NAVY PILOTS CLOCKS AN IMPRESSIVE 8000 HOURS AND STILL COUNTING
A Royal Navy Pilot flying with 771 Naval Air Squadron (Search and Rescue) at RNAS Culdrose has reached a momentous milestone in his flying career.
Lieutenant Commander Andrew ‘Tank’ Murray, who was awarded the prestigious Air Force Cross (AFC) for his bravery during a dramatic rescue in the Scottish Highlands, has clocked up a staggering 8000 flying hours.
Having joined the Royal Navy in 1986, ‘Tank’ gained his flying “Wings” in September 1988 and in under a year was flying on the frontline with 814 Naval Air Squadron. He has flown most of the Royal Navy’s aircraft during his long and distinguished career including Gazelles, Chipmunks and Bulldogs but it is the ‘venerable Sea King’ that has proved to be his most loved aircraft.
Along with some impressive frontline operational service with the ‘Mighty King’ on 814, 820, 849 and 857 NAS’s, ‘Tank’ has also completed training tours with 810 & 706 NAS, and SAR duties with Gannet SAR Flight in Scotland and 771 NAS where he now serves.
Part of his AFC citation read: “Lt Cdr Murray has demonstrated outstanding leadership and selfless courage. Allied with his exceptional flying skills, his contribution as pilot and aircraft commander of a SAR helicopter was invaluable in the success of their missions.”
‘Tank’ is no stranger to serving abroad, and has been on operational frontline service inIraq,Sierra LeoneandAfghanistan, where recently he supported coalition operations during Op Herrick, flying missions out ofCampBastioninHelmandprovince.
Immensely modest of his achievements, Lt Cdr ‘Tank’ Murraysaid, “I have to say, that I really love my job and I’ve had some great fun over the years notching up 8,000 hours. Obviously, there have been some tough and demanding flights, but being able to rescue people or make a difference in areas of conflict is very satisfying.
I have flown over 360 rescues. The most memorable and challenging one’s are Boscastle in North Cornwall, a place called Crinkle Gill in the Lake District and an avalanche on Buchaille Etiv Mor in Scotland where I was awarded my AFC”
"I wouldn't change it for the world and look forward to getting a few more hours under my belt."