LONDON, England – Military officials have defended a decision to allow Prince William to land his Royal Air Force helicopter in girlfriend Kate Middleton's garden.
The Ministry of Defense issued a statement after the News of the World reported the prince had landed the aircraft at the property in Berkshire on April 3.
It described the incident as a "routine training sortie that achieved essential training objectives".
"Battlefield helicopter crews routinely practice landing in fields and confined spaces away from their airfields as a vital part of their training for operations," the statement read.
"These highly honed skills are used daily in conflict zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Helicopter bases continually seek permission from land owners to use their fields and there are only two fields permanently available in Hampshire.
"Opportunities to use alternatives are therefore regularly seized.
"The sortie on April 3 was fully authorized and planned and was an agreed part of Prince William's attachment to the RAF.
"The aircraft landed in the field, after taking all necessary safety precautions, and was on the ground for 20 seconds.
"No one got on or off the aircraft. This was very much a routine training sortie that achieved essential training objectives."
It comes after reports emerged that William had used a RAF Chinook to fly to a stag weekend on the Isle of Wight.
The RAF insisted it was a legitimate training exercise to teach the prince how to fly over water.