Prince William returns to the skies

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iol pic wld 700_BRITAIN-ROYALS-WILLIAM_0807_11 REUTERS An East Anglian air ambulance takes off from Cambridge airport in eastern England. Picture: Chris Radburn/pool

London - Britain's Prince William, second-in-line to the throne, is to start work as an air ambulance helicopter pilot next year, his office said on Thursday.

William, 32, was previously a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force and took part in over 150 search and rescue operations.

William will be based at Cambridge and Norwich Airports in eastern England, flying both day and night shifts, his office said in a statement. Starting as co-pilot, he can qualify as a helicopter commander after a minimum of five months training, ending in 14 examinations and a flight test.

William starts training in September and will be a formal employee of Bond Air Services following qualification, making him the first member of the royal family in the direct line of succession to sign an employment contract with a civilian employer, his office said.

The Duke of Cambridge, as he is formally titled, will draw a salary, which he will donate to charity. He will continue to perform his royal responsibilities.

In an interview with CNN last August, shortly after the birth of his first child, Prince George with his wife Kate, William said that although fatherhood had been an emotional experience, he was excited about returning to work.

“As a few fathers might know, I'm actually quite looking forward to going back to work. I'm just hoping that the first few shifts I go back I don't have any night jobs,” he joked. - Reuters


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