Gary Weller
Windsor, Ontario
Published In
Challenger News

Dear Jim and members,

Enclosed is a photo of my 1995 Challenger II on amphibious Puddlejumper floats. The aircraft made its initial flight on June 1, 1995. I flew the plane on wheels for a year then on June 4, 1996 took off for the first time on amphibs. I have now had almost two full float seasons and can honestly say the aircraft has performed flawlessly.

Due to the extra weight with the amphib floats, two person performance in the beginning was marginal at best and I was very disappointed. At that time I was using the original 2.2-to-1 reduction drive and a 54" prop. I then decided I had no choice but to spend the extra money and purchase the new 2.6-to-1 re-drive and larger 60" prop. What a difference! The two person performance is now equal to what I was getting with one person and the old re-drive and prop.

This last vacation was superb! I flew the Challenger to my cottage 5-1/2 hours away. The cottage is located on a lake 50 miles southwest of North Bay, Ontario. The flight from my home here in Windsor was most enjoyable and very scenic. Especially pretty was the coastline of Lake Huron and the last 1-1/2 hour leg from Midland to my place on Lake Ecebe (Indian for duck).

Leaving Midland Huronia Airport after refueling, it didn't take long to realize how unforgiving the terrain below had become. It's almost all rock and forest. One consoling item was the floats. From a cruise altitude of 2,000 feet there were very few times I could not glide to a safe water landing should the unthinkable have occurred.

I must say my Rotax 503 performed perfectly throughout the entire trip. In two weeks I put 22-1/2 hours on the engine. In fact the engine has performed flawlessly during these past 200 hours. (Hope I didn't just jinx myself!)

We did some great fly-in fishing during the two weeks. We are blessed with many lakes only accessible by aircraft or by 4-5 hours on all terrain vehicles (ATVs). We landed on one lake and surprised two fishermen who had made the all day trek into the lake over logging roads in ATVs. After exchanging some fish stories we told them we had to go and we then made the 20 minute flight back to my place in time for dinner!

I would like to commend you on putting out the effort it takes to publish a newsletter of the quality of ours. I know, I've been there.

Gary Weller

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