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Prince William to train to become air ambulance pilot next year

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LONDON — Prince William is taking a new job: Air ambulance pilot.

Britain's royal officials announced Thursday that starting September, the royal will train for about five months as a helicopter pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance. If successful, he will join the charity group, based in Cambridge, next spring.

Kensington Palace said Thursday the stint will be William's main job, though he will also continue to take on royal duties and engagements both in Britain and overseas.

PHOTO: FILE - In this Friday, June 1, 2012 file photo released by Britain's Ministry of Defence, Britain's Prince William sits in the cockpit of a helicopter at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales. Britain's royal officials announced on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 that Prince William will train for about five months as a helicopter pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance. If successful, he will join the group, based in Cambridge, next spring. (AP Photo/SAC Faye Storer, MOD, File)
FILE - In this Friday, June 1, 2012 file photo released by Britain's Ministry of Defence, Britain's Prince William sits in the cockpit of a helicopter at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales. Britain's royal officials announced on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 that Prince William will train for about five months as a helicopter pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance. If successful, he will join the group, based in Cambridge, next spring. (AP Photo/SAC Faye Storer, MOD, File)

The royal's duties will include flying both day and night shifts, and working with medics to respond to emergencies ranging from road accidents to heart attacks.

"The pilot is part of the team and he will be looking after patients with conditions that would be horrifying for many, and some pilots may not like that very much," said Alastair Wilson, the charity's medical director. "Compared to his role as a search-and-rescue pilot, he may be dealing with more injury patients than he is used to, but I'm sure he will adapt very well to that."

The job will build on William's experience as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot, a position he qualified for in 2012 after serving other military duties.

He left that job last September, shortly after his and his wife Kate's first son, Prince George, was born.

William will be paid a salary for the new job, which he will donate in full to charity, officials said.

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PHOTO: FILE - In this Monday, July 4, 2011 file photo, Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is seen at the controls of a helicopter in Dalvay-by-the-Sea on Prince Edward Island during the Royal Tour of Canada. Britain's royal officials announced on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 that Prince William will train for about five months as a helicopter pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance. If successful, he will join the group, based in Cambridge, next spring. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
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