Despite ending active service last year in the British Royal Air Force as a helicopter search and rescue pilot, Prince William is determined to continue using his flying skills to help others. The 32-year-old Duke of Cambridge has announced that starting next spring, he will sign a full-time contract with the East Anglian air ambulance (EAAA) rescue team. According to Kensington Palace, while the position will be the Duke's primary occupation, he will still have royal duties to throughout the year to fulfill. In addition, his entire salary will be donated to charity. 

He is believed to be the first member of the Royal family in the direct line of succession to have a civilian contract.

Despite Prince William's royal status, he will have to prove himself like any other pilot to earn a position with the air ambulance team. This includes a mandatory period of training this fall and winter, followed by 14 examinations and a flight test. He'll then start as a co-pilot and train his way towards becoming a helicopter commander. 

A palace spokesman said: "The job will build on the duke's operational experience in the Royal Air Force search and rescue force. During this time he undertook more than 150 search and rescue operations."

Patrick Peal, chief executive of the EAAA, told the UK Guardian that the Duke will fly medics to assist with everything from auto accidents to heart attacks. "Compared to his role as a search and rescue pilot, he may be dealing with more injury patients than he is used to, but I'm sure he will adapt very well to that," he said.

Peal added that William's recruitment is not only a boon for the organization in terms of experience, but also for elevating its profile for fundraising. 

"We're very fortunate that we currently enjoy tremendous levels of support, but fundraising is always a challenge – we're looking to raise £7.5m a year to continue the lifesaving work – and I'm sure that this will help to raise the profile of the charity. We're looking forward to him being part of the team," he said.

Related on MNN:

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Prince William to join air ambulance rescue team
The Duke of Cambridge will fly medics to emergencies ranging from road accidents to heart attacks.