What would motivate pilots to fly
long distances aboard ultralights on skis in the middle of the winter to
a riverside log cabin? Why would aficionados drive long distances to that
same log cabin? How about this: past fly-ins at this cabin, actually a
log castle, have hosted 36 Challengers and over 200 people!
The Canadian Challenger Owners Association
invites Challenger owners and fans as well as all aviation enthusiasts
to congregate at Chateau Montebello
For Challenger owners the runway, river, lake or field is a gateway
Our theme for 2011 is
Winter Flying - Then & Now
Come alone, bring a friend or arrive with your entire family, but
don’t 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.
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).
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.
36 Challengers and well over 200 aficionados have attended past Rendezvous!
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.
Refresh your memory with pictures and reports from Rendezvous 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 is the world's largest and most spectacular log cabin. 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 Olympic-size pool and a brand new spa which is rated fabulous.
The food is gourmet, the rooms luxurious, the fireplace roaring and the ambiance magnifique.
All that plus it's informal - jeans are quite acceptable throughout the hotel during the whole weekend.
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 at Aux Chantignoles (fine French cuisine) or La Seigneurie (bistro fare) in the Chateau 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 six Saturday sessions of interest to all:
At 11:00 in the Quebec Room, Bryan Quickmire will update attendees on the major Challenger happenings of 2010. He will recap a summer that was packed with Challenger events across Canada: Westebello, Eastebello, Rockebello, Edenvale Aerodrome, Carleton Place, Oshkosh, ...
The highlight of the summer was the announcement of the new 2011 Challenger Light Sport XS-50 and XL-65 which were designed expressly for our Canadian missions. The new LS models are easier to fly, more rugged, more ergonomic and easier to build. They carry bigger payloads faster over longer distances. Bryan's presentation will provide an overview of the major attributes, a comprehensive detailing of features, and additional information pertaining to the 2011 Challenger Light Sport XS-50 and XL-65.
At 14:00 there will be two concurrent sessions. In the Quebec Room, Bryan Quickmire will review core aerodynamic concepts and illustrate how these principles of flight impact typical Challenger operations. Topics will include stalls (what is fixed, what is variable, how they ambush the unwary), turns (relationships between speed, bank, rate, radius), speed (IAS/TAS/GS and impact of temperature, altitude, wind), and other aspects of interest to the audience. Think of this as the Theory of Flight in Practice!
At 14:00 in the Ontario Room, George Wood from Rotax Canada headquarters in Vernon, BC will team up with Daniel Sasseville from Aéro Propulsion Technologies in St-Lazare, QC. George will update us on what is happening in the world of Rotax and give an overview of the role played by Rotech Research Canada. George and Daniel will both offer their expert views on the care and feeding of Rotax engines. Rotax engines are by far the most popular not just in Challengers but in all of the advanced ultralight and light sport aircraft sector. Their insights will help attendees understand how proper maintenance and operation can help owners experience years of trouble-free enjoyment.
At 15:30, after a refreshment break, there will be two more concurrent sessions. In the Ontario Room, Ed de Nijs with sons Rob and Chris will give a "show and tell" about their experiences assembling the first Challenger Light Sport Special in Canada. Ed, Rob and Chris took delivery of their LSS kit on January 19, 2010 and they completed the assembly on April 15, 2010. Pretty good for first timers! If the Challenger looks unusually small in the centre picture above it's because these are tall dudes - Rob is 6'7"!
At 15:30 in the Quebec Room, Kathy Lubitz, President, Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada (UPAC), will inform us of the very latest in the ultralight world, including short and long term directions in Canadian Air Regulations including the reform of all Canadian aircraft categories. Frank Hofmann, in his dual role of Eastern Vice-Chair, Board of Directors (COPA), and Canadian Representative at the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), will join Kathy and will give his thoughts on the latest trends in personal aviation around the world.
Following the 15:30 sessions - at around 16:30 or so - we will have a special presentation by Vintage Wings of Canada on their 2011 Yellow Wings tribute to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). Established in 1939 the BCATP was Canada's single greatest contribution to the war effort. Over 200 aerodromes were constructed and more than 10,000 aircraft were utilized to train well over 100,000 aircrew including 50,000 pilots. Vintage Wings as Canada's premier collection of vintage aircraft has tasked their Tiger Moth, Finch, Cornell and Harvard trainers to cross Canada coast to coast visiting many of the former BCATP aerodromes still in use today.
The Yellow Wings program officially gets underway with the Vintage Wings 1942 Tiger Moth flying to our Challenger Winter Rendezvous on skis! We are honoured! Rob Fleck, Vintage Wings president, and Ulrich Bollinger, Yellow Wings team lead, are both experienced Challenger pilots so they should have no difficulty finding Montebello. According to Rob: "a Tiger Moth on skis is really just a Challenger with more wings." Indeed, however unlike Challengers on skis a Tiger Moth on skis is a very rare sight! Bring your cameras!
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 2011 will be announced: Westebello, Eastebello, the Float Tour...
The post-feast presentation will be a slide show narrated by John Woudstra and Claude Roy about their float flying voyage to AirVenture 2010 at Oshkosh.
This was the 10th anniversary of AirVenture 2000 - the Millennium Oshkosh - which attracted a flock of Canadian Challengers. To the surprise of many the 2000 flock arrived in the United States legally. In the course of only six months Claude Roy had worked with Transport Canada and the FAA, COPA and the EAA, and achieved a rules change to allow Canadian ultralights the unquestionable right to enter US airspace. In 2010 it wasn't the regs but rather the soggy conditions at Oshkosh that posed a challenge. In spite of the airfield being closed to arrivals Claude and John made it in and the EAA featured a picture of their Challengers with tents under wings.
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 Region, the granite rocks of Georgian Bay and the miles long sand beaches of Lake Huron.
At the banquet we will discuss plans for our 2011 voyage. Claude Roy will organize a two-week tour leading a flock of amphib Challengers to participate in the biggest seaplane fly-in in the world. Held the weekend after Labour Day every year since 1973, the International Seaplane Fly-in on Moosehead Lake near Greenville, Maine attracts thousands of participants and spectators.
This 1,500 mile flying adventure, dubbed "The Big Splash-in",
will commence on Labour Day Monday - September 5th, 2011.
Following the Moosehead Lake event the eastern contingent will head home and the Ottawa flock will fly a westerly return through Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts to New York State and the beautiful Hudson River Valley.
There they will attend Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, a quaint little grass strip which is home to the finest collection of flying historical airplanes on the continent. There can be seen classics like an original 1911 Blériot XI as well as a WWI German Albatros D.Va and a French Caudron GIII from the same era. From Old Rhinebeck a few hours flying north and the flock will be back home.
Participants in the tour will take lots of pictures and will subsequently prepare a feature presentation of their flying adventure to be given at the 2012 Winter Rendezvous at Chateau Montebello.
This adventure requires all participating pilots to have one full year of Challenger experience plus one full season of float flying.
If you are interested to join 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 below.
Following are overviews of just a few of the 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 will be rendered at the 2010 banquet, complete with 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 close formation along the shore of the St. Lawrence. The photos on the front page of Section B and the following three pages will whet your appetite for such adventure!
On the 2008 float tour five Challengers on amphibious floats flew in formation around the Great Lakes to the Challenger 25th Anniversary celebrations in southern Illinois. This adventure was featured in the January 2009 issue of 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. Click here to read the article on the 25th anniversary fly-in.
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 coat 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 at the end of this page.
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.
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 low group rate of $190 tell the operator you are with the Challenger Owners group. If all the rooms in our group's block are taken then you can still reserve at the regular rate on a space available basis. The hotel is nearly full so act now!
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.
Click below for information on these inns and B&B's:
- 819-423-5096 / 1-877-420-5096
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 31 January 2011 how many people they will be accommodating at the banquet. This is because 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, 28 January 2011. This confirmation should be in the form of a personal cheque sent to Claude at your earliest convenience and dated 28 January 2011 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.
OFFICIAL CHALLENGER OWNERS ASSOCIATION LETTERS
Members of the Challenger Owners Association without email receive a letter from Claude Roy giving details of plans for the upcoming Winter Rendezvous and summarizing the highlights of the previous year. Click here, en français ici.
The main switchboard number at the Chateau Montebello is 819-423-6341.
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