Prince William photos offer insight into RAF working life

Getting the teas in and making up his bed in the sparsely-furnished bunkroom – it’s all in a day’s work for Flight Lieutenant Wales.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.

Powered by article titled “Prince William photos offer insight into RAF working life” was written by Caroline Davies, for on Tuesday 20th November 2012 14.22 UTC

Getting the teas in and making up his bed in the sparsely-furnished bunkroom – it’s all in a day’s work for Flight Lieutenant Wales, aka the Duke of Cambridge.

Newly released photographs give an insight into Prince William’s role as an on-call RAF search and rescue (SAR) Sea King helicopter pilot at RAF Valley on Anglesey, north Wales.

Away from red carpet duties, the 30-year-old’s life is spent in “readiness state”, working 24-hour shifts where he must be no more than 60 seconds away from his helicopter at any time.

The photographs are released on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new website, which will promote the public life of William and his wife, Catherine, and is further evidence of the couple’s augmented role as “working royals” taking on a larger share of the royal diary.

According to the website “SAR aircrews expect to fly into conditions from which others are fleeing, meaning they often find themselves flying in gales or through clouds, driving rain and poor visibility”.

Certainly, in the photographs entitled “a typical day”, rain is much in evidence as the prince is seen carrying out pre-flight checks on his helicopter. Wall art adorning the spartan bunkroom where he sleeps while on call appears to be of a satellite photograph of yet more weather of the type he has undoubtedly become accustomed to during his north Wales stint.

Downtime is spent playing computer games, with those favoured usually having a military theme, such as Call of Duty, the MoD explains. In the base canteen the health-conscious prince is seen sharing a meal with his crew – eschewing the chips favoured by his colleague in favour of salad, it would seem.

William has been based on Anglesey since starting his training in January 2009, and graduated as a fully operational search and rescue pilot in September 2010. He qualified to take command of a Sea King Mark 3 earlier this year.

During his time there he has been involved in many dramatic rescues, details of some which have leaked to the media. The most recent to have made headlines was his team’s rescue of a 16-year-old girl in August, who had been swept out to sea in Silver Bay, Anglesey in August. It took William and his crew just 38 seconds from receiving the call to reach her.

In April William spoke of his pride in the work carried out by the SAR crews. “The skills the guys employ, the flying aspects, the general airmanship you need to have around you and all the others you need to survive the weather and whatever sort of situation you are thrown into … it’s definitely advanced flying and it’s rewarding, so put the two together and it’s a fantastic job,” he said.

“It’s rewarding because every day you come in to work you don’t quite know what’s going to happen. It’s quite exciting in that sense, it’s unpredictable.

“But at the same time, it’s great that you get to go out and actually save someone’s life hopefully or at least make a difference to somebody. When you know that they are in trouble, you do everything you can to get there.”

Speculation is mounting, however, that he will shortly leave his RAF role to take on the mantle of full-time royal engagements. He, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry now have their own private office, funded by the Prince of Wales. It will move from St James’s Palace, where it shares space with Prince Charles’s private office, to Kensington Palace this month. William and Kate will, eventually, take over the Kensington Palace apartment which used to be occupied by the late Princess Margaret.

The Cambridge’s now have their own private secretaries and press teams as they become more visible. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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