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Duke of Cambridge flies helicopter to hospital to celebrate air ambulance anniversary

PUBLISHED: 14:55 09 January 2019

The Duke of Cambridge with London's Air Ambulance Charity CEO Jonathan Jenkins on the Royal London Hospital's helipad. Picture: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA Wire

The Duke of Cambridge with London's Air Ambulance Charity CEO Jonathan Jenkins on the Royal London Hospital's helipad. Picture: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA Wire

The Duke of Cambridge flew a helicopter to the Royal London Hospital as he celebrated the 30th anniversary of the capital’s air ambulance service.

The Duke of Cambridge arrives on board a helicopter. Picture: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA WireThe Duke of Cambridge arrives on board a helicopter. Picture: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA Wire

William, a former pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), boarded the aircraft at his home, Kensington Palace, and took the controls for the 25-minute trip.

The duke’s flight in the helicopter came as he was named the patron of London’s Air Ambulance Charity’s 30th anniversary campaign, which aims to raise awareness about its work and support for the development of new facilities.

During the visit William was shown a graphic demonstration of paramedics dealing with a stab victim, but in a lighter moment when given a card to mark wife Kate’s 37th birthday, confessed: “I did remember this morning - so I was OK.”

The prince later said he had not flown since June but the charity’s chief pilot, Neil Jeffers, said he was impressed with the royal’s skills as an aviator.

The Duke of Cambridge is handed a birthday card for the Duchess of Cambridge during the visit. Picture: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA WireThe Duke of Cambridge is handed a birthday card for the Duchess of Cambridge during the visit. Picture: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA Wire

He said: “We landed at Kensington Palace, we put him in the right seat, the captain’s seat of the aircraf. He has only flown the aircraft a couple of times but was happy to fly it.

“So he did all the flying from the palace, we had a look around London looking at some landing sites.”

William landed at the charity’s helipad on top of the Whitechapel hospital - a spot he has flown to a number of times as an air ambulance pilot.

After he stepped from the charity’s MD 902 Explorer helicopter, one of two used by the organisation but not in service, he told its chief executive Jonathan Jenkins: “Flying around here is the best thing ever - amazing.”

The Duke of Cambridge meets staff during a visit to the Royal London Hospital. Picture: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA WireThe Duke of Cambridge meets staff during a visit to the Royal London Hospital. Picture: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA Wire

The chief pilot said about the prince: “He flies sporadically, he’s a busy man, has a family to look after, he hasn’t flown for quite a few months but when you have that motor programme, like riding a bike, you don’t often forget it.

“He’s very switched on, he’s passionate about it and flies incredibly well for someone who doesn’t fly that often.”

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