Prince William Becomes Operational Captain for Royal Air Force Search and Rescue!

Prince William
Prince William Cpl Joe Blogs/MoD

Prince William is flying even higher!

The Duke of Cambridge, 30, has qualified as an operational captain in the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force, a Palace rep told Us Weekly on Thursday. After a couple years of being a co-pilot, Kate Middleton's husband — known as Flight Lieutenant Wales in the British military — will now command operations in RAF helicopters.

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After flying with C Flight, 22 Squadron RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales since September, William, completed his captaincy tests on May 29. (Some of the scenarios in his test included an airborne search for a yacht, a search for people in the water and extinguishing a simulated fire aboard a survey vessel.)

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Says Officer Commanding 22 Squadron, Wing Commander Mark Dunlop: "Flt Lt Wales demonstrated the required standards needed for the award of Operation Captaincy. Due to the nature of search and rescue operations, the required standards are always set at a very high level. Operational Captaincy carries the overarching responsibility for the safety of the aircraft, its crew and any casualties."

Although the professional qualification is certainly reason to celebrate, William has not yet been promoted, and his military rank remains Flight Lieutenant.

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With Duchess Kate, 30, at his side, William, brother Harry, father Prince Charles, stepmother Duchess Camilla and the entire royal family wrapped up celebrations Tuesday for Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

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