Why the f*** should my hacks know what they're talking about, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
The attack on Prince William got going in earnest as Amanda Platell, the Mail’s Glenda Emeritus, sneered “Even William’s friends are questioning whether he really wants to become king or if he would prefer to live the quiet life of a wealthy landed gentleman”, with another article chiding him as “William the unwilling” after he chose to visit his in-laws, rather than endure a night at the BAFTAs.
But today the Mail has overreached itself, and demonstrated an ignorance which could have been overcome by utilisation of the mystical art known as “Five minutes’ Googling”, with readers being told “Revealed: Part-timer William works just 80 hours a MONTH (but he did have to fit in two royal duties this year as well)”. Anyone in the aviation industry will see immediately where the Mail has gone badly wrong.
William is a helicopter pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance. As such, his flying hours are governed by rules drawn by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). These stipulate that pilots should not exceed 80 flying hours in any 28 day period. Rebecca English’s article does suggest she has tried to grasp the concept - but failed signally. What those rules do not do is to restrict pilots to working only 80 hours a month. I will explain.
The concept of “flying hours” is understood to run from engine start-up to “on-chocks” at the end of a flight or turn of duty. Those hours count towards the 80 in a 28 day period. Any preparation, aircraft inspection, pre-flight checks, fuelling, interaction with ground crew, programming on-board computers, and debriefing at end of flight, do not count. And these are the rules under which commercial airlines operate, too.
The Mail is not about to suggest that BA or EasyJet pilots are part-timers, yet they work to the same maximum hours rules as Prince William. What the paper does do is to regale readers with a number of “sources”, some of whom are “Royal”, in an effort to stand up the idea that William is on some kind of part-time arrangement, when he is not. It is knocking copy written to order. And it really will not do.
The Daily Mail: keeping readers frightened and ignorant since 1896. No change there, then.