January 12, 2009

Prince William starts helicopter training

Britain's Prince William has started training to fly helicopters for the Royal Air Force's Search and Rescue Force, or SARF, officials said.

William, 26, has arrived at the RAF's Shawbury base in Shropshire, England to embark on an 18-month helicopter training course, a move that likely means the royal family member is committed to the RAF for five more years, The Times of London reported Monday.

The prince's earlier helicopter training ended badly after he used an RAF chopper for a private trip to the home of the parents of his girlfriend, Kate Middleton, the newspaper said. This time, he will train on Squirrel and Griffin helicopters before moving on to Sea King choppers, described as the workhorse of the SARF.

The Times said William's training at RAF Shawbury will overlap with a similar stay at the base by his brother Prince Harry, who is about to start his own helicopter training with the Army Air Corps.