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Lt Cdr Cook being met by his colleagues of 815 Naval Air Squadron

6000 flying hours

Published: 20 Mar 2014

Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Gordon Cook had accumulated a total of 6000 hours flying as an Observer within the Royal Navy when he landed after a Lynx training sortie at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton. 

Achieving a total of 6000 flying hours is a notable milestone that few aviators within the military reach or exceed.

If flying at the usual rate of 180 hours per year, an average aviator would expect to take over 33 years in a flying role to reach this milestone. Lt Cdr Cook or ‘Gordo’’ as he is more affectionately known   has achieved this point after 28 years flying with the Royal Navy. 

6000 flying hours equates to 250 days solid in an aircraft. And with 6000 flying hours Lt Cdr Cook has covered approximately 800,000 miles in a helicopter. Enough distance to orbit the world 30 times, or cross the Atlantic Ocean 250 times. 

Gordo’s flying career within the Royal Navy started in February 1986, when he began flying training. Since then he has been based at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Portland, RNAS Culdrose and RNAS Yeovilton, predominantly on Frontline Naval Air Squadrons. 

He has accumulated the 6000 military flying hours by operating in different variants of the Lynx, Sea King and Merlin Helicopters as well as the Jetstream Training aircraft. 

He has served as a Helicopter Observer with aircraft onboard HMS Argonaut, HMS Brave, HMS Boxer, HMS Gloucester, HMS Manchester, HMS Cardiff as well as being posted to Gibraltar. With his experience, he has also served as an Instructor for Lynx Aircrew. 

Currently Lt Cdr Cook is an Observer within the Maritime Counter Terrorism section on 815 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton. 

When approaching this remarkable milestone, the humble and unassuming Lt Cdr Cook attempted to keep this feat quite from his colleagues. Unaware that his colleagues had already noted the approach of this milestone and made sure of his surprise celebratory welcome on his flight returns.  Lt Cdr Cook said “I was trying to come in under the radar and thought I had got away with low key, a complete surprise.” The celebrations followed Fleet Air Arm tradition by tucking into a very large cake baked especially for ‘Gordo’. 

Lt Commander Cook is scheduled to retire from the regular Royal Navy service later this year, but his enthusiasm for the military will see him continue to fly – as he has elected to enrol as a member of the Royal Navy Reserves where he will remain as a Lynx Aircrew Observer.


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