Queen honours ‘world first’ Horsham airline captain

A Horsham airline captain has gained royal recognition for her services to aviation.

Thirty-one-year-old aviation ambassador Kate West has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

But modest Kate said: “I don’t feel like I’ve done anything special,

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“I’m just doing a job that I love - but it’s lovely to be recognised for it.”

Airline Captain Kate West, MBE

Kate’s love of flying began when she joined the air cadets while at school. But she was told by her headteacher that she would never become a pilot - and that made her even more determined to take to the skies.

After attending flying school, she joined easyJet as a first officer at the age of 21 - and soon rose to the rank of captain.

By 2016, Kate became the world’s youngest ever commercial female airline captain.

And she has since gone on to become a training captain, instructing new pilots, and captains, to help develop their skills.

Kate West

A citation to her award states: “She consistently demonstrates the competencies required of an excellent instructor, who has worked exceptionally hard to develop her instructional skills.”

As an aviation ambassador, Kate works with the Government to encourage young people to look at aviation as a career and works closely with schools.

“I believe that happiness is so much more important than anything, regardless of status or income, you should be happy in what you do.

“If a child tells you their passion, they have to follow it to be happy.

Teachers guide, but they also need to listen to their students. Children need to be encouraged to do what will make them happiest.

“I just try and encourage people to be whatever they want to be, as long as they are happy.”

Kate, who is married with a seven year old stepdaughter, enjoys yoga in her spare time and walking with her family in the South Downs.