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Navy's first female senior observer reaches another milestone at RNAS Culdrose

By AliceWright  |  Posted: October 24, 2012

  • Lt Cdr Kay Burbidge

  • Lt Cdr Burbidge celebrates reaching 3000 flying hours

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The Royal Navy's first ever female senior observer, based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, has reached another aviation milestone by clocking up 3000 flying hours. 

Lieutenant Commander Kay Burbidge is the first female in the Fleet Air Arm to hit this target. 

Her achievement comes on the back of recent successful anti-piracy and anti-drugs operations in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, where her squadron's Merlin helicopter was based onboard HMS Westminster.  

Lt Cdr Burbidge, who is currently the senior observer of 829 Naval Air Squadron, joined the Royal Navy in 1988 as a Wren air engineering mechanic and was selected for commission in 1995.  

Since gaining her Observer Wings in 1997, she has spent the majority of her career working on squadrons based at RNAS Culdrose, near Helston.  

Flying Sea King helicopters, Lt Cdr Burbidge worked on 820 Squadron and 771 Squadron, where she was a member of one of the Search and Rescue crews.  

Her Merlin helicopter experience comes from deployments with Naval Air Squadrons including 814 Squadron and 824 Squadron.  

More recently, she has been based at 829 Squadron where she was the HMS Monmouth Flight Commander during their 2009 Operation Telic deployment, before taking over as the Royal Navy's first female senior observer in November 2010. 

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