January 25-26, 2003
13th Annual
Winter Rendezvous
Chateau Montebello, Quebec

Montebello Montage

You know your fly-in must be catching on when a huge number of owners and enthusiasts take the trouble to fly or drive on a snowy weekend bookended by bitter cold to a venue situated far from major population centers. With attendees coming from as far away as British Columbia on the left, the Maritimes on the right, and the United States at the bottom you know something must be working!

In fact, one Challenger owner, General Maurice Baril, now Canada's envoy to the United Nations and retired head of the Canadian Armed Forces, actually flew back on Friday from East Timor (north of Australia, in the middle of nowhere) specifically to attend Saturday's banquet before flying out again on Sunday.

General Baril was one of 160 (a new record, up from 146) who attended the banquet. Many other day trippers missed the banquet but attended the daytime seminars where not even standing room remained. Despite the frigid cold plus snow in air and in the forecasts, a dozen Challengers even flew in!

This Rendezvous was the 13th consecutive Challenger winter fly-in - surely a record in its own right. Also a record in the ultralight industry is the fact that 2003 marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of Challenger production! Next year will be the 20th year that National Ultralight has served as Canadian distributor!

The photos below are mostly from the camera of Bryan Quickmire. There are a ton of them so why not go get the beverage of your choice while this page loads!

Don't forget that as usual you can click any picture for an enlargement.

Of course the point of a fly-in is to fly in. At the banquet the flyers-in were honoured with special hats commemorating this the 20th anniversary of the Challenger. Here's the intrepid ones with their bases and round trip distances:

Tom Reavell
London, ON / 1,133 km

Andre Girard
Carleton Place, ON / 236 km

Gord Ekstrom
Carleton Place, ON / 236 km

Bruce Brown
St Lazare, QC / 140 km

Keith Robinson
Georgian Bay, ON / 846 km

Claude Roy
Carleton Place, ON / 236 km

John Woudstra
Carleton Place, ON / 236 km

Louis Pouliot
St Lazare, QC / 140 km

Norm Hull
Otty Lake, ON / 269 km

Conrad Watters
Carleton Place, ON / 236 km

Peter Caverly
Carleton Place, ON / 236 km

Michel Deland
Mayo, QC / 74 km

Saturday morning during a break in the weather ...

... all come out to play ...

Wiper switch?

They went that a way!

'Vr' = 'V rotate'?

or 'V rocket'!

Up, up, and away!

Wonderful world!

Sure wish I was ...

Sure glad I'm ...

Vive la difference!

Narrow Body

Wide Body

Wide afterburner!

When the weather break breaks ... this:

... becomes this:

... so people do this:

Vectors for the ILS pls!

People Follow Planes

Everyone loves a parade!

IFR = I Follow Rivers

This is FUN!

Challenger Check-out

Dressed in red and 8 ...

I said
I'd take YOU for a walk!

Linda "Nanook" Taylor

Speaking of people, here's just a few who attended.
Of course everyone was very special!

General Maurice Baril
ret'd Chief of the Defence Staff
now Military Envoy to the UN

Frank Hofmann
Director, COPA & IAOPA

Mark Paskevich
President, Rotax Canada

Louis Pouliot
Aviation Récréative du Québec

Michael Flahault
Owner & Artist Extraordinaire

Arlo Speer
Director of Recreational Aviation, Transport Canada

Michel Hell
Publisher/Editor, COPA Flight

Daniel Sasseville
Aéro Propulsion Technologie

Steve Busby
Aerolight Flight Services

Sqn. Ldr. Norm Hull
Owner & CF-104 Pilot

Kathy Lubitz
President, Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada

Garth Wallace
Humorist, Author, Publisher

Jean-Claude et Pauline
Turbulence Aviation

Gord Ekstrom
Plane Works Ltd.

Iva Armstrong
80 years old this year!

Special Guest Challenger

C-ISNE was the "sheepdog" in the Trumpeter Swan Migration Project.
Read all about it
in the Owners section!

"C-ISNE" = "cisne"
which is the
Portuguese word for "swan".

Talk about clever!

Not even "standing room only" at the seminars! Topics included Rotax engine operation, Canadian regulations, and a wonderful slide show "Salty Dip 02".

Dr. Tom "T-Bird" Reavell became the first person ever to fly away with
all three awards: the "Farthest Flown" and "Best Showplane"
as well as the prestigious "Maurice Vinet Memorial Award".

Tom's C-ITAR logged
400 hours in 2 years!

R to L: Tom Reavell,
Bryan Quickmire,
Patrick Vinet,
Ian Coristine

2002: London<=>PEI
4,400 km in 8 days!

The Vinet Award honours a Challenger pilot who exemplifies Maurice Vinet's incredible passion for flight. Maurice's company Puddlejumper Floats opened up new realms of pleasure for Challenger owners and is now run by his sons Patrick and Andre. Past recipients include Major Claude Roy and Gord Ekstrom.

The banquet was also the venue for the world premiere of the U.S.
"Fine Living Channel" TV show called "Your Private Island"
showcasing the Challenger in an episode on the 1000 Islands.

The channel's motto is "Live Life Like You Mean It" and it focuses on the finer things that life has to offer. We concur that the Challenger fits into that category!

Your Private Island

Garth Wallace

Sightseeing at its finest!

Garth Wallace (pilot, humorist, author, former publisher of Canadian Flight,
and all round good guy) was the guest speaker at the banquet.
Garth gave a highly entertaining talk entitled "Why Women Don't Fly"!

Garth later emailed his view of the happening at Montebello:

"Congratulations to Claude, Bryan and Ian for being the spark plugs for such a great gathering of aviators last weekend. I wish your enthusiasm and hard work could be bottled and distributed across Canada. What you guys are doing is what recreational aviation needs everywhere. Maybe when Claude retires from his day job, we can persuade him to tour Canada in his Challenger more often to spread his love for fun flying. Liz and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the 13th Challenger Winter Rendezvous. Challenger owners know how to make everyone feel welcome and it sure is easy to be the guest speaker for a group that loves to laugh. The Chateau Montebello is a wonderful and unique venue. The food was superb and the service was first class. Best of all, it was great to spend time with old aviation friends and to meet so many new ones. Please keep up the good job you are doing with the Challenger Owners Association. Liz and I look forward to being a part of it again."

So, to conclude we'll let pictures tell the story. Look below to see
what kind of time a random sample of owners had at Montebello 2003!

Scott & Neil

Paparazzi Gord


Whether you were or weren't at this year's happening remember:

Same Time, Next Year!

PS: This has become a real family event - bring your loved ones too!

For great pictures of the 2002 Rendezvous: The Full Montebello

There's coverage of lots of Challenger events in the Owners section!

If you wish, we'll notify you automatically by e-mail when this site is updated!

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