Prince William has successfully completed advanced helicopter flying training at the Defence Helicopter Flying School based at Royal Air Force Shawbury. The completion of the 12 month course is a significant step in his training to become a fully operational pilot with the Royal Air Force’s Search and Rescue Force (SARF). He graduates today in a ceremony at which The Prince of Wales, accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall, is the reviewing officer.
Flight Lieutenant Wales completed the flying aspects of the course in December, including around 80 hours of training on the Griffin HT1 helicopter. His training included Advanced Handling; Night Flying; Emergency Handling and Tactical and Formation Flying.
Prince William will begin the Search and Rescue Conversion Course at RAF Valley in Wales in late January. The Prince will first spend up to six weeks on the Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU) where he will continue to train in the Griffin helicopter. He will then continue his training on the Sea King Operational Conversion Unit (SKOCU), where he will train on a mixture of simulators and RAF Sea King helicopters. The course will culminate with a series of exercises during the Summer designed to test the full range of the students’ skills.
If successful on the course The Prince would become a fully operational Search and Rescue pilot with one of the six UK-based RAF SARF flights later this year. Once operational a typical tour for a pilot in the SARF is 30- to 36 months.