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'Delighted' Prince Harry passes helicopter pilot's course with flying colours

August 17, 2009
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Prince Harry is said to be "delighted" with the news that he has successfully completed his basic helicopter training course.Now one step closer to earning his full wings, the soldier-prince racked up 40 hours of flying to sail through the first stage of the course, and has been given the go-ahead to begin his advanced flying training.

During his time in the air, the 24-year-old learnt how to master take-off, basic helicopter handling, landings and various emergencies. Sources say it is likely Harry will now opt to fly Lynx support helicopters rather than the attack helicopters used by the Army Air Corps – Apaches and Gazelles.

At a photocall with his brother at RAF Shawbury in June – where William, who already has his 'wings', is training to become an RAF search and rescue pilot – the prince made his preference known. "I think the Lynx is more challenging, it's more my cup of tea than the Apache. That's how I feel but that might change halfway through," he said, before adding: "I'll fly wherever I'm told to fly."

Harry's next stage of training – another 40 hours of flying, including night sorties, 'instrument' flying in bad weather, more emergency drills and advanced handling techniques – will continue until October.

If he successfully completes this stage, he will then move from RAF Shawbury to the Army Air Corps' base in Middle Wallop, Hampshire. He will then be awarded his 'wings' in March before he assigned to either the Apache, Gazelle or the Lynx.

In May, Harry, who secretly spent ten weeks serving in Afghanistan early last year, also successfully completed advanced ground school - the theoretical part of the training.

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