Posted on October 05, 2014 by Gary Carruthers

Ottawa, Canada

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

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