Her name was Charlie Foxtrot Uniform Alpha Quebec, and she was one fast lady. The fastest four-seater prop you could get - and the only one that needed air brakes to slow her down on the approach. Things happened twice as fast with her than in a Cessna.
I had her when I was living in Ottawa and used to fly her down to New York, Boston and Toronto for business meetings. I would get there, stinking of sweat, with oil on my shirt sleeve, but I could blame Charlie and nobody minded.
Then one day, an earwig crawled into her pitot tube and the airspeed indicator wouldn't go above 50 knots. I only discovered this on take-off going much faster than I realized without much runway left. I slammed on her brakes but still shot off the end, and zoomed her well into the long grass.
"Wow, that was a hell of a smoker " said the Tower. "Need a tow?"
So that was it between me and Charlie. Now I leave flying to professionals.
But it did leave me with one thing, though. A love of complicated watches - it's all from the cockpit instrumentation. Without Charlie, Hoptroff London would never have happened. Bless her xx