Published 7 June 2012

The Duke of Cambridge has qualified as an operational captain within the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force.

Flight Lieutenant Wales, as he is known in the military, will now command Search and Rescue operations in RAF Sea King helicopters. Until now, Flight Lieutenant Wales has only co-piloted the aircraft.

The operational captaincy check involved ground and air based practical tests, spread over a two day period. The tests were a culmination of almost two years of flying experience and study for The Duke of Cambridge since joining C Flight, 22 Squadron at RAF Valley in Anglesey in September 2010.

Officer Commanding 22 Squadron, Wing Commander Mark Dunlop said:

“Flt Lt Wales demonstrated the required standards needed for the award of Operation Captaincy. Due to the nature of search and rescue operations, the required standards are always set at a very high level. Operational Captaincy carries the overarching responsibility for the safety of the aircraft, its crew and any casualties.”