Britain's first F-35 jet pilot has retired after spending a total of 171 days in the air.
Commander Ian Tidball has completed his final flight for Fleet Air Arm, the aviation branch of the Royal Navy, after 32 years in the military.
During his time in the Navy, he has spent 4,111 hours in the air – equal to 171 days – in 35 different types of aircraft.
Starting his journey with the Royal Navy in 1991, Cdr Tidball earned his wings and became a qualified Commando 'Junglie' Sea King helicopter pilot, completing more than 1,000 hours in the sky.
He later progressed to becoming a Sea Harrier pilot and held positions including XO, Operations Officer, and Air Warfare Instructor while with 800, 801, and 899 Naval Air Squadron.
He also deployed on HMS Invincible, HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal in his career.
Recounting his time in the service, he said the time he spent flying the Sea Harrier was a personal high point.
He said: "I enjoyed the huge camaraderie in the Sea Harrier force and flying off the carrier around the world was amazing."
Upon reaching 1,300 hours with the Harrier, Cdr Tidball moved to the USA and flew FA-18s with the US Navy's VX-9, the US Navy's air test and evaluation squadron.
While living in the US, Cdr Tidball became the UK Deputy Lead National Representative within the US-led F-35 Operational Test Team for the F-35 programme from 2011 to 2012.
"Never let anyone tell you you can't achieve something until you have exhausted every avenue," he said.
"I was told at 16 I would never be a pilot; I think I proved that wrong."
Continuing with his already impressive career, he became an instructor pilot with the US Marines at VMFAT-501, based at Eglin in Florida as the first Royal Navy pilot on the F-35.
"The marines' enthusiasm and can-do attitude and professionalism never failed to impress me," he said.
Between 2014 and 2018, his career peaked after being chosen to command 17 TES (Test and Evaluation Squadron) at Edwards Air Base in California.
This period saw him lead the initial Operational Testing (OT) of the F-35B for the UK as the first UK F-35 squadron.
He became the first UK pilot to deploy with the US Marines Corps on board USS America for OT, and the first UK pilot to qualify as an F-35 LSO (landing signal officer).
Commander Tidball remained with the F-35 as he rounded off his career and led the UK F-35 Integrated Test Team and was the Senior Operator F-35 Test & Evaluation (T&E).
This included embarking as a supervisor with the UK F-35 Operational Test (OT-1) on board the Navy flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
As the Senior UK F-35 Test Pilot and LSO with 17 TES, he completed 550 hours in an actual F-35 and more than 500 hours on simulated sorties before his final flight back from MCAS Miramar.
"I will miss working with the immensely professional friends I have made but when I look back on all the amazing things, I have been able to do, I’m comfortable that I’ve now been there and done it and am really looking forward to my next flying adventure and getting to spend more quality time with my family," he added.
Cdr Tidball will continue to fly for global shipping firm UPS using its multi-engine transport aircraft.