Prince William becomes search and rescue captain

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Royal officials say Prince William has qualified as an operational search and rescue captain in the Royal Air Force.

The prince's office, Clarence House, says that William — known as Flight Lt. Wales in the military — will now be able to command search and rescue operations in Sea King helicopters. Previously, he had only co-piloted the aircraft.

Clarence House said Thursday that William had completed two days of ground and air-based tests to achieve the qualification, including scenarios such as a search for two missing kayakers and extinguishing a simulated fire on a vessel.

It says the tests are the culmination of nearly two years of flying experience and study.

Officials say the captaincy qualification does not alter William's rank.