Prince Harry has taken the controls of a training aircraft for the first time during his pilot training – days after failing his theory exams.
The 24-year-old was said to have commanded a Slingsby T-67 Firefly in the company of an instructor as he took to the skies above RAF Barkston Heath in Lincolnshire.
Pilot training is part of the 24-year-old’s detachment with the Army Air Corps from his usual placement in the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals.
He is living at RAF College Cranwell while he carries out the training until the spring.
Ruth Vernon, spokesman for RAF Cranwell, has told the Echo: “As far as we are concerned he’s just another student doing his elementary flying training on an established course.”
To qualify for the training programme, Prince Harry flew 13 hours with an instructor in the Firefly – which is a single engine light aircraft.
The flight also assessed his aptitude for Army flying training and learning at the required rate.
A Royal insider today told London’s Evening Standard newspaper: ‘This is a real milestone for Harry. ‘He has flown a Slingsby during his grading but this is the first time he has done so during real training.
‘He’ll be delighted.’
Harry is understood to have failed his first pilot theory test last week, but Army chiefs are giving him extra tuition to make sure he passes at his second attempt.
They are also sending him on an equality and diversity course as a disciplinary procedure following weeks of negative headlines about his alleged racist comments.
He is likely to return to the front line in Afghanistan if he passes. Harry hopes to fly an Apache attack helicopter on the front line, but may be given a reconnaissance Lynx or Gazelle helicopter depending on how well he performs.
He spent 10 weeks in Afghanistan last year as a forward air controller in Helmand province, guiding fighter jets towards suspected Taliban targets.
He was secretly serving under a news blackout but was forced to return home last February after a website revealed his deployment.
Prince William is also training to be a helicopter pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue Force.