THE head of flying at one of the Solent’s leading providers in aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul will retire at the end of this month.
Vector Aerospace UK will be saying goodbye to Mike Thornton, one of the most experienced maintenance test pilots in the UK, when he retires on August 31 aged 65.
He has worked for the company for 10 years. Mike has worked as a maintenance test pilot (MTP) for 17 years in total and holds the accolade of the longest serving MTP in the UK military flying community.
Mike Thornton joined the Royal Navy in 1972 when he was 23 and fulfilled his dream of flying with the navy.
His career has covered many aircraft types and he has used his experience and skills gleaned over 40 years in his role as head of flying at Vector Aerospace’s site in Gosport.
Mike juggled a variety of flying tasks throughout his time at Vector Aerospace.
During his career, he amassed more than 7,000 flying hours on nine different types of aircraft as well as totalling up 3,743 deck landings.
Michael Tyrrell, managing director of Vector Aerospace UK said: ‘The test pilot role forms an extremely important element of the service that Vector Aerospace offers its customers and Mike has done a wonderful job since he started here 10 years ago.
‘He has been an integral part of the team providing invaluable experience, flying skill, passion for flying, and consistently high standards that his colleagues will now carry on.’