Prince William will be posted by the Royal Air Force to RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales, if he successfully completes his Search and Rescue pilot training. After successful completion of the training course, known as the Sea King Operational Conversion Unit course (and which is due to end in September), he will immediately join Number 22 Squadron as a fully qualified, fully operational squadron pilot flying the Sea King 3A helicopter from RAF Valley.
Initially, Prince William will act as co-pilot of the aircraft. Promotion to captain, and in effect command of the aircraft, will potentially follow in due course dependant on his performance. A typical tour for a pilot on the Search and Rescue Force is 30 to 36 months.
The decision on where Prince William and his course mates are to be posted was taken by the Royal Air Force (RAF) chain of command. The Royal Air Force’s decision to post Prince William to RAF Valley was made with the RAF’s interest in mind, matching Prince William’s skills to the challenges of flying sorties from RAF Valley. In particular, Search and Rescue operations from RAF Valley offer a wide variety of challenging flying over mountainous terrain and hostile seas supporting both military operations and civilian emergency services across the area.
The decision on where to post the students of Number 50 Course (which includes Prince William) was taken after his successful completion of the Sea King ground-school course, which he undertook at RNAS Culdrose for a number of weeks during March and April. The ground-school course ended last week. Prince William has returned to RAF Valley to complete the remainder of his training, in which he will be expected to transfer the knowledge gained within the ground-school into the air.