A Canadian Forces Sea King helicopter with the Duke of
Cambridge on board takes part in a search and rescue
demonstration in Dalvay by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island.
(AP Photo/TheCanadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
Prince William enjoyed showing off his military
helicopter training with his first water landing to the delight
of anxious crowds in Canada, where he and his wife, Kate, have
been on their first official overseas trip since their wedding.
The Duke of Cambridge climbed into the cockpit of a Sea King
helicopter for the military training exercise at Dalvay
by-the-Sea, a scenic resort along Prince Edward Island's
north shore. Prince William, a Royal Air Force rescue
helicopter pilot, requested the simulated emergency landing
Dressed in an olive flight suit and helmet, the prince
settled the large helicopter on the water several times over
the course of an hour.
From the water, William piloted several takeoffs and hovered
in the air before executing dual- and single-engine landings
before taxiing around as Kate watched from the ground.
"He was looking for his wife on the shoreline at one point,"
said Col. Sam Michaud, 42, who trained William. "She was
waving back about 100 feet away."
Michaud said William was now fully trained. He said William
remarked that the "boys back at his squadron would be
Canada is the only country that trains its Sea King
helicopter pilots to do a controlled landing on water if
there's an emergency. The exercise William performed is known
as waterbirding, and if the number of times he tried it was
any indication, the prince was enjoying the technique. The
Sea King, which William flies back in the UK, has the ability
to land on water because of its amphibious hull.
Maj. Pat MacNamara called him a star pilot.
"I would suggest he was having quite a bit of fun," MacNamara
said. "He said it was one of the highlights of his trip."
Prince Edward Island resident Linda Patton, 60, said she was
nervous watching the prince fly.
"It was thrilling to watch and a little nerve-wracking I must
admit, especially the ones he was hovering and came straight
down" Patton said.
The royal pair then got to flex their muscles by paddling in
two dragon boats to race against each other. Kate, dressed in
black sportswear, got to demonstrate her athletic prowess
while on the water by taking the stern of her boat. She
trained as part of a dragon boat crew in 2007, and the
rivalry with William appeared to be genuine.
William gripped his paddle to execute a strong stroke, while
Kate moved from the stern to paddle in her boat. The prince's
boat won the short race by a hair and William exited the boat
to give Kate a warm consolation hug. Kate laughed and tried
to push William in the water.