Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 12:34 UK

Prince William posted to north Wales RAF base

Prince William/Flt Lt Wales in RAF uniform
Prince William is expected to graduate at RAF Valley in September

Prince William will be posted to RAF Valley on Anglesey, if he successfully completes search and rescue pilot training, says St James' Palace.

He will join Number 22 Squadron, and first act as a co-pilot, flying the Sea King helicopter.

The prince, known as Flt Lt Wales, is already learning to fly the helicopters at the Welsh base.

Initially, he will act as co-pilot of the aircraft, on a tour that typically lasts up to three years.

The decision to post Prince William to Anglesey followed success on completing the ground-based training elements of the current search and rescue (SAR) course at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.

Students on 50 Course, which included the prince, were then asked to submit two preferences for their postings.

The royal's other choice was RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

A decision on where the second-in-line to the throne and his course mates were to be posted was taken by the RAF chain of command, said St James' Palace.

Flt Lt Wales, who is 27, can expect to be promoted to captain and overall control of the helicopter in the coming years, but how quickly will depend on his ability and performance.

"The Royal Air Force's decision to post Prince William to RAF Valley was made with the RAF's interest in mind, matching Prince William's skills to the challenges of flying sorties from RAF Valley," said a spokesperson for St James' Palace.

An RAF sea king in operation at Cockermouth during November 2009 floods
RAF Valley 22 Squadron was sent to assist in the Cumbria floods

"In particular, Search and Rescue operations from RAF Valley offer a wide variety of challenging flying over mountainous terrain and hostile seas supporting both military operations and civilian emergency services across the area."

The prince has thrown himself into training since first arriving on Anglesey in January to join the operational conversion unit course of 203 (R) Squadron, including being called upon to play the role of a casualty to be winched into a helicopter.

The next phase of training will consist of Sea King simulator and flying training, before graduating in September as a fully qualified SAR pilot.

RAF Valley is one of six SAR units operating in the UK, providing a life-saving rescue service to both the military and civilians - day and night, in all weathers.

Members of Valley's 22 Squadron C Flight, which the prince will be joining, were recently awarded for their bravery in rescuing people trapped by floods in Cockermouth last November.

The squadron and its bright yellow sea king helicopters are a regular sight over the mountains of Snowdonia, but can also be expected to answer calls as far afield as Northern Ireland.

A St James' Palace spokesman added: "The Prince will go wherever he is asked to deploy in the UK including Northern Ireland."

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES Prince William off to Wales for helicopter search-and-rescue missions - 3 hrs ago
Times Online Prince William to be posted to Wales - 11 hrs ago
The Scotsman Prince William set for Welsh posting - 14 hrs ago
The Sun Wills gets first King posting - 26 hrs ago
Scottish Sun Wills gets first King posting 11:45 - 26 hrs ago

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