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Prince William graduates RAF training as search and rescue pilot

Prince William has completed his RAF training to become a search and rescue pilot.

The prince, known as Flt Lt William Wales, graduated today after a 19-month programme – six months of which was spent at RAF Valley on Anglesey.

Prince William will undergo acceptance training before starting his first 24-hour search and rescue shift

Prince William and fellow trainees received certificates and squadron badges at today’s ceremony.

Number 50 Sea King operational conversion unit (OCU) course, which included Flt Lt Wales, consisted of four pilots and four rear crew.

The prince and at least half of his fellow trainees are expected to stay on at RAF Valley – monitoring one of the busiest search and rescue routes in the UK.

Last year 22 squadron carried out nearly 300 search and rescue operations.

Watch footage of Prince William graduating

During his training the prince has taken part in a number of simulated rescue missions over the Irish Sea and the Atlantic and in the mountains of Snowdonia.

The RAF has insisted that no concessions have been made to him because of his status, and that he has passed the training course on merit.

They have also warned anyone making false 999 calls in order to meet the prince as he performs his search and rescue duties will be presented an invoice for the full cost of the rescue – a sum which could run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Prince William will undergo “acceptance” training over the next few weeks to learn the terrain and landing sites crews are regularly called out to by flying to the places during day and night exercises. His first 24-hour shift with a rescue team will start soon after that is completed.

Flt Lt Wales will spend the next three years living on and flying rescue missions from the base on Anglesey.


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