieve without sacrificing
durability and functionality. Patrick has succeeded and is to be lauded
for his achievements.
2009 Maurice Vinet Memorial Award went to Mike and Tracy Hughes
of Edmonton who have run Challenger West since 2004.
They fly hers and his Challengers and are assembling another. In addition
to flying all over Alberta they made an epic Challenger voyage from southern
Illinois to Edmonton. They also own a Cessna 182 which they say doesn't
get much air time since they prefer to be aloft in their Challengers! Mike
and Tracy have hosted the Western Challenger
Owners Rendezvous every year since 2007. It's hard to imagine more passion!
2009 Dave Allan Memorial Award was presented to Greg Klemp Sr
of Sheer Technologies. Greg designed, tested and perfected the 582 engine
cooling and cabin heating systems together with the mounts that make feasible
widespread use of this more powerful engine in Challengers. The additional
30% thrust afforded by the 582 puts sprightly performance back into Challengers
operating in trying conditions with floats, heavy loads and/or high density
altitudes. The 582 Challenger has achieved landslide popularity since its
introduction in Canada in 2005 and pilots owe Greg a debt of gratitude!
2008 Maurice Vinet Memorial Award was bestowed upon Larry Whittaker
of Kugluktuk in Nunavut. Major health issues delayed Larry from taking
delivery of his new Challenger built by Dave Griffth near Montreal. After
a long recuperation Larry airlined to Montreal and then as his checkout
in type he flew on wheels over 3,000 km west to Edmonton with Bruce Brown
mentoring in the back seat. Larry then continued solo on wheel/skis over
1,600 km more - north to Kugluktuk on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. The
ferry flight home totalled just about 5,000 km - not bad for a beginner!
2008 Dave Allan Memorial Award was presented to Jean-Claude Lachance
and Pauline Labrecque of Turbulence Aviation. Over the past decade Jean-Claude
and Pauline designed, developed, manufactured and marketed numerous products
specific to Challengers. Their products range from the practical (like
wheel/skis) to the luxurious (like custom interiors). The Turbulence products
are creatively conceived, superbly crafted and fully supported. Jean-Claude
and Pauline have enhanced utility and pleasure for Challenger
2007 Maurice Vinet Memorial Award was presented to Kris Falk
of Terrace, BC. Kris abandoned general aviation as well as his day job
several years ago to focus on the Challenger life style. Kris now makes
his living flying and instructing in Challengers as well as building and
inspecting them for others. He has twice flown Challengers from Montreal
to Edmonton! Follow Kris on one of his journeys in The
Adventures Of One Jelly Bean.
recipient of the inaugural 2007 Dave Allan Memorial Award was
Dave Griffith of Katevale, QC. Dave Griffith has been a member of the Challenger
community for close to the full quarter century. In that time he has become
the master builder of the master builders with an impressive total of 45
Challengers assembled! Dave's craftsmanship is the pride of the owners
of his Challengers.
2006 Vinet award went to Dale Erhart of Comox, BC. Dale is an
A-340 airline pilot, retired CF-18 fighter pilot and extremely enthusiastic
Challenger owner. Earlier in the afternoon he had given an interesting
and informative session on building his Challenger and flying it on floats
on the West Coast. In a short time
Dale has become a reservoir of knowledge and experience as well as a sparkplug
to ignite the growth of the Challenger on the West Coast.
2006 a Special Vinet Award was given to Ian Coristine who had
retired from National Ultralight, the Canadian distributor of the Challenger.
Ian was a pioneer in the ultralight movement in the late seventies and
he spearheaded the introduction of the Challenger in Canada in the eighties.
His long distance flights plus his articles, photographs and video have
inspired countless others to join our world.
2005 Vinet Award was given to Harold Young of St. John's, Newfoundland.
Harold built his Challenger over the course of a single winter and produced
a fine aircraft that is truly a work of art. He has become a focal point
for Challenger owners in Newfoundland, providing support and encouragement
for the growing flock. Harold and his Challenger are somewhat unique in
that neither has ever flown off land - only from the water on floats! Harold's
Challenger II C-IYNG appears in our Challenger Gallery. Click here
2005 a Special Vinet Award was presented to Bruce Brown of St. Lazare, QC.
As a full time Challenger professional Bruce has accumulated a vast repository
of knowledge and experience on all aspects of the aircraft - from building
to flying to maintaining. He is exceptionally generous in sharing
this expertise with the Challenger community. Bruce is a cornerstone of
the Challenger SOC Inspection safety initiative and has travelled all over
Canada spreading safety far and wide. Bruce recently flew a Challenger
from Montreal to Edmonton with Larry Whittaker. Read about the trip in
Seven League Boots.
2004 Vinet Award went to Doug and Denise Gagnon of Nanoose Bay,
BC. Doug has 28,000 hours of air force and airline time and is presently
a Boeing 777 captain. Denise has 28 hours and is working on her Ultralight
Pilot Permit! In September 2003 the Gagnon's flew their Challenger from
Barrie, Ontario (near Toronto) to Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island -
4,000 km! See Seven League Boots
for a brief account of their voyage. The Gagnon's Challenger II C-IDDG
appears in our Challenger Gallery. Click here
2003 Maurice Vinet Award was presented to Dr. Tom Reavell who
says he looks to the future with enthusiasm and excitement for the wonderful
experiences which await him, the sights that are now beyond his imagination,
and the people he will have the opportunity to meet simply because he flies.
We'll second that emotion!
2002 Vinet award went to Gord Ekstrom who demonstrates a passion
for Challenger flying, building and socializing that sets an example for
us all. Gord's exquisite craftsmanship has to be seen to be believed -
his Challenger has a special mount for his fly fishing rod! Gord's Challenger
appeared on the March 2004 cover of
inaugural 2001 Maurice Vinet award was presented by Maurice's
sons Patrick and Andre to the very deserving Major Claude Roy. Claude founded
the Canadian Challenger Owners Association over a decade ago and has shepherded
it to become the most active and respected in recreational aviation. Claude
has logged countless miles in his Challenger on floats and skis, including
a flight from Ottawa to James Bay - in the middle of winter!
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