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1990-07 Update

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THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA

1991 SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPEDITION

JULY 1990 REPORT TO EXPEDITION PARTICIPANTS

Dear Registrant(s) No. ____________

	I am writing to give you an update on the progress of our
plans and arrangements for next July's solar eclipse expedition to
Baja California. The Solar Eclipse Committee, consisting of me as
chairperson, J. Randy Atwood and Steve Dodson has been busy over
the past year making preparations for the trip.

	As you are probably aware, Sunquest Travel Incentive
Limited of Toronto, which is a Toronto travel agent with extensive
experience in running trips to Baja California, is acting for our
expedition. Our air carrier is Worldways Airlines Limited of
Toronto, which is a large charter airline having DC-8, Boeing 727
and Lockheed L-1011 aircraft in its fleet.

	I am enclosing a copy of an Information Circular that has
been prepared not only for current registrants but also for those
who are seeking information about our expedition. The Circular
sets out the important details of the expedition, including details
of the itinerary.

	Last July 1989 Randy Atwood and I undertook a 4-day site
preview trip to Baja California. At that time we drove the entire
circle route between La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur and
Los Cabos, searching for and finding several suitable observing
sites. We settled upon the soccer stadium in the town of Santiago,
approximately 5 kilometres south of the centre line, near the east
coast of Baja California, as the best observing site. We also
spoke to numerous hotel managers, and met with Mexican government
officials, in order to begin the process of obtaining approvals for
various aspects of our expedition. The trip and the meetings were
highly successful.

	In early September of last year a further meeting was
held in Toronto among the President of Sunquest (our travel agent),
a representative of Worldways Airlines, a representative of the
Baja California Department of Tourism, and me on behalf of the
Society. At that meeting further precise details of the expedition
were discussed, and we were assured that all approvals necessary
from the Mexican government would be obtained. Worldways Airlines
indicated at that time that, as was standard practice with all
charter airline companies, it could not make a final commitment as
to the availability of an aircraft until the spring of 1991.
Nonetheless, I was assured that Worldways foresaw no difficulty in
providing an aircraft to us. Because of certain requirements
respecting "pilot down time" (or rest periods) contained in the
contract between the airlines and the Pilots' Association, the
precise timing of our departure from Baja California for the return
trip to Toronto has not yet been determined. We will be holding
further meetings with Worldways and Sunquest shortly.


                            2.



	I spent a further 4 days in Baja California this past
June, and at that time met with numerous government officials in
La Paz. The Mexican government is sufficiently concerned about the
magnitude of the eclipse enterprise that it has appointed a private
company to oversee all aspects of the eclipse logistics for Baja
California. The meetings in La Paz were extremely profitable and
very encouraging, and I am happy to report that the Mexican
government is treating our expedition as seriously as all other
official expeditions. In particular, we will be receiving approval
to land our aircraft at the Los Cabos airport on eclipse morning,
to travel freely to our observing site (in spite of the severe
restrictions on traffic flow that the Mexican government will be
imposing), and to use our preferred site in Santiago. We have been
assured of full and complete cooperation in all aspects of our
expedition. I had a further meeting with the Baja California
representative of a large Mexican bus company, and expect shortly
to be signing a contract for the provision of eight air-conditioned
buses to be used for transportation on eclipse day to and from the
observing site.

	As of the beginning of July 1990, we have approximately
130 registrants for the Expedition. The recent article in
Astronomy magazine has prompted a flood of telephone calls and
letters of inquiry from potential participants both in Canada and
the United States, and we anticipate receiving a number of further
registrations shortly. We have no doubt that, by early to mid-
autumn, the expedition will be fully booked.

	Details of the financial arrangements are referred to in
the Information Circular. The $100 deposit that you have paid
previously is refundable until 31 August 1990. The balance of the
cost of the expedition will be payable in two instalments, the
first in January 1991 and the second in March 1991. As is
explained in the Circular, while we are quite confident that the
Expedition will proceed smoothly and without difficulty, we have
no control over the final availability of the aircraft. Further,
of course, there is always a possibility that some logistical
difficulty may arise in the future, that might alter our plans
significantly or even result in cancellation of the entire
Expedition. While we do not anticipate any such occurrence, all
registrants must understand that this remains a possibility. As
a result, all members of the Expedition are required to sign a
comprehensive release in favour of the Society, its members, and
the Solar Eclipse Committee. Two copies of this release are
enclosed with the letter. One copy must be dated and signed and
returned to the undersigned by the end of August 1990. The other
copy is for your file. For any expedition member who is under 18
years of age, the release must be signed by his or her parent or
legal guardian.


                              3.


	We are very excited about the progress of our expedition,
and will be in touch with you further in due course as matters
develop.

                                 Yours very truly,




                                 Michael S.F. Watson
                                 Expedition Leader
                                 RASC 1991 Solar Eclipse
                                 Expedition

                                 999 XXXXXXXXX Avenue
                                 Toronto, Ontario M4S 1H7
                                 Canada

                                 (416) 999-9999 (Business)
                                 (416) 999-9999 (Residence)
AttachmentSize
July 1990 Report to Expedition Participants (PDF) - redacted191.49 KB
Year: 
1990
Pages: 
3