Prince William has qualified as an operational captain for the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force.
Flight Lieutenant Wales, as he is known in the military, will now command Search and Rescue operations in RAF Sea King helicopters. Until now, William has only co-piloted the choppers.
The operational captaincy check involved ground and air based practical tests, spread over a two day period. The tests were a culmination of almost two years of flying experience and study for The Duke of Cambridge since joining C Flight, 22 Squadron at RAF Valley in Anglesey in September 2010.
William's commanding officer, Wing Commander Mark Dunlop, said: “Flt Lt Wales demonstrated the required standards needed for the award of Operational Captaincy. 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.”
The qualification does not alter The Duke of Cambridge’s military rank. He remains a Flight Lieutenant.