After graduating from a 19-month training course Friday, Prince William is now a full-fledged search-and-rescue pilot.
Based for the next three years at RAF Valley on Anglessey in Wales, the prince (known as Flight Lieutenant William Wales), 28, will carry out rescue missions potentially all over the country in a Sea King helicopter as part of a four-person crew.
The course -- which involved 70 hours of live flying plus 50 hours of simulator training -- "has been challenging, but I have enjoyed it immensely," he said in a statement Friday. "I am really delighted to have completed the training course with my fellow students.
"I absolutely love flying, so it will be an honor to serve operationally with the search and rescue force, helping to provide such a vital emergency service," he added.