Prince Harry has volunteered for selection to be a helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps (AAC).
Under the selection process, the Prince will attend “Grading” at Middle Wallop in Hampshire next month to determine whether he can embark on the full training course to become an operational helicopter pilot.
Grading involves a four-week programme designed to assess an applicant’s suitability for service as a pilot with the AAC. Prince Harry has already passed the initial Pilot Aptitude Tests at RAF Cranwell, which he completed earlier this month.
If successful in Grading and the subsequent Pilot’s Selection Board interview, Prince Harry will start his flying training in January 2009. The training lasts for up to two and a half years, depending on the aircraft type – Gazelle, Lynx, or Apache.
If he completes the full Army flying course, the Prince would be posted to an AAC Regiment, serving on attachment from the Household Cavalry. Such an attachment would not require him to leave the Blues & Royals (one of the two regiments of the Household Cavalry). The Prince would serve his tour with the AAC as a Blues & Royals officer. The Prince has already served two and a half years in the Household Cavalry Regiment.
Prince Harry has chosen to seek selection with the AAC now because he has completed his tour of duty as a Troop Leader with the Household Cavalry Regiment at Windsor. Such a move is quite common for young officers at this stage in their Army career.