Prince Charles gets into cockpit during Marham visit
The Prince of Wales climbed into the cockpit of one of Britain’s newest fighter jets during a visit to RAF Marham.
Prince Charles had a close-up look at the new F-35 planes when he met crews of the newly reformed 617 Squadron at the base on Friday.
He was met by the squadron’s commanding officer, Wing Commander John Butcher, who described it as a “huge honour” to receive the prince.
The Prince of Wales, who was appointed Marshal of the RAF in 2012, discussed his interest in the first landing of the aircraft in the autumn being on HMS Queen Elizabeth - with ship and aircraft operating together for the first time.
After a comprehensive tour of the F-35, the prince met RAF and Royal Navy ground crews that support the aircraft - in which he thanked them for their hard work.
Wg Cdr Butcher, said he had the opportunity to show the Prince of Wales the capabilities of the F-35 Lightning aircraft.
He said: “He certainly seemed to be impressed. As a pilot himself, he understands in quite a lot of detail as to what the implications of flying an aircraft are like.
“When you talk about the capabilities, I think any pilot would find it quite astonishing. All the different capabilities, to do a short take-off and a vertical landing and of particular interest to him, to operate the Queen Elizabeth class carriers as well.”
The prince then met various members of the 617 Squadron, which reformed earlier this year having been originally established in 1943 with the specific task of attacking three major dams that contributed water and power to the Ruhr industrial region in Germany
Wg Cdr Butcher said: “It’s a huge honour to meet the Prince of Wales for the squadron.
“To have the Prince of Wales come and see us, come and see the aircraft, meet the people - I think it really hits home what exactly it means to be on 617 Squadron.”
Speaking of how the prince reacted to being given the opportunity to climb into the cockpit, Wg Cdr Butcher added: “It was something he particularly enjoyed.”