For once you have tasted flight,
You will walk this earth with your eyes turned skyward,
For there you have been,
And there you long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci
Many of you know that our son, Mike, was a young pilot who had been working in Southern Africa since December 2003. On Friday, September 9th, 2004 we received the terrible news that the Cessna C210 he was piloting out of Livingstone, Zambia, experienced catastrophic engine failure shortly after take-off. Mike attempted an emergency landing, but hit trees and the plane crashed. Mike and his five tourist passengers were killed on impact.
Mike was the best son anyone could ever have. He was kind and thoughtful, hardworking, independent and committed, and was our best friend. We are devastated. He was a super pilot - it was the only thing he ever wanted to be since he was 10 years old. He died doing what he loved best.
We have been overwhelmed with the love and support from our family and friends, and from the many people whose lives were touched by Mike. We have also had tremendous help from Foreign Affairs in Ottawa and the staff at the Canadian Embassy in Lima, Peru and the Canadian High Commission in Lusaka, Zambia.
Services to celebrate Mike’s life were held in both Ottawa, Canada and Lusaka, Zambia. On both occasions candles were lit around the world by friends who could not be with us, but joined us in thought, prayer and meditation.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Mike Channer Memorial Fund established at the Aviation Technology Program at Sault College. We also gratefully acknowledge a matching grant from the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund. The response was so tremendous that we have been able to set up two scholarships to honour Mike’s memory.
The "Mike Channer High Flight Award", worth $2,500, will be presented to the graduating pilot with the keenest passion to fly, and whose character, like Mike’s, would make the world a better place. In addition a Memorial Scholarship worth $500 will be presented to the second year student with the highest commercial flight test mark. Both awards will be presented annually in perpetuity.
In recognition of Mike’s contribution to 872 Kanata Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, a Memorial Award has been established which will be presented annually to the junior ground school student with the highest flight training mark.
"Mike, you were a fine, talented young man, and an inspiration to us all. You were deservedly well loved, and will be sorely missed by many whose hearts you touched. Go soar with the eagles, touch the face of God, and watch over us mere mortals left behind".
If you wish to contribute to the Mike Channer Memorial Fund, click here.