John Woudstra and
Claude Roy brought their Challenger II amphibious ultralight
aircraft from Canada to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a
program that allows Canadian ultralight pilots to fly their
aircraft across the United States border.
Ten years ago, Canadian ultralight pilots
couldn’t fly their aircraft across the U.S. border. That is, until
Claude Roy had something to say about it.
Roy worked with Transport Canada and the
FAA to create a program that allowed Canadian ultralights and their
pilots to fly into the United States. Roy made the inaugural flight to
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2000 in his amphibious Challenger II; this year,
the same aircraft is parked in the Ultralight area, celebrating the 10th
anniversary of that first cross-border ultralight flight.
Flying the Challenger since 1983, Roy is
an ultralight instructor, president of the International Challenger
Owners Association, and a Transport Canada examiner for passenger
carrying in ultralights.
John Woudstra, Roy’s flying partner,
parked his Challenger II next door. The two men flew from Ottawa,
Ontario, to Oshkosh 800 miles, in just more than six days—four days of
flying, two days weathered out in Shawano, Wisconsin. They arrived at
Oshkosh Sunday morning.
“We try to pull off one of these stunts
every year,” Woudstra said of the 800-mile flight. “When you try to
fathom the thought of flying an ultralight aircraft 800 miles, it’s
not in most people’s realm of thinking.”
This was Roy’s third year flying into
EAA AirVenture, but Woudstra’s first, having driven in past years.
“This, for me, quite truthfully, was a
bucket list item—to fly into AirVenture,” Woudstra said.
Currently, U.S. sport pilots cannot fly
across the Canadian border, but Woudstra said he hopes a regulation will
be in place within the next two years. “We’re doing our best to
foster a relationship and make sure it’s reciprocal across the border,”
Roy and Woudstra, who are camping under
their Challengers’ wings, plan to stay through Tuesday, depending on