14 APRIL 2009

After a former RAF officer claimed Prince William accidentally grounded a plane during training last year the Ministry of Defence has spoken up in the royal pilot's defence.

An MoD spokesman says "no damage was done" during the incident, which took place while the second in line to the throne was landing a high-powered Tucano plane during his 12-week pilot training stint with the RAF.

Retired officer Joe Watt says William grounded the aircraft after pressing the wrong switch and "overcooking" the engine. Although the plane was out of action for a few days after the incident last year, checks confirmed no lasting damage was done.

"He flicked the wrong switch on shutdown and overcooked the turbo. I think he switched it back on," says Mr Watt. "The engine tries to start again when it is stopping."

He added the mistake could have happened because there were two pilots on board. "If one thinks the engine is off and the other does not think he has switched it off, he can switch it back on," he explained.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "We are aware that this incident took place. But we can confirm there was no damage done to any aircraft during Prince William's training."

Photo: Rex
The second in line to the throne accidentally grounded a plane after flicking the wrong switch during his 12-week pilot training stint last year
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