Prince Harry has been selected to train on the Apache attack helicopter, reports MSNBC. He received his provisional wings from his father, Prince Charles, in a ceremony at the AAC's Army Aviation Centre at Middle Wallop, Hampshire, to mark his graduation from his Army helicopter training course.
The move follows the successful completion of his Army pilots course, and he is now qualified to fly Lynx and Apache helicopters. ( See report here including videos “Valiant Prince”, 3 May 2010)
There has been considerable speculation in the British media as to how this will affect his chances of returning to serve in Afghanistan.
Prince Harry will spend a sixteen months training period first with one of the Apache regiments based at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, and then with an Apache regiment in Suffolk.
His wings can then be confirmed.
An officer with the Household Cavalry Regiment, Prince Harry told the BBC , that it was a "huge honour" to train on the Apache which he described as an "awesome helicopter".
"There is still a huge mountain for me to climb if I am to pass the Apache training course. To be honest, I think it will be one of the biggest challenges in my life so far.
"I am very determined, though, as I do not want to let down people who have shown faith in my ability to fly this aircraft on operations. It is a seriously daunting prospect but I can't wait."
The BBC report recalled that in June 2009 Prince Harry said that flying a helicopter was "my easiest way of getting back to the front line".
He added: "Maybe safer, maybe not, I don't know. To get out to Afghanistan again would be fantastic and my best chance is to do it from a helicopter."