Kensington Palace have confirmed that The Duke of Cambridge has completed his first phase of air ambulance helicopter training earlier than anticipated. This early completion of training means that Prince William will be at the side of his wife Kate for the imminent birth of their second child.
A Kensington Palace spokesperson commented, “The Duke of Cambridge has completed the first phase of his in-work air ambulance helicopter pilot training with Bond Air Services earlier than anticipated. This is due to a combination of The Duke performing well in various modules and having very good flying conditions that allowed flight training and assessment to progress more quickly than had been planned.”
The Duke of Cambridge is now off duty until the 1st June, combining his two weeks paternity leave with an already planned period of royal engagements towards the end of May.
Prince William began his first day with Bond Air Services on 30th March after the original announcement of his appointment came last year from East Anglian Air Ambulance that he would begin his duties in the Spring. Before becoming a fully fledged air ambulance pilot, William has to
undergo a mandatory training period which will involve time in a simulator as well as aircraft and in flight training skills. At the time of his appointment, Chairman of EAAA, Andres Egerton Smith, commented, “Having the Duke of Cambridge as one of our pilots is marvellous news as he brings much experience to the charity after his successful career as a search and rescue pilot.”
The Kensington Palace spokesperson continued, “His final block of in-work training requires an uninterrupted three week block of working time and the availability of the new EC145 helicopter that will be used for missions.”
According to Kensington Palace, this block of training has always been scheduled to begin from 1st June, following a pre-planned period of official engagements for The Duke of Cambridge.
East Anglian Air Ambulance is an organisation that works in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The salary that EAAA will pay Prince William will be donated by him to a number of charities he is involved with in The Royal Foundation.
The Kensington Palace spokesperson concluded, “As the Duke will now not have any further training to complete after returning from paternity leave, he will not return to duties with Bond until that time, and will remain on unpaid leave until then.”
Details of Prince William’s official engagements in late May will be announced in due course. Royal Central will of course provide full coverage of these engagements as and when they are announced.
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