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William jittery before first solo flight

The second-in-line to the throne Prince William is two weeks into his training stint at the RAF's Cranwell school in Lincolnshire.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2008 22:42 IST

Prince William talked on Thursday about his nerves ahead of the first solo flight of his RAF pilot training.

The second-in-line to the throne is two weeks into his training stint at the RAF's Cranwell school in Lincolnshire.

William, 25, described his surprise when his instructor said he was ready to take over the controls earlier this month.

"It was one of those experiences when I thought ... you know, hopefully I'll get another practice," he told BBC television.

"And the next thing I know, my instructor jumps out and goes 'Get on with it', and I was left there sort of looking around going, er, what?

"So I just did it, and once you got up in the air it was fine."

Known as Flying Officer William Wales, he has begun his training on a propeller-driven Grob 115E light aircraft, known as a Tutor.

He will then move to RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire where he will be trained to fly the faster Tucano T1 plane, before finally progressing to RAF Shawbury in Shropshire to fly the Squirrel helicopter.

The prince, who has spent the past year with the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals, said he had been ribbed by his colleagues about his life in the Army.

"I keep sort of having lots of jokes about the Army ...that is fine, and I stick up for them," he said.

His RAF colleagues were "a bunch of really good guys, love their flying, all really dedicated guys," he added.

The prince also talked about his frustration with the weather, which has prevented him taking to the skies as much as he would have liked.

It has been a personal ambition for the prince to learn how to fly and he follows other members of the royal family into the RAF, including his father Prince Charles and uncle Prince Andrew who saw frontline duty as a helicopter pilot in the 1982 Falklands War.

He will start a final attachment, with the Royal Navy, in the early summer.