Prince William under fire for helicopter joyride

April 17, 2008 9:40:36 AM PDT
Less than a week after being certified as a pilot, Britain's Prince William took to the skies, flying a $20 million RAF (Royal Air Force) helicopter to his cousin's three-day bachelor party in the Isle of Wight.

The news made it to the front page of the U.K. tabloid The Daily Mail, which revealed that the prince -- second in line to the throne -- also made a pit-stop in London to pick up his younger brother, Harry.

The pair then spent the next three days touring the island's clubs and pubs and, according to one eyewitness quoted by the Mail, even daring a girl in one pub to bare her breasts.

When news of the prince's unusual trip leaked out, the RAF defended it as "legitimate training" for teaching the young man how to fly over water.

But members of parliament did not react so well, with many criticizing the RAF for allowing the young royal to use the Chinook as a de facto taxi service, especially at a time when British troops in Afghanistan are facing a shortage of such helicopters.