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HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Flying Hours.

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HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Flying Hours.

Old 3rd Jan 2022, 18:34
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HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Flying Hours.

I'm sure we all knew that the late Duke of Edinburgh was a keen and skilful pilot, both fixed-wing and real, but I was surprised to see that he accrued all but 6,000hrs - an amazing total for a non-professional pilot.
How did he manage this level of flying? It seems quite surprising that someone in his position would have time to achieve so much, even though he must have had access to almost anything he wanted to have a crack at...I'd love to see the list (apparently 60 odd types)

https://www.aerosociety.com/news/cel...inburgh-kg-kt/
contains a couple of fascinating lectures.

God Bless him..
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Old 3rd Jan 2022, 21:39
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I did some research into this at the time of his death. Although it does seem a high number of hours for a non professional, it is over a long period of time. 5900 hours over 44 years is only 134 hours per year. Of that, there would be in the region of 500 UK engagements per year where he would often fly to and from in royal flight Andovers, Wessexs etc. In addition to that, numerous tours and overseas visits. A recent BBC documentary showed a page of his logbook from a royal tour of the South Pacific, during which he flew numerous sectors.

I'm interested in how crewing would work for the royal flight though. Would one crew member be rostered to fly and then simply thrown out of their seat for a bit?
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Old 3rd Jan 2022, 22:58
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IIRC He did a tour of South America with Pete Middleton flying a BEA Viscount and them sharing the flying.
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 05:53
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Blind pew - indeed yes, but the aircraft was actually an HP Dart Herald in full BEA livery, doing a sales tour with the Duke taking a very active part. I remember seeing an advertisement in Flight magazine at the time, picturing the aircraft taking off directly "up and over" Rio's Sugar Loaf mountain, instead of the usual required deviation to avoid any CFIT embarrassment! Subsequently there was a Brazilian order for some of the aircraft.
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 07:01
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Some nice Pathé archive footage of the Herald being prepared for the SA tour here: Uk: "Herald" Jetliner Prepared For Prince Philip's South American Tour. - British Pathé (britishpathe.com)

As well as G-APWA (which now resides a couple of miles up the road from me), a second aircraft (G-AODF, the second prototype, originally flown as an HPR.3 with 4 x Leonides) was involved in the tour to a limited extent. Neither aircraft actually served with BEA.
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 07:04
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So where is his logbook and can we see it?
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 10:01
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That's ok, how many LH pilots are logging their bunk time, plenty.
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 10:21
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Originally Posted by The Flying Stool
I'm interested in how crewing would work for the royal flight though. Would one crew member be rostered to fly and then simply thrown out of their seat for a bit?
Exactly what happened!
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 11:17
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Originally Posted by deja vu
That's ok, how many LH pilots are logging their bunk time, plenty.
That would explain the rather high flying hours. Log book available for inspection?
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 14:41
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PlusNet. I don't think that is the case at all. As pointed out in post #2, it's only some 130 hours per year. Remember, he continued flying long after most of us have quit.

An old colleague, sadly no longer with us, was a pilot on the Queen's Flight Wessex. Subject to his commitments at the other end, the Duke certainly flew those.
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 15:14
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Heard Charlie on the RT departing from ZRH obviously after a skiing holiday.
Ta seafire6
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 17:37
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I wonder how many hours the current Dutch Monarch has in his logbook?
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 17:51
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Isn't he an occasional line pilot with KLM flying the Fokker 70/100 and now 737? I remember reading at the time it was revealed that he always flew with the same small group of training captains. He also flew the Dutch govt F70 and now 737.

Interestingly, he flies in the right seat as an FO for KLM. Prince Phillip always used to fly left seat even if he wasn't technically captain on paper.

Last edited by The Flying Stool; 4th Jan 2022 at 18:19.
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 18:42
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Our Majesty W.A. plans to fly once a month with KLM as FO.
I take it this is enough to stay fully current?
I would not be surprised that KLM schedules all those flights as line training so nobody can be blamed or embarrassed if just something might go slightly amiss.

It was rumored that the choice for the Head of State 737 was influenced by the choice of KLM for 737s.
both for maintenance as for type rating W.A.
(Embrear was not considered)

When you fly once a month you rack-up 100 hours per year?
W.A. Will Have to keep flying well beyond 65 to get at the same level as Prince Philip.
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Old 4th Jan 2022, 19:16
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Even if 130hrs/year explains it there is no doubt that for the last two or three decades his flying must have been much reduced (or do I misjudge the old rogue?) so his earlier decades had to make up for that. It would seen to me that a lifetime average of 130p/a and a death at age 100 he must have spent some decades flying at double that rate aor more.

And 250/300hrs p/a on top of a full-time job as one of the hardest-working members of 'the firm' isn't to be sneezed at - indeed many full-time Professional pilots didn't more than double that. (I know I didn't in a number of jobs)

Does anyone know to what level he would have been trained to take on such flying or what form this training would have taken?
I'm thinking of what was required to log these hours? Was it on a level that we might recognise ie genuinely undre/following proper training, genueinely as qualified P2 or does the logbook merely reflect untrained 'jollies' with a Training Captain in the other seat doing all the work?
Tales of the P of W's exploits in the cockpit include reliable descriptions I have heard of his familiarity and currency on type reduced to the level of requestng "Next Checks Please" - he didn't even know the names of the checklists so unfamiliar was he, which might explain the short-field performance issue this highlighted.

Was the D of E of this calibre too, or made of sterner and more dedicated stuff? I suspect the latter but it would be fascinating to hear from those in the know, if they can speak without breaching respect and protocol.

What fun he must have had!

Last edited by meleagertoo; 4th Jan 2022 at 19:32.
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Old 5th Jan 2022, 13:12
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Colleague said he was doing a test at Boeing Field (1980s), and HRH was coming out alongside with a group on the first Britannia Airways 767 delivery. Seems to have got involved with all sorts that looked interesting.

Good for him. Having met him directly (non-aviation) he seemed a pretty good polymath, understanding everything. Which didn't quite meet the agenda of some media. Who knew, for example, that he was a very competent pianist ?
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Old 5th Jan 2022, 15:35
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I posted this before and in the circumstances thought it worth reposting.
Duke of Edinburgh’s R.A.F. Commission
On January 15th [1953] the Air Ministry announced that Her Majesty the Queen had been graciously pleased to appoint H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh to a commission in the Royal Air Force, in the rank of Marshal of the Royal Air Force, with effect from that date. Simultaneous announcements by the Admiralty and War Office gave news, respectively, of the Duke’s promotion to ranks of Admiral of the Fleet (he is already a commander in the Royal Navy) and of Field Marshal.
The Duke, who recently succeeded the late King as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps, now becomes the third member of the Royal Family to have held the highest rank in the R.A.F. King George V did not hold the rank as such, but assumed the title of Chief of the Royal Air Force. The Duke of Windsor was appointed a Marshal of the Royal Air Force on his accession in 1936 and has retained that rank since his abdication, and the late King George VI also assumed the rank on his accession. Both the Duke of Windsor and King George VI learned to fly, the former being taught by A. Cdre. Sir Edward Fielden and the latter by Air Chief Marshal Sir Alec Coryton.
..and here he is flying over his home in a 'five star' Harvard.


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Old 5th Jan 2022, 21:49
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The Chipmunk (aaah) in which he carried out his first solo, is in the RAF Museum at Cosford.
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Old 5th Jan 2022, 22:26
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I'm amazed that anyone here finds that number of hours or types to be in any way remarkable for a non-professional pilot. It just takes the desire to fly and the willingness to allocate weekends and vacations to the cause.

Perhaps what is remarkable is that he flew that much and stayed married.

Last edited by EXDAC; 6th Jan 2022 at 00:52.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 14:12
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Even the number of aircraft types flown is impressive. Just raf/royal flight /32 sqn aircraft include the following:
Chipmunk
Harvard
Devon
Heron
Beagle Bassett
Whirlwind
Wessex
Andover
BAe 146
HS125?

Any others I've missed out? Feel free to add.
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