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Challenger Light Sports - The Ultimate Challengers
The Experience

A Hundred Things | Thanks For The Memories | Ultralight Soaring Primer
Flying As It Was Meant To Be | This Gift Of Time | Fall Foliage Floatilla
The Montebello Experience | The Adventures Of One Jelly Bean
The Dream Comes True | Get At It And Don't Procrastinate!
West Coast Wekend | Ultralight March Break
Nate's Favourite Vacation | I Took The Challenge | Airplane Finds Man
Ice Floe Rescue | To Cradle A Brother | The Challengers of Montebello

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What's it like to fly such a versatile personal airplane?

Challenger pilots have received awards for multi-thousand mile cross-country flights - on wheels, skis and floats. They have turned off their engines and soared silently in afternoon thermals, staying aloft for hours and climbing many thousands of feet. They've loaded their camping gear and flown to wilderness lakes. They have had tremendous pleasure from simple local hops!

Let people tell you in their own words what it's all about! You'll notice a common thread - whether seasoned veterans with thousands of hours or rookies with empty logbooks all are realizing their dreams.

Julius Banfai was a Private Pilot flying a Cessna 172 over the Niagara Peninsula. Now he's flying a Challenger over the vineyards and the falls.
COPA Flight published an account Julius wrote of his trip down the path
from sceptic to believer - enjoy "Flying As It Was Meant To Be"!
It started with a dream... or was it the video? I can't quite recall. It doesn't matter anyway since both the dream and the reality of a Challenger are so interwoven. All I wanted was a ride. I never actually wanted to buy one. After all, I'm a real pilot commanding a real airplane - a Cessna 172. ...

Stu Simpson lives and flies in Alberta. Recently he penned a thoughtful, philosophical reflection that captures an essential element of recreational flying. Share Stu's insight in "This Gift Of Time" published in COPA Flight.
Time plays a crucial part in nearly everything we do as aviators. It tells us when we have to land, because there will come a time when the fuel gauge reads empty, or, for some, a time when the daylight gauge reads empty. Time is important to our airplanes too - the number of hours ...

Each of us fortunate to have our very own magic carpet has our very own favourite places to teleport to. In "Fall Foliage Floatilla" the Georgian Bay Challenger Gang introduces a visitor to a very special flying venue.
I had been waxing eloquent to Patrick Vinet about the wonders of Georgian Bay for so long he could stand it no more. He ejected from his desk and flew his Challenger from Mont Tremblant to Edenvale. North of Montreal to north of Toronto. As the Challenger flies this is 500 km. As the crow drives it is 750 km. Now that justifies a plane! ...

Rob Mathers flew his Challenger like a lone eagle in the middle of winter from Windsor, ON to Montebello, QC to attend the Challenger Winter Rendezvous. His 800 km flight there earned him the Farthest Flown Award. Rob put pen to paper and "The Montebello Experience" was published in COPA Flight and in the Windsor Flying Club's quarterly newsletter Windicator.
It's 5:30 am on a cold January morning and I am snuggled up in bed next to my lovely wife. Then the alarm clock sounds! I jump out of bed and have a look out the window. It is pitch black outside but I can see the tree tops in the backyard are quietly still. This is not a routine work day. This is a special day that has been on the calendar for some time. ...

Kris Falk flew Challenger C-IJBN - call sign One Jelly Bean - 3,000 km from Montreal to Edmonton. In "The Adventures Of One Jelly Bean" we have reconstructed the adventures from messages and pictures emailled between members of the Challenger community as they followed the track west.
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. ...

Mike Lobban tells airy tales in a unique earthy prose. In the first of several articles published in COPA Flight "The Dream Comes True" reveals how becoming a pilot released his spirit from its cage after decades of captivity.
This was the day, the day I had waited 40 years for. I wanted to fly like they did in the old days, lots of stick and rudder, low and slow, with the smell of hay and cow poop in my nostrils. ...

John Woudstra writes: "For as long as I can remember I've had a desire to fly and soar like the birds." John started out in gliders as a teenager then spent decades in General Aviation but only found the elusive fountain of magic in a Challenger. Read all about it in his COPA / Canadian Flight article entitled "Get At It And Don't Procrastinate!".
Maybe it was coincidence that Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier a few days before I was born, that sent sonic waves into my brain that instilled in me a passion for leaving the ground and exploring the skies. ...

Have a peek at Dale Erhart's great photo Crankin'n'Bankin' in our Challenger Gallery and you'll see he treats his Challenger much like his former RCAF mounts - the CF-18, CF-5 and CF-101! Dale assembled his Challenger over a period of 10 months during days off from piloting A330 and A340 airbuses between Canada and Asia. He subsequently left the airline to fly a Bombardier Global Express literally all over the planet. Whatever else Dale is flying he keeps coming back to his Challenger ultralight! In his West Coast Weekend diary Dale relates how he and his wife Laurel enjoyed a delightful weekend in their amphibious Challenger.
Like many professional pilots, my love for aviation has drawn me back to the roots of stick and rudder flying. An amphibious ultralight that can carry two people and has the performance to fly medium range trips in the mountainous areas of British Columbia seemed like an impossible fantasy until I came across the Challenger II. ...

In June 2005 the 20,000 members of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association enjoyed "Ultralight March Break", a very well written story about a fabulous winter flying adventure. 17 year-old Douglas Fleck, instead of airlining it to the warmth of Florida, spent his School Break flying the family's ski-equipped Challenger ultralight around not just Southern Ontario but also Northern Ontario. Another Challenger inspiration for young and old to come out of their cabins and enjoy winter!
... I thought about the opportunity I had been given. The idea that I, a mere 17 year old, had the chance to first of all obtain a pilots license, use it to fly our very own ultralight and then use that ultralight to have an incredible adventure that took me across the province. ...

Nathan Quickmire was 9 when he started flying with his father Bryan in a Steen Skybolt. Now they're frequent flyers in a Challenger. Nate presented a photo essay entitled "My Favourite Vacation Activity" to his Grade Six class.
6:30 am! I'm ready to go to the airport. I was about to start the longest flight in XSL I ever made. My Dad was taking me to the 1997 Challenger fly-in. ...

Peter Walpole's first flight in a Challenger was on a warm summer's eve. It's recounted in "I Took The Challenge", published in COPA / Canadian Flight.
I couldn't stand it any more. Every month I'd read another story about the fun of flying on skis or floats, of soaring thousands of feet over Barrie, of boaters waving along the St. Lawrence. ...

Ray McBain's love affair began at Mont Tremblant, Quebec. He penned "Airplane Finds Man" which appeared in COPA / Canadian Flight.
May finds me looking at retirement.
In September I will be turning my companies over to my daughter and her husband. What to do? ...

Paul Tomascik weaves a gripping tale of drama in "Ice Floe Rescue"
which was published in the March 2000 edition of COPA / Canadian Flight.
Mayday Mayday Mayday! Challenger India Papa Victor Tango at nine hundred feet over the Ottawa River, west of the Champlain bridge, left-hand orbit over a child on a disintegrating ice floe. Require immediate assistance! ...
Paul's "To Cradle A Brother" was published in November 2001:
The fighter plane bristled with ordnance. Nose high, wheels down; it slid in front of the ultralight. Instinctively, the pilot of the smaller craft, a Challenger II, climbed to avoid the wake turbulence knowing that the vortices ...
And his latest, published in January 2005, a short aviation adventure story inspired by an actual event - "The Challengers of Montebello":
They whipped around the bend in the river, flying low, banking steeply, two of them coming at a steady pace. It was difficult to see them clearly because it was snowing lightly, a remnant of a fierce winter storm the night ...

Bryan Quickmire earned his wings in the Air Cadets in 1967 and has since enjoyed a wide variety of general aviation aircraft and sailplanes. His ultralight career began in 1984 when he instructed in the very first two-seat Challengers. Bryan's column "A Hundred Things" in COPA's Canadian Flight magazine offered an account - at times humorous, at times philosophical - of his wanderings and adventures.

Bryan also wrote "Room To Manoeuvre", a column covering aerobatics and thought-provoking issues in piloting, which appeared in Aviation Quarterly magazine along with his feature articles. In the Fall 1996 cover story, "A Voyage Of Discovery", Bryan recounted his first summer with C-FXSL, his amphibious Challenger.

Ian Coristine is one of the pioneers of the ultralight industry, having been active since 1981 when he built a Lazair. Ian has accumulated nearly 2,000 hours in ultralights on wheels, skis and floats, which makes him one of the most experienced ultralight pilots you will find. Ian's column in COPA's Canadian Flight, "Thanks For The Memories", was a glimpse into his log book of flights and experiences, some pure fun, others fascinating, beautiful or even scary, but all memorable.

Ian came to ultralights from gliders which provided him with a unique background for exploring the soaring capabilities of the Challenger. Of course if you use your Challenger as a motor-glider then you don't need a tow plane or a ground crew. And if the thermals peter out, you simply turn on the engine and head home, instead of landing in a field. Climbing in thermals is taught to glider pilots from day one but power pilots are left to learn for themselves. Ian's primer on the joys and techniques of "Ultralight Soaring" will get you going up in circles too!

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