Helicopters Magazine

Prince William qualifies as SAR captain

June 8, 2012  By Sadie Whitelocks The Daily Mail

June 8, 2012, Anglesey, U.K. - Prince William has qualified as an operational search and rescue captain just weeks before his 30th birthday, Clarence House has announced.

The Duke of Cambridge, who turns 30
on June 21, started serving with the squadron at RAF Valley in Anglesey
in 2010 as he believed it was best chance to 'serve operationally' in
the Armed Forces as he was barred from going to Afghanistan unlike his
brother Prince Harry.

After completing his captaincy tests on May 29 and undergoing two years of flying experience in Sea King helicopters he will now be able to command operations, helping rescue distressed mountaineers or exhausted swimmers across the UK.

The mock rescue scenarios saw him take
part in an airborne searches for vessels and missing people while
extinguishing a simulated fire.


'Due to the nature of search-and-rescue operations, the required standards are always set at a very high level. Operational captaincy carries the overarching responsibility for the safety of the aircraft, its crew and any casualties.'

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said his tests had been carried out in 'the normal timescale'.

this year the prince spent six weeks flying search-and-rescue missions
from the Falkland Islands. His routine posting proved controversial in
the run up to the 30th anniversary of the Falkland Islands conflict,
with the Argentinian Government accusing the UK of using the prince’s
presence to inflame tension between the two countries.

The extra hours in the air, as well
as the challenge of flying over harsh terrain and the South Atlantic,
will have been useful experience to William in gaining his new

William's brother, Prince Harry,
recently completed helicopter pilot training on Apache gunships, which
are used by the Army Air Corps. Part of his course included two months
of advanced weapons training in California and Arizona, where the desert
conditions replicate those found in Afghanistan.

is currently flying Apaches on exercises in the UK and is keen to
return to Afghanistan after his first tour of duty was cut short in

A spokesperson for
William added: 'The Duke is pleased to have passed the milestone and is
looking forward to contributing in a command role to the lifesaving work
of the Search and Rescue Force.'

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a home in North Wales near William’s RAF base.


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