Monday, April 21, 2008

Honey, I'm here to pick you up

I guess if were the Prince I would've done the same thing. I remember being so proud of my MGB (when it started up and ran) I would take it anywhere to show off to the pretty ladies.

Oh well, youth. It is wasted on the young. LOL

Prince William's '£30K stunt' as he lands RAF helicopter in Kate's back garden


Prince William was under fire again after it emerged that he had landed his £10million RAF helicopter in girlfriend Kate Middleton's back garden during an official military exercise.
Miss Middleton and her parents are said to have watched in delight as the second in line to the throne practised a series of take-offs and landings in the paddock of their sprawling detached home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, earlier this month.

Details of the two-hour stunt emerged just days after the prince was heavily criticised for using another Chinook to fly himself and his brother Harry to a stag weekend on the Isle of Wight.
Scroll down for more ...

Prince William was awarded his wings by his father earlier this month. He then flew to the Isle of Wight in an RAF helicopter for a stag party

The revelations have raised questions about the way in which the RAF has allowed the prince to fit his "intensive" four-month training course around his social life.

As well as his cousin's stag do, William has had time off to go on a boozy boys-only surfing weekend in Cornwall and a week's holiday ski-ing in the Swiss alps with his girlfriend.

The RAF has repeatedly refused requests by the Mail to confirm how much Wiliam's attachment has cost taxpayers, arguing that it would take too much manpower to sit down and work the figures out.

The incident is understood to have taken place on April 3 during the final part of the course - codenamed Golden Kestrel - designed to allow army officer William, who one day will become head of the armed forces, to "familiarise" himself with the role of the RAF.
It has also, conveniently, afforded him the opportunity of learning to fly, something that the prince has long desired to do.
Scroll down for more ...

The Middleton family home is 16 miles away from RAF Odiham and the prince landed the Chinook in the field at the back of the house

RAF sources told the News of the World that, William, 25, himself came up with the idea of taking the helicopter to Berkshire, claiming there was a shortage of landing spots at RAF Odiam in Hampshire where he was based for part of his attachment.
After the plan was approved by his instructors, the prince flew the 16 miles to Miss Middleton's family home where he completed one circuit of the field at the back of her parents' million-pound house and practised landing and taking off in their paddock.

He then piloted the helicopter back to Odiham for further tuition. The entire operation is estimated to have cost around £30,000.

Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat Defence spokesman, yesterday described the "jaunt" as major mistake, saying: "The prince will look back on this and realise it was a PR own goal.
"It's going to leave a lot of people wondering where the sense of priority lies if very serious helicopters are being made available for this sort of thing at a time when they are in such extreme need."

William and Kate met each other at university

It has also angered RAF top brass who had been savouring the "fabulous" publicity that William's attachment to the force had brought in this, their 90th anniversary year.
Pictures of the Prince of Wales awarding his son his wings at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, watched by Miss Middleton, on April 11 made front pages around the world.

The head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, is said to have "erupted" with rage at the "sheer stupidity" of the situation and is said to have demanded a "line-by-line" explanation from subordinates.

One senior RAF source told the Mail yesterday: "William hasn't done anything wrong but the naivety of those around him in allowing him to make these flights without forseeing the potential problems they could cause is astonishing.

"I think there has been a bit of royal fever here."

An RAF Chinook costs £15,000 an hour to run

A Ministry of Defence spokesman yesterday defended its decision to allow William to land the Chinook in the Middletons' field, however, saying: "Battlefield helicopters routinely practice landing in fields and confined spaces away from their airfields as a vital part of their training for operations.

"These highly honed skills are used daily in conflict zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The sortie on April 3 was fully authorised and planned and was an agreed part of Prince William's attachment to the RAF."

Their statement failed to aknowledge the fact that the future king is unlikely to ever see active service in a war zone, however.

He is due to be deployed with the Royal Navy in June for three months and will leave the army in January next year to become a full-time working royal.

Last week it emerged that after getting his much-coveted wings William flew a Chinook to

London and landed at Woolwich, where he picked up his brother and fellow army officer Harry.
They then flew to the Isle of Wight where their cousin Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne, was enjoying a weekend-long stag party.

The flight enabled them to spend an extra five hours touring the pubs of Cowes where at one point rowdy revellers pulled down William's trousers.

Eyewitness also claimed the two princes dared girls in one pub to bare their breasts and partied into the early hours with a number of attractive young woman including a local lap dancer named Gigi La Chance.

The RAF insisted the jaunt was "legitimate training" by teaching the prince to fly over water, but MPs demanded to know why the young royals were allowed to use the Chinook aircraft as a "stag do taxi service".

Critics pointed out that British troops in Afghanistan are critically short of the helicopters.

Only around ten are available to commanders in Afghanistan, who privately complain that operations are constantly hamstrung by a lack of helicopters.
Aviation analyst and RAF-trained pilot Jon Lake described the latest incident as "ridiculous and inappropriate".

"This is an absolute waste of training hours in the Chinook helicopter that the military are hard-pressed to afford. No other pilot at Prince William's stage of training would be allowed anywhere near the left-hand seat of Chinook," he said.

"It's like a learner driver being given the keys to a Formula One car just because his father owns the racing team."

In December 2005 the Mail revealed how William flew from Anglesey, where he was enjoying a week's mountain rescue training, in a Hawk jet so he could collect his army boots the following day.

Clarence House declined to comment on the latest row, with sources stressing that all of William's "sorties" had been approved by the RAF.