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Thursday 18 September 2014

William keen to get flying as wife Kate keeps an eagle eye

Tony Jones

Published 11/04/2014 | 02:30

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge poses for director Peter Jackson during a visit Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Photo: Ian McGregor
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge poses for director Peter Jackson during a visit Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Photo: Ian McGregor
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit  Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre on Day 4 of a Royal Tour to New Zealand on April 10, 2014 in Blenheim, New Zealand. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre on Day 4 of a Royal Tour to New Zealand on April 10, 2014 in Blenheim, New Zealand. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

PRINCE William wished out loud he could take to the skies when he clambered into a World War I bi-plane.

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It might not have been a case of "chocks away" for the British prince, but the former RAF pilot clearly enjoyed the experience of getting to grips with the controls of a replica aircraft flown by a fighter ace.

The moment was captured on a smartphone by one of the most successful movie-makers of recent years – 'Lord Of The Rings' director Peter Jackson.

William and wife Kate were visiting the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim, New Zealand, and toured the Knights Of The Sky exhibition, Jackson's display of World War I aircraft.

The trip came on the fourth day of their tour of New Zealand, which saw the duke and duchess honour their host country – William in a speech and Kate with a dazzling black gown embroidered with silver ferns. The royal couple's tributes came at a state reception held in their honour and they left their host – governor general Jerry Mateparae – in no doubt about their feelings for the nation.

In his speech to leading New Zealanders, William said they possessed the qualities of "warm-heartedness, generosity, neighbourliness" and had "an instinctive sense of justice and freedom". He also said the nation was an innovator in areas such as medicine, commerce and industry, belying the small size of its population.

New Zealanders showed their affection for the duke and duchess by turning out in their thousands to cheer on their famous guests when they visited Blenheim on the country's South Island.

William and Kate went on their first walkabout of the 19-day tour of New Zealand and Australia, receiving armfuls of flowers and presents from the 5,000 well-wishers who filled the town's main square. (© PA)

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