Prince William to begin training as RAF pilot

LONDON (Reuters) - Prince William is due to begin a stint with the Royal Air Force next week where he will learn how to pilot helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

The second-in-line to the throne is due start on Monday at the RAF’s Cranwell school in Lincolnshire at the beginning of a four-month attachment.

“The attachment... is designed to familiarise him with the Royal Air Force, its structure, roles, history and ethos,” an RAF spokesman added.

Known as Flying Officer William Wales, he will learn to fly a propeller-driven Grob 115E light aircraft, known as a Tutor, before moving to RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire where he will be trained to fly the faster Tucano T1 plane.

He will finally progress to RAF Shawbury in Shropshire to fly the Squirrel helicopter.

The training is specially designed for his needs, but William will be treated just like any other new recruit, the RAF said.

It has been a personal ambition for the prince -- the future head of the armed forces -- to learn how to fly and he follows other members of the royal family into the RAF, including his father Prince Charles and uncle Prince Andrew who saw frontline duty as a helicopter pilot in the 1982 Falklands War.

William has spent the past year in the Army as part of the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals where he is a 1st lieutenant. He will start a final attachment, with the Royal Navy, in the early summer.

Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison