And, as I moved the throttle to the closed position, I knew it would be the last time I ever flew a fighter jet. I opened the canopy and, as the engine wound down and took the generator offline, my screens turned black.
I could see the crowd walking out from the Squadron carrying the fire extinguishers with which to spray me, just like I’d done to many of my pilots before and yet, I felt little emotion.
I had a last look around; it was a familiar and comfortable environment but one I knew could have killed me at any moment.
Like the family dog you think you know well, right up until it bites you.
But, I hadn’t been bitten.
I’d flown these machines for many years and by luck, judgement and the work of some exceptional engineers, I’d brought them all back home.
Nope, it all looked good - I stood up on the ejection seat and stepped outside to meet those who had come out to celebrate the end to my twenty years in military fast jet aviation.
I didn’t regret a thing.