Prince William's New Job: Air Ambulance Helicopter Pilot

PHOTO: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attends a reception at the Grand Place on August 4, 2014 in Mons, Belgium.
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One year after welcoming a new son, Britain’s Prince William has landed a new job: air ambulance helicopter pilot.

The 32-year-old prince – husband to Kate Middleton and father to Prince George – will join the East Anglian Air Ambulance as a pilot, Kensington Palace confirmed today.

“The Duke is greatly excited by this opportunity,” a Palace spokesperson said in a statement. “EAAA does some truly outstanding work, and The Duke wanted to make his own contribution to it."

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Prince William will begin a five-month training period for his Air Transport Pilot’s license in September, the Palace said. The process consists of 14 exams and a flight test.

As a pilot with the nonprofit East Anglian Air Ambulance, William will join a crew, “called to an average of four incidents per day,” including, “life threatening situations such as road traffic accidents and medical emergencies,” according to the unit’s website.

Prince William will start his position as a co-pilot but graduate to a helicopter commander role once he is qualified.

“It’s a vital service and it performs life-saving work and we’re very pleased His Highness has agreed to fly with our charity,” said Patrick Peal, chief executive of the 365 day-a-year lifesaving service.

Kensington Palace said that William will be based at Cambridge and Norwich Airports and work both day and night shifts, flying missions in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Bedfordshire.

The job will build on the operational experience William gained in the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue force, which he served from 2009 until September 2013. The Duke of Cambridge served as a fully operational pilot on the Sea King Helicopter, flying over 1300 hours, first as Flight Lieutenant Wales and then Captain in June 2012. During his time at RAF Valley in Anglesey, William flew more than 150 search and rescue operations.

His previous training included Basic and Advanced Flying training on the Squirrel helicopter at RAF Shawbury. He then proceeded to the Multi-Engine Advanced Rotary Wing course on Griffin and Squirrel helicopters.

William will sign an employment contract with Bond Air Services, which operates the Air Ambulance service. He is believed to be the first member of the Royal family in the direct line of succession to have a civilian contract.

"He regards his work with the RAF Search and Rescue Force as having been an exceptional privilege, and is hugely motivated by the idea of being able to continue to help people in difficult and challenging situations," the Palace spokesman said.

The news of Prince William’s new job comes just a few weeks after he and Kate, also 32, celebrated the first birthday of their first child, Prince George. Kensington Palace released new photos of the growing prince walking to mark the occasion.

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