Confirmed: Duke of Cambridge will join East Anglian Air Ambulance as a pilot from next spring

Prince William Prince William

Thursday, August 7, 2014
2:37 PM

The Duke of Cambridge will start training next month to join the East Anglian Air Ambulance as a full-time pilot from next spring.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The charity

• It was first founded in Norfolk in 1998, in response to the Air Sea Rescue squadron moving from RAF Coltishall in Norfolk to RAF Wattisham in Suffolk.

• It started operating just one day a week, but has grown significantly over the years and now has two helicopters, one based in Norwich and another in Cambridge.

• The charity now operates 365 days a year, covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedford.

• It costs £7.5m each year to provide the charity’s service and it employs around 40 to 50 people as salaried staff.

• Key partners include the East of England Ambulance Service and local hospitals, as well as Bond Air Services.

Click here to view the graphic in full

The second in line to the throne will fly on day and night missions from the charity’s base at Cambridge Airport.

Confirming the news, EAAA chief executive Patrick Peal said today: “It’s a great honour for us to have the Duke fly with us and we’re delighted he’s chosen this charity to support in such a direct way.

06/08/14 Marshalls announcement
06/08/14 - Pictures of the East Anglian Air Ambulance in Cambridge, the Duke of Cambridge is to be a pilot for the Charity. From Left Pilot Cpt Dave Kelly, Critical Care Paramedic Gary Spitzer, Dr Jayne McKinlay and  Dr Antonio Bellini. Picture by Keith Jones06/08/14 Marshalls announcement 06/08/14 - Pictures of the East Anglian Air Ambulance in Cambridge, the Duke of Cambridge is to be a pilot for the Charity. From Left Pilot Cpt Dave Kelly, Critical Care Paramedic Gary Spitzer, Dr Jayne McKinlay and Dr Antonio Bellini. Picture by Keith Jones

“It’s a demanding role and I’m sure that he will fulfil that role extremely capably.

“It will, of course, bring more interest to this air ambulance charity and the work of air ambulance charities across the UK.”

Many air ambulance pilots are ex-military, and the charity says it is confident Prince William’s experience as an RAF search and rescue pilot makes him well-qualified to join them as a pilot.

But first he will need to gain his civilian pilot’s licence, for which he will start training next month.

The helicopters he will fly

• The plan is for the Duke of Cambridge to be based in Cambridge, where he will be mostly flying the charity’s new EC145 T2 helicopter, which is currently in production and is not expected to become operational until spring next year.

• The EC145 will be able to carry two pilots, three HEMS crew, one patient, and enough fuel to fly for over two hours with a range of nearly 300 nautical miles.

• It will be equipped to operate at night.

• In contrast, the current EC135 T2e, can carry one pilot, two HEMS crew and a patient for 90 minutes with a range of 186 nautical miles.

• Once he has passed all his extra training, the Duke of Cambridge will be able to fly either the EC135 or the EC145.

EAAA aviation consultant Gerry Hermer said while the Duke would need to undertake extra training to prepare him for HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) missions and to familiarise him with their aircraft, the role would be similar to his previous job in Anglesey.

He said: “It’s very similar apart from we don’t fly over the sea and we don’t have a winch.

“He will be reacting to emergency 999 calls and he will go and land wherever is suitable.”

A Kensington Palace spokesman said the Duke was “very much looking forward to” the next step in his career.

The Duke will start as a co-pilot but, after a period of training, will be qualified to fly as a helicopter commander.

This job will be the Duke’s primary occupation, but his roster will take into account the duties and responsibilities he will continue to undertake on behalf of The Queen, both in the United Kingdom and overseas.

In common with all other East Anglian Air Ambulance pilots, The Duke will be formally employed by Bond Air Services. It is believed to be the first time a member of the Royal Family in the direct line of succession will sign an employment contract with a civilian employer.

He will draw a salary which he will donate in full to charity.

The Duke will begin training for his Air Transport Pilot’s Licence (Helicopter) in September, which is estimated to take a minimum of five months to complete and will culminate in 14 examinations and a flight test.

He will continue to undertake engagements on behalf of The Queen and his charitable affiliations during this time.

Despite his high profile and royal status, the charity is keen for its staff and partners to treat the new recruit like any other employee.

Mr Peal said: “We have already got terrific support from donors across the region and if having His Royal Highness as one of our pilots helps to interest more people in the work of the East Anglian Air Ambulance and other similar air ambulance charities, that can only be good for the level of support and security of funding for us.

“We rely totally on donations from the public to keep this service flying.”

There had been speculation surrounding the move since Prince William ended his active service as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot in September last year.

His main duties will involve flying an EC145 T2 aircraft, working alongside medics to respond to emergencies ranging from road accidents to heart attacks.

The Duke will fly missions in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

As new parents, William and Kate are expected to split their time between their new home at Anmer Hall near Sandringham in Norfolk and their apartment at Kensington Palace.

Cambridge Airport is well placed with transport links to both.

Alastair Wilson, the charity’s medical director, said he felt the Duke was well-suited to the role.

“He’s an extraordinary person and it’s just great that he wants to come and do something like this and fly with a charity like the air ambulance,” Mr Wilson added.

“The pilot is part of the team and he will be looking after patients with conditions that would be horrifying for many and some pilots may not like that very much.

“Compared to his role as a search and rescue pilot, he may be dealing with more injury patients than he is used to, but I’m sure he will adapt very well to that.”

FOR MORE ON THIS STORY AND A SPECIAL REPORT ON WHAT THE DUKE CAN EXPECT TO FACE IN HIS NEW ROLE - SEE TOMORROW’S PAPER.

24 comments

  • And what has wearing glasses got to do with it? The finest of surgeons wear glasses, trust me if you really needed the Flying ambulance would you care who was piloting it?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Sayitlikeitis

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Luvverley lad. But could I make a request that someone else come and rescue me should it prove necessary. He is a terrorist target and seeing he and Mrs Pilot haring along Ken High Street with outriders and armed guards makes me think that sending him up in a huge great yellow slow moving target is not the best idea anyone has ever had. Unless they are going to arm the EAAA helicopters with heat seeking missiles which could be a bit of a problem getting them and the medical equipment and personnel on board too.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    alecto

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Skoalbandit

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • He only became a pilot by using a loophole when he went from army to airforce . Anybody else would have to have perfect eyesight to become a pilot . He must be the only one who wore glasses from Day One of training . it isn`t what you know , it`s who you know .

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • I cannot believe some of the nasty comments here. . . I take my hat off to the guy and wish him well ...

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Wendy Rice

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • Good luck to the guy. He doesn't have to do the job. During his airsea rescue post he carried out more than 150 missions and completed more than 1,300 flying hours in often very difficult weather conditions. I don't recall any more 'photo opportunities' than when he joined and when he left. He would seem well qualified. Perhaps the 'knockers' might have the opportunity to raise their objections personally when they are in a position where they need emergency treatment, and can do so by turning down the ride!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    bumble7

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • Royalty or not, I salute anyone who saves lives or takes part in saving lives, what a fantastic job they all do.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ar ya reet boi?

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • I am so glad that now I understand why some of you make Britain so great.... Grow up.. He's giving his wage to charity and will help hi light the Air Ambulance charity... What have you done in you life to support other, glad to see you think before you write. And by the way I am not a royalist ..but served and saved others, glad you make it so worth wild.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    DAVE !

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • There was a selection process, I for one would feel much safer with a pilot of royalty rather than someone I'd never heard of. If any of you think you could do a better job then get your pilots licence and apply. There are indeed a lot of green eyed monsters commenting on this. The money that's also generated for the charity will be great too. Hoorah for William the Duke of Cambridge.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Sayitlikeitis

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • He can't do anything right in the eyes of the jealous. To the moaners, what did you do today for anyone apart from your selfish selves?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Skoalbandit

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • The good news is he will be saving the air ambulance money on fuel, as he will be powering his flights on his smugness alone

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    GossVolley

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • There really are some idiots out there!!! All the anti-royalistestablishment come creeping out of the holes. Having been in a privileged position some years ago and ended up working alongside the Royal family I have personally witnessed the work they do for this country. The amount of money they bring in is phenomenal and just the presence of the Royal's opens up the foreign cheque books of major industry for this country. Due to the money they bring in it keeps people employed - and a majority of them wouldn't know it and probably despise them still. Yes he probably will be 'part-time' as he still has official duties to carry out. What do people want?? He can hardly go and workoffer his services to a private sector company can he as this would be a conflict of interest. Can you imagine him working in an office for Aviva - No! He tries to give back to society where he can and the idiots still are not happy. I suggest when you or a family member are in a health crisis don'd dial 999 as you may end up getting his help and as you as so against him doing this you obviously will be going against your morals!!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Grumbly Ol' Git

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • And Tootyfrooty .... You couldn't mistake an Air Ambulance it's bright yellow and has BIG writing on it to that effect so I guess it could be a security risk. No doubt he'll have some minders on board with him.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • Tootyfrooty .... Do your research ...... The job wasn't advertised and there was no selection process. he said he wanted a job and they gave him one. Simple as!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • We'll probably never know whether he's a full-time pilot or not. Are an individual's flying hours in the public domain? My main concern is that if the pilot is second-in-line to the throne, the patient will never be the first priority.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    point du jour

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • How many hours a week how many weeks a year,how will this compare with others doing the same job. Or is it just an honary job with the odd photo opportunity thrown in, with more emphasis on the latter.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Gina

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • Scania, he is qualified you know? Or do you think that the Air Ambulance service simply gave him the job for the heck of it? Im not a Royalist but fairs fair and when this fella is actually doing a "proper" job (and for free too!!) then we should applaud him. Insofar as other comments regarding him taking a job from someone else? well how do you know that he didn't go through exactly the same recruitment and selection procedure as anyone else? Oh, increased security risk? I doubt it. The helicopters don't fly the Royal standard My word there are some silly billys here today.....

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Tootyfrooty

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • Scania , what a well presented ,balanced argument on the subject.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    norman hall

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • Totally agree with you Piranha24. He and his wife generate so much goodwill world wide towards the UK. Our Royal family is unique and is very ,very much admired and envied. He has served as a rescue pilot in the RAF, the most demanding of jobs , as well as carrying out his Royal duties. He has volunteered for another demanding job. Good luck to him and it quite correct to say that he will certainly give a boost to his new employer which is charity.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    norman hall

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • That entitled twit wouldn't know a day's work if it came up and bit him on the a**e. The French had the right idea a couple of hundred years ago.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scania

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • No-ones ever happy are they? Don't like it if the royals don't have to work for their money, complain when they do work for their money. Its a charity, who will no doubt be boosted by a high profile pilot serving with them. If I was the police, I'd be tracing Newuser07's IP address, sounds like a threat to me.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • Surely, this position would pose as an increased security risk for the Prince, no?!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Newuser07

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • He's just done someone out of a job who might have really needed it. The EDP ran a story several years ago about a qualified Norfolk pilot who was unable to find work.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

  • Fantastic news, good on the Duke of Cambridge

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Sayitlikeitis

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 14°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT