Prince Harry, the younger son of Charles and Diana, has been promoted to Apache helicopter Commander, it was announced on Friday by Britain’s defense ministry.
The important feat is the culmination to the Prince’s three years of training. Harry, known as Capt. Wales, completed a 20-week deployment to Afghanistan as a co-pilot gunner in an Apache helicopter.
Since returning to the UK, he has been involved in missions within the country.
His commanding officer, Lt. Col. Tom de la Rue, called the qualification a “tremendous achievement,” saying in a statement Friday that Harry had passed with “flying colors.”
The royal had to complete a six-hour assessment during which he was required to “plan and deliver patrol orders, navigate throughout, fly in a controlled airspace and conduct a simulated attack on RAF Spadeadam (a Royal Air Force station in Cumbria, England),
Additionally, he had to manage a number of diversions and simulated aircraft emergencies, according to defense officials.
The military said Prince Harry had undergone months of training to prepare for the test, which involved a “grueling” six-hour flying assessment that had him flying from Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, England, up the eastern side of the country to Newcastle, across to RAF Spadeadam, then Carlisle, then down the western side of England through Manchester and Liverpool to Birmingham and then back to Wattisham.
Last month, Prince Harry showed off his pilot skills as a surprise guest at an air show in his first-ever appearance with the Royal Air Force’s aerial-acrobatic helicopter show team.
Harry, 28, who has been known for his wild partying which has landed him in tabloid front pages on more than one occasion seems to be maturing into a fine young chap.
More importantly, he managed to steal the headlines, at least momentarily, away from her brother Prince William and sister-in-law Kate, who expect their first baby any day now.
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