Prince Harry passes Army pilot course

Prince Harry, the third in line to the British throne, has passed Army helicopter pilot course, giving a major boost to his ambition to return to frontline action in Afghanistan.

London: Prince Harry, the third in line
to the British throne, has passed Army helicopter pilot
course, giving a major boost to his ambition to return to
frontline action in Afghanistan.

The 25-year-old prince was told that he had completed
his training and was also informed he had the ability to fly
either the Lynx, primary battlefield utility chopper or the
Apache, an attack helicopter, St James`s Palace announced
today.
Harry, now dubbed his royal "flyness," will be
"presented with his provisional wings by his father Prince
Charles, The Prince of Wales," in a graduation ceremony May 7.

The prince has until his graduation ceremony next
Friday to decide which aircraft he would like to specialise in
and his preference will be taken into consideration when
military commanders make their final decision.

"Prince Harry is very pleased. He will give the matter
serious consideration over the next few days before inputting
his preference, a St James`s Palace spokesman said.

The young royal, known as Lieutenant Harry Wales in
the military, has already served in Afghanistan`s Helmand
Province as a forward air controller directing air strikes for
10 weeks in 2007-08 and he hopes his new career as a
helicopter pilot in the Army Air Corps will help him
return there.

The prince, an officer with the Household Cavalry
Regiment, changed the direction of his military career and
became a pilot to increase his chances of being deployed to
the Middle East country.
Harry began his flying training with the Army Air
Corps in January last year and has been working hard to
complete the course.

Speaking last June about his flying training, he
said: "I`m really enjoying it and, as everyone knows, it`s my
easiest way of getting back to the front line. Maybe safer,
maybe not. I don`t know."

He said: "To get out to Afghanistan again would be
fantastic and my best chance is to do it from a helicopter."
Harry has been training with the Army Air Corps at its base in
Middle Wallop, Hampshire, flying the Squirrel helicopter.

He has spent more than 90 hours in the air during the
22-week course.

He successfully completed its final handling test
yesterday and earlier in the week finished the "course`s final
exercise".

The spokesman said: "Instructors assessed Prince Harry
as capable of being an Apache or a Lynx pilot."

UK forces in Helmand Province have employed the Apache
to hunt and kill Taliban fighters, gather intelligence and
provide cover for larger Chinook helicopters transporting
troops and vital supplies.

The Lynx is a versatile machine which is used for
reconnaissance, as an aerial vantage point for commanders
during battles, and to transport troops.

PTI

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