Search is top priority for returning local Brittany

Brittany Sharpe helps in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Brittany Sharpe helps in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The 23-year-old Flying Officer from The Vines is an important crew member on one of Australia’s AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft involved in the search, more than 2500km south-west of Perth.

She graduated from Swan Christian College before joining the Royal Australian Air Force.

‘I’m responsible for navigation and communications onboard the Orion, working closely with the pilot. We have a crew of about 12 and we all have an important role to play onboard the aircraft, especially during a search,’ she said.

Flying Officer Sharpe’s Orion commenced flight operations at RAAF Base Pearce in support of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority-led search on March 20. The search takes in more than 450,000sq/km of open Indian Ocean.

‘We fly 10 hour sorties during each search day. They are long days, however, I know our efforts are helping with the search.’

With the AP-3C Orion aircraft, search and rescue operations are able to be done continuously in daylight hours. The RAAF has four Orions supporting the search.

Since the plane went missing on March 8, search and rescue operations have involved military and civilian aircraft and ships from 26 countries, including China, the United States, Indonesia and South Korea.

Flying Officer Sharpe has had a chance to catch up with family and friends while visiting Perth, but understands the importance of her task, which remains the navigation and communications officer’s top priority.

‘It’s been a year since I’ve been home, however everyone’s thoughts are with the families of those missing on flight MH370,’ she said.