|In July 2006 Challenger C-IJBN - call sign
One Jelly Bean - headed west from Montreal, where it was built by Bruce
Brown, en route to Edmonton and its new home with the Hughes family at
Challenger West. Kris Falk was at the controls.
The voyage covered 3,000 kilometers - 39 hours
in the air over a 6 day period.
It was flying for the sake of flying. It was wonderful sights and amazing hospitality from strangers. It was celebrity status achieved by arriving at a remote lake or a small town in a Challenger on amphibious floats.
We have reconstructed the adventures of One Jelly Bean from emails betwixt members of the Challenger community as they followed the track west.
Okay, get your coffee freshened up and let's head vicariously west!
From: Bruce Brown
A notification that our man from Lacombe, AB, departed St Lazare International Airport, QC, at 6 pm local time. He is following a direct route to Wetaskawan, AB. This will take him north of the route Larry Whittaker and I took last Sept.
Temperature was about 28C. Winds were from 200, just about due south.
He is on PJ floats, loaded down, but 90 lbs under gross. He has the long range tank plus 20L and 25L jugs on the back seat with a case of oil sitting on top.
Kris just called this minute to say he is in Maniwaki, QC at ten to eight. He did a water landing on the Ottawa River, and a T&G at the airport in Maniwaki.
Now he has to find a place to stay the night. He has a sleeping bag, ground sheet, and a tarp to stretch over the top of the floats to make a shelter that he can sleep under if needed. I warned him to be careful when he pops up in the morning, those spreader bars can make quite a dent in the noggin.
I shall keep you posted. I leave for Nfld Friday afternoon........Bruce
From: Bruce Brown
Kris called in this morning at 8:30am to let us know he got a ride from the airport at Maniwaki by a nice fellow who drove him to a small resort and set him up in a trailer by a lake. He had the best sleep he can remember.
The same fellow drove him back to the airport this morning.
Kris is heading for Earlton next, which is 208 miles on the GPS. He expects to make a stop on a lake on the way and says he estimates arriving at Earlton in 4 hours and not to call SAR before then.
I am off to Dorval airport at noon, so Johanne will keep you up to date until I get back.......Bruce
From: Johanne Brown
Hello Everyone, Bruce is in Nfld. Kris called tonight at 19:40 from Timmins. He will be staying the night and will depart tomorrow for Hornepayne. Kris will contact his wife for flight following as of tomorrow. As soon as I get more news I shall pass it along to everyone. Have a good weekend. Johanne
WebMaster's Nav Note:
The route at first glance does not seem obvious
- how could you end up in Timmins in Northern Ontario on the way west from
Montreal to Edmonton?
The shortest distance between two points on a sphere is called a great circle. Imagine thumbtacks in your departure and destination points - a rubber band stretched between will follow a great circle route. Take a globe and rubber band your way from Montreal to Edmonton. See, Timmins really is on the way!
The navigation of Captain Kris "Christopher Columbus" Falk and First Officer Gyps Garmin was so efficient they only went 0.3% over the great circle mileage!
From: Johanne Brown
Hi Everyone, Kris is now in Hornepayne, he will be staying there overnight and calling in tomorrow to give his new flight itinerary. He called this evening at 6:00pm. Johanne
From: Johanne Brown
Kris called this morning at 5:50AM (up with the birds) and told me he spent the night at a water base at Gov. Lake. After he landed he saw a fellow at the dock and was graciously offered a ride and lodging at a nearby fishing resort. What a way to travel!!! His itinerary was directly to Green Stone Regional then onto Armstrong.
11:18 AM Kris is now in Armstrong refueled and ready for his next leg.
19:10 PM Kris has arrived at Red Lake. During his flight, he stopped at a small lake, refueled and took pictures. He said he made very good time, had favorable winds and might make it to Saskatchewan by tomorrow. He will let me know of his itinerary in the morning. He is staying in a hotel tonight and is impressed by everybody's help on his journey west.
From: Johanne Brown
Good Morning All, Kris called at 7:41 AM and will be departing in 1/2 hour for Pine Dock (135 miles), refuel and will then be on his way to Swan River on the Sask border. He has a bit of a head wind so might not make as much progress. He will check in from Pine Dock if he has a connection to his cell, if not then from Swan R. Matthew will keep you updated today until Bruce's return tonight. Johanne
From: Bruce Brown
Well, I suspect that by the time you read this, Kris should be very close to his destination at Wetaskiwin, Ab. He called last evening, Tuesday, from North Battleford, Sk, to say that he was staying put there for the night. He had tail winds all day and was making 80 mph on the GPS and kept going all day, just stopping for a quick gas top up, then pushing off again.
Then he ran straight into a cold front around 6pm. The winds swung around to the west and the turbulence got to the point where it wasn't worth continuing. He tied down and called some friends. When he called here last evening, they were spoiling him with a big meal. He didn't sound too disappointed to not be in the air fighting the winds.
He had only 200 miles to go, and if the weather was ok today, he was sure he would be home by noon.
After delivering the plane to Mike Hughes, he will join his wife Amanda in Kitimat for a week of rest, then head back to Calmar, Ab, to help Mike with the construction of his Challenger project. From what I have seen in Mike's workshop, it's going to be another beautiful plane. Workmanship is excellent.
I got back from Nfld on Tuesday evening. Another Challenger is now flying on Paddy's Pond just outside St John's. Belongs to Ed Newhook of Dildo, about an hour away from St John's. Hal Young did the honours of the test flight and took Ed up for his first ride in his new plane. I flew it Tuesday morning with Ed in the back. Ed is still a student pilot with about 3 hours to go before his instructor, Munden Critch, can sign him off.
That's all the news for now, but I'm sure Kris will have a good story or two to share with us later.......Bruce
From: Mike at Challenger West
Everything is good! I wrote this on the 19th but our email has been kaputz for almost three weeks. With any luck the ISP will get out here and raise the antenna above some nasty trees a few kilometres away that have grown up in our signal path!
Anyways, Kris and C-IJBN arrived safe and sound in Wetaskiwin today, July 19th about 1:00PM local. Kris unloaded mega gear, hopped a ride with Tracy to his car and went home and slept for the day!
I drove C-IJBN around the ramp tonight and Kris is going to give me some dual tomorrow once we change the plugs and give her a post trans-Canada journey checkover. Tracy is tickled pink! We were out at CEX3 tonight and screwed some grain bin anchors (3' long) into the ground to hold her until we can get a hanger up.
Will send some photos once our internet gets fixed tomorrow and we have some uplink capacity. Total casualties on the trip - one side of an EGT guage and a few bizillion bugs! Quite a testament to a great pilot and a great little airplane.
July 20th update: Did some dual with Kris then soloed her and spent two hours flying over the farm and doing touch n go's back at CEX3. Still getting used to the flare - she is plopping on like a fat fly - but she is a great little airplane.
From: Kris Falk
Bryan, Here are some pictures and a few random thoughts on the trip west.
The flying was fantastic. The 503 floatplane performance gave me a new appreciation for the 582 engine package. I rarely climbed higher than 4000 feet. It didn't help that it was over 30 degrees C and very high humidity every day.
I had fuel on board of 15 gallons in the main tank plus 45 liters in jerry cans on the back seat so I could land on the water and transfer gas into the main tank.
I took a direct route from St. Lazare to Wetaskiwin with only one unscheduled diversion due to weather. The trip consisted of 6 days of flying in mostly moderate head winds except in Sask where I had a strong tail wind coupled with heavy turbulence for 4 hours one morning. I braved the turbulence and made good ground speed.
On the hospitality theme: In Swan River Manitoba I was approaching the town to land at the local airstrip. As was my habit I took an aerial tour of the town in order to pinpoint where I could get fuel, food and lodging.
Upon landing I was greeted by two couples in two vehicles. They said they had spotted me flying above the town and setting up an approach at the airfield. They had brought out a truck for me to use if I planned to stay the night!
They told me to go ahead and use the truck for as long as I needed and just park it at my place of lodging and they would find it later that evening. Very gratefully I took them up on their offer went into town to get fuel for the plane and food for my belly and a place to lay my head.
When I awoke in the morning the truck was gone but one of the two gentlemen was waiting in the motel restaurant to give me a ride back to my plane so I could get an early departure. That is just one example of the kindness I encountered on the trip every day. It was a new experience and tended to overwhelm me.
I can't say that I experienced what us flight instructors refer to as get-there-itis since I enjoyed every minute flying in this great little airplane across this great and friendly country.
From WebMaster - A bit of background on Kris:
Kris is 30 - youngish for a Challenger owner
- and has a BSc. in Psychology.
Kris started flying real planes in 2003
after exausting his skills as a PC pilot.
"I asked him why he was getting rid of the 150. He showed me his Challenger and asked me if I wanted to go for a ride in it so I did. I didn't buy his Cessna. Two months later I had a Challenger kit and was busy assembling it."
"I abandoned my General Aviation ambitions because it seems that all the experienced pilots end up in Challengers anyways. I figured I might as well skip a few steps!"
Kris has since abandoned his day job to focus on the Challenger life style. Today he operates West Coast Challenger with bases in Terrace, BC and Wetaskiwin, AB. He earns a living flying and instructing in Challengers as well as building and inspecting them for others. Life could be worse!