October 12, 2018 12.55 pm This story is over 67 months old

Longest serving Red Arrows pilot retires

It’s smoke off for the last time

The longest serving Red Arrows pilot has retired after nearly 2,000 hours of flying.

Squadron Leader Mike Ling officially left his role on Friday, October 12 and has been praised for all of his work.

He was brought up in Kent and joined the RAF in 1998 and has listed displaying in New York Harbour and racing in a jet against a Formula One car as some of his highlights.

Pilot Mike Ling reflected on his time with the team as the news was announced.

Squadron Leader Mike Ling flies above Lewis Hamilton in 2013.

He said: “I have wanted to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force (RAF) for as long as I can remember, hugely inspired by watching the Red Arrows display as a small child.

“To have now been a big part of the team for such a long period of time is the best think I could have hoped for.

“It goes without saying that the flying over the last 10 years has been incredible but it is the people who have made it such a special experience.

“I have seen a lot of people come and go on the team but they have all been brilliant and utterly committed with one common goal, to demonstrate the best of the RAF and the best of British.”

A mosaic of Mike’s happy memories flying.

Mike Ling was invited back to the team this year to step in for an injured colleague to ensure a full team during the RAF centenary year.

Overall he has completed 2,585 Red Arrows sorties, flown for 1,765 hours and visited 46 countries.