Prince Harry’s Former Army Instructor Clarifies Deliberate Engine Failure in Royal’s Training

Prince Harry's Former Army Instructor Clarifies Deliberate Engine Failure in Royal's Training
Cover Images/Dutch Press Photo

Former Sergeant Major Michael Booley insists the ‘engine failure’ in one of the Duke of Sussex’s training flights was ‘practiced’ and ‘thoroughly briefed beforehand.’

Prince Harry‘s former Army instructor disputed the royal’s account of one of their training flights. The Duke of Sussex penned in his memoir “Spare” that former Sergeant Major Michael Booley deliberately stalled their Slingsby T67 Firefly propeller plane without warning, but the Sergeant insisted that wasn’t the case because “every single aspect” of the trip would have been mapped out beforehand.

Harry wrote, “I felt the left wing dip, a sickening feeling of disorder, of entropy, and then, after several seconds that felt like decades, he recovered the aircraft and levelled the wings. I stared at him. What in the absolute – ? ‘Was this an aborted suicide attempt?’ No, he said gently. This was the next stage in my training.”

Michael – who ranks Harry as one of his five best ever students – insisted the account was “inaccurate.” He said, “I am staggered by this. In shock even.” He told the Sunday Mirror newspaper, “Whilst the book compliments me, the recollection of the sorties and lessons is inaccurate, I’m afraid. It’s important to highlight that nothing in the cockpit comes as a surprise.”

“Every sortie is thoroughly briefed beforehand, every single aspect. The sortie is flown exactly as per that brief. The only time there are surprises is later in the syllabus, not as stated in the book, when emergencies are introduced. Engine failures are practised before the first solo obviously, in case the student suffers one.”

The 57-year-old former soldier questioned the “dramatisation” of Harry’s military flights, and suggested it could be down to the prince’s ghostwriter, John Joseph Moehringer. He added, “I think the reference to the flying sorties has been dramatised. I think it’s a result of the ghost writing. I never called him Lt Wales, he was an officer, and I called him Sir.”

Despite his criticism of the book, Michael – who served in the military for 22 years – has a lot of “respect” for Harry. He said, “He was an exceptional student, very talented indeed. He is a friend and a man I respect immensely who would always have my ear.”

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