Prince William plunged his Sea King helicopter into a lake in Canada today as he took part in a “waterbird” emergency landing training exercise as wife Kate Middleton looked on.
The Duke of Cambridge, currently on a royal tour of Canada, was wearing a Canadian green military uniform as he showed off the skills he has learnt as a search-and-rescue pilot back in England.
Thousands of supporters turned out to see the prince perform the maneuver, which he had never performed before as the “waterbird” landings are only practiced in Canada.
The exercise is practiced because Sea King helicopters are often forced to fly extremely close to the ground during search-and-rescue operations. If during these dangerous maneuvers an engine fails, pilots are trained to carry out a controlled landing on the water.
Canadian Sea King pilots are made to undergo hours-worth of “waterbird” training each year. However, commentators have praised Prince William’s near perfect execution on his first attempt in front of thousands of spectators.
Major Patrick MacNamara, who was acting as navigator onboard the helicopter with Prince William, reported: “It’s a little bit unnerving the first time you do it. You can feel the water rushing underneath the floorboards. It’s not a natural feeling in a helicopter.”
According to The Toronto Star MacNamara also said that Prince William was casual and professional and put on a “fantastic” showing.
He said: “I would suggest he was having quite a bit of fun.”