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His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge is to become a helicopter pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance

Published on 7th August 2014

His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge is to become a helicopter pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance. 

After completing a mandatory period of training this autumn and winter, The Duke will start work with the Air Ambulance, based at Cambridge and Norwich Airports and flying both day and night shifts, in spring 2015. The Duke will start as a co-pilot but, after a period of training, will be qualified to fly as a helicopter commander.

This job will be the Duke's primary occupation, but his roster will take into account the duties and responsibilities he will continue to undertake on behalf of The Queen, both in the United Kingdom and overseas. The Duke will also continue his work with his patronages and with the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

In common with all other East Anglian Air Ambulance pilots, The Duke will be formally employed by Bond Air Services. He will draw a salary which he will donate in full to charity.

The Duke will begin training for his Air Transport Pilot's Licence (Helicopter) in September, which is estimated to take a minimum of five months to complete. The Duke will continue to undertake engagements on behalf of The Queen and his charitable affiliations during this time.

Training for the ATPL (H) will culminate in 14 examinations and a flight test.

The job will build on The Duke's operational experience in the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force, which His Royal Highness completed in September 2013. During this time he undertook more than 150 search and rescue operations.

Notes to Editors:


• The Duke will sign an employment contract with a civilian employer (Bond Air Services) and is believed to be the first Member of the Royal Family in direct succession to do so.

• The Duke will start as a co-pilot but after a period of training will be qualified to fly as a helicopter commander.

• The Duke started training to become a Search and Rescue pilot in January 2009. His previous training included Basic and Advanced Flying training on the Squirrel helicopter at RAF Shawbury before embarking on the Multi Engine Advanced Rotary Wing course (MEARW) training on the Griffin and Squirrel helicopters, which also included some introductory specialist training on the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley.

• The Duke was based at RAF Valley between January 2010 and September 2013, where, as Flight Lieutenant Wales, he served as a fully operational Search and Rescue pilot on the Sea King helicopter. He qualified as a helicopter Captain in June 2012.

• The end of his Tour at RAF Valley marked more than seven-and-a-half years of full-time military service.

• In this time, he undertook more than 150 search and rescue operations. Since joining the Royal Air Force, The Duke has completed over 1,300 flying hours.

• The Duke of Cambridge started his full-time military duties as an Officer Cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2006. He commissioned into the Household Cavalry in December 2006. He became a Lieutenant in The Blues and Royals before transferring his commission to the Royal Air Force.