TODAY   |  March 31, 2013

Prince William takes on new role in reality series

In 'Helicopter Rescue,” a four-part BBC reality series set to air next month, viewers will get a unique look at the joys - and risks - of Prince William’s day job as a helicopter rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force search and rescue team. “I have a duty of care for the crew, for the casualty for many cases as well, so you have to think very carefully,” Prince William said. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports.

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>>> today marks a milestone for prince william . it is the end of the minimum period he's required to serve in the british military . already speculation is growing that william might be ready to give up his helicopter rescue career to focus on his royal duties instead. now a reality series -- you may have heard about this -- it's on bbc, and it's giving us our first real look at the prince in action. here's nbc's jim maceda.

>> reporter: this is the heir to the british throne 's day job , where prince william goes by flight lieutenant wales , a helicopter pilot on a royal air force search and rescue team based in wales . in helicopter rescue, a four-part bbc reality tv series to air next month, viewers will get a unique look at the joys and risks of his mission.

>> you have to analyze all the information you're given and make the best judgment. it's not easy. it makes you feel worried, concerned. you obviously want to make the right call. obviously, you care for the crew, the casualty in many cases, as well. so you do have to think very carefully.

>> reporter: with the duke and his wife, kate, the duchess of cambridge, expecting their first child in july, the tv series comes at a crossroads in prince william 's life, with new responsibilities as a father. there are reports he'll soon decide either to continue in his military career or take on a bigger role as the monarchy's second in line, as his grandmother queen elizabeth grows older and limits her engagements. but for now, flight lieutenant wales and his team will answer the call as they've done already hundreds of times, the busiest search and rescue crew in britain. for "today," jim maceda, nbc news, london.