Prince Harry qualifies as Apache Aircraft Commander
Soon-to-be-parents William and Kate aren’t the only British royals having a great month. Prince Harry has just qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander in his country’s Royal Air Force (RAF), a huge honor that was celebrated with a military dinner on Wednesday, Kensington Palace announced on Friday.
“This is a tremendous achievement for Captain Wales who passed with flying colors,” Harry’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Tom de la Rue, said in a statement released by the palace, adding that the new title places Harry “at the very top of his profession.”
In order to get the certification, Harry — or rather, Captain Wales — had to take a six-hour test where he conducted a simulated attack full of diversions and distractions.
Harry also won an award for best Co-Pilot Gunner, voted on by the prince's RAF pals.
Apaches are a kind of helicopter often used in military operations like rescues, and Harry has had plenty of opportunities to practice and hone his skills while based at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, England.
Before the big test, he practiced his piloting skills in the United Kingdom, the US and Afghanistan. (Remember when Harry was spotted hanging out in San Diego last year? He was there because it’s close to a military base that’s known for helicopter training.)
Harry isn’t the first British royal to serve in the military. His brother Prince William is trained as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, and his dad Prince Charles served in the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.