In Loving Memory of Michael Channer

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"Dear Mike........"
by Carl Hiebert

16 Sept 2004

Dear Michael:

From one pilot to another, know you’ve been constantly in my thoughts these last few days.

I remember meeting you as a boy when I flew through Ottawa and first learned of your passion for airplanes and flying. Clearly, this wasn’t just a child-held whimsy. You felt it in your heart. You wanted to fly. You were already dreaming of endless horizons and an unbounded love affair with the skies.

And then, we got to fly together. I can still see the “impossible-to-wipe-off –your-face-smile” as you buckled yourself into the rear seat of my ultralight, waved good bye to your parents and we flew off into a bit of fantasy and magic that only pilots really understand.

Over the next few years, I only heard snippets of your flight training, your first solo flight, your graduation from college, your search for paying jobs as a pilot proudly sporting your commercial license. You never once wavered from what you knew was your place on this planet.

Last fall, while visiting your parents, you and I unexpectedly ended up spending an evening together. Of course it was mostly flying stories. About how special it was simply being able to fly. About how your learned invaluable lessons from some tight situations. You shared your struggles of trying to find a foot-hold in commercial flying and we talked at length about what your options might be. And you also told me of Africa. Maybe that’s where you would find an open door to your career and fulfilling your dreams.

I never once doubted you or your dreams Michael. You had a passion and certain quiet resolve that carried you through. Even in your last moments of flight, I sense with certainty you did everything humanly possible to put your disabled plane and passengers back on the ground safely.

You leave us with the memory of someone who touched many lives along the way. A gentle person, quiet, caring for others, living life fully.

For the short distance you flew, you left behind a very distinct contrail, visable for miles. One that will linger for a long, long while. Thanks Michael, for sharing your life. I’ll miss you.

Pilot and friend of family

Carl Hiebert
Waterloo, Ontario

"Very sorry for your loss"
by Greg & Tracy Locke

16 Sept 2004

Tracy and I are very sad about Micheal's tragedy. We didn't know him, but we knew of him from his close friendship, as well as yours, with Janine & Peter, Hilary and Patrick.

We are thinking of you in this difficult time. We are very sorry for your loss.


Greg & Tracy Locke
Toronto, Canada

"Smiling face in hills of Kandy"
by Heather & Peter

16 Sept 2004

Our thoughts are with both of you. I only met Mike a very few times but he is forever a laughing memory from my visit to your home in Sri Lanka oh so many years ago. There was this lovely young boy who had the nerve to beat me, repeatedly, at cards. Such confidence! We can only think of how wonderful to have had such a textured and global life - and to be surrounded by love unending. Dear friends, hold fast.

Heather & Peter
Almonte, Ontario

"Mike's stay in London"
by Helen Palmer

16 Sept 2004

Mike's my cousin, and as we were growing up in Britain, and Mike in Canada, we didn't spend that much time together, but there were always photos of him on the kitchen noticeboard, most of them with a plane in the background.

Mike stayed with us in London last year, as he passed through on his way to Africa. It was one of the few times that I got to catch up with him and understand who he was and what he was doing and why. I emailed Gerry & Sharon after Mike had left, here's part of that email...

"You guys must be so proud of Mike and I'm sure you'll miss him loads...He cooked us a meal on Thursday(I say cooked, assembled from a packet more like !!) and we had a chance to catch up properly and then go to the pub for last orders. Mike seems so clear and focussed on what he wants to do and it was great getting to know him properly!"

Mike's family and friends are very much in my mind at the moment.

Helen Palmer
London, England

"Sincere condolences on your loss"
by Anonymous

15 Sept 2004

As an avid fan of your travelogue, I wish to express my deepest sorrow for your loss.

Hopefully, you will be able to get through this difficult moment and resume your trip in the future.


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