Page last updated at 00:03 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Prince Harry aims to become pilot

Prince Harry
Prince Harry saw active duty with the Blues and Royals in Afghanistan

Prince Harry is aiming to follow in his brother's footsteps by becoming a helicopter pilot, Clarence House says.

The royal has started an Army selection process and will be "graded" next month to determine whether he can start the full Army Air Corps programme.

Candidates need to prove their ability to make progress, but the failure rate is said to be high, at around half.

Prince Harry's father, Prince Charles, and uncle, the Duke of York, have also learned to pilot military helicopters.

Prince Harry has passed an initial aptitude test and if he successfully completes a four-week course, he will progress to full flight training in January 2009.

Prince William
Prince William was awarded his RAF wings on 11 April

Candidates on the four-week course chalk up 13 hours of flying, during which they need to prove their ability to learn and progress, before undertaking the full training which takes 16 months.

In April this year, Prince William was at the centre of a controversy when he landed a Chinook helicopter in a field belonging to his girlfriend Kate Middleton's family.

Ministry of Defence officials said the sortie had been fully authorised as part of the prince's attachment to the RAF.

Prince William was awarded his RAF pilot's wings on 11 April after training with the air force since January.

In September, it was announced he is to train to become a full-time search and rescue pilot with the RAF.

If Prince Harry successfully completes his selection and training process, he could fly one of three different types of helicopter; a Gazelle, Lynx, or Apache.

Apache attack helicopter
Prince Harry could end up piloting an Apache attack helicopter

The Gazelle and Lynx are use for reconnaissance and moving troops, while the Apache is used for attack purposes.

The prince has already served two-and-a-half years in the Household Cavalry Regiment.

He spent 10 weeks in active service in Afghanistan with the Blues and Royals starting in December last year.

The Ministry of Defence would not comment on how likely he would be to serve in a war zone as a pilot.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York flew on various missions for the Navy during the Falklands war.

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