Royalty and statesmen

Prince William took his first flight at RAF Shawbury, where he's on an intensive 12-month course to prepare him for rescuing people in hazardous conditions, such as stricken mountaineers
Photo: Rex
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Accompanied by an instructor, he operated a Squirrel training helicopter during an hour-long practice session
Photo: Alpha

Flight of the Osprey as new RAF trainee William takes to the skies

16 JANUARY 2009
An HRH, Knight of the Garter, and just plain Will to his friends, Prince William can also add Golden Osprey to his list of monikers as of this week. That's the codename he'll be known by while training at the RAF's Defence Helicopter Flying School where he's learning to fly.

On Wednesday, Flight Lieutenant Wales, as he's known in the service, clambered into a Squirrel, the MoD's elementary training helicopter, for an hour's flying session at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire.

In line with air force regulations the Prince, who's started a 12-month course to become a search and rescue pilot, wore standard-issue RAF spectacles instead of the usual fashionable horned-rimmed pair he uses.

They fit under a helmet or night vision goggles and are required for pilots who are short sighted in order to boost their vision to the equivalent of 20/20 in the air.

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