An ace and a fighter

A smiling elderly man, wearing a flight suit and helmet with goggles pushed up to his forehead, leans on the wing of a single-propeller aircraft.
Wing Commander (retired) James Francis “Stocky” Edwards on the ramp at Comox, British Columbia, with the recently-restored Vintage Wings Spitfire Mk. IX. Restoration of the fighter was originally undertaken in the 1990s by a dedicated group of volunteers in Comox, before the torch was passed to Vintage Wings of Canada in Gatineau, Quebec. In July 2018, the aircraft embarked on a triumphant journey to revisit its West Coast roots. PHOTO: Heath Moffatt, courtesy Skies magazine

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Stocky strode in, and with a firm handshake the interview got started.

Above his warm smile were two keen eyes, seemingly sizing me up. I had prepared questions, but they were quickly forgotten. We simply chatted like any two flyers.

Soon, hands waving in traditional fighter pilot semaphore, he was recalling how best to turn a P-40 Kittyhawk fighter against a Messerschmitt Me-109. He praised the climb rate of the Spitfire, and poked fun at the claustrophobic Hurricane. He would know. Stocky flew them all.

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