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Prince William Qualifies As Search And Rescue Captain In Royal Air Force

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March 31 2011 file photo of the Duke of Cambridge at the controls of a Sea King helicopter. (AP Photo/ John Stillwell/PA File)
March 31 2011 file photo of the Duke of Cambridge at the controls of a Sea King helicopter. (AP Photo/ John Stillwell/PA File)

LONDON -- Royal officials say Prince William has qualified as an operational search and rescue captain in the Royal Air Force.

The prince's office, Clarence House, says that William – known as Flight Lt. Wales in the military – will now be able to command search and rescue operations in Sea King helicopters. Previously, he had only co-piloted the aircraft.

Clarence House said Thursday that William had completed two days of ground and air-based tests to achieve the qualification, including scenarios such as a search for two missing kayakers and extinguishing a simulated fire on a vessel.

It says the tests are the culmination of nearly two years of flying experience and study.

Officials say the captaincy qualification does not alter William's rank.

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