Prince Harry performed death-defying stunts in an Apache attack helicopter at a recent air show in the UK, and the crowd had no idea the pilot they were watching was a member of the royal family.
Harry made his first stint in an aerial-acrobatic helicopter stunt team at the RAF Cosford Air Show. He performed rolls and other tricks, and the crowd had no idea who they were watching until the public address announcer casually announced him.
“The helicopter was almost inverted, with its rotorblades down — it was almost on its back,” one spectator told the Sun. “If Harry’s grandmother had been watching she’d have been a little concerned I would have thought. Everyone was so shocked when they realized Harry was taking part — nobody knew.”
Until the announcer informed them it was Prince Harry, that is.
“Nobody could believe it. They did their routine and then at the end the guy said ‘right, you’ve guessed it, that was Harry,’ ” a spectator told the Sun.
Prince Harry was given no special treatment in joining the stunt crew, said Lieutenant Colonel Tim de la Rue, who is in charge of the stunt team.
“The display team, unlike some other display teams, is not a permanent assignment; rather it is drawn from a pool of suitably qualified and experienced, operationally ready, Apache aircrew and ground crew, and uses aircraft drawn from the operational Apache Squadrons,” added Lt Col de la Rue.
Prince Harry returned to the UK in January after a five-month tour in Afghanistan, where he was co-pilot in an Apache. As if he didn’t have enough credibility as a real-life hero, a new book from a former corporal under Harry’s command revealed that the prince once defended him from gay bullying.
The confrontation, which took place in 2008, involved six rival regiment soldiers who Corporal James Wharton says cornered him and threatened to beat him up. Wharton later sought out Prince Harry, his commanding officer, who took on the matter himself.
“He climbed out of the tank and I poked my head out of the turret a few moments later to see him having a go,” Wharton wrote.
He recalled that Prince Harry told the bullies to “back the f**k off.”