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Wed, Jul 06, 2005

Britain's Young Prince Stays Cool In Heavy Weather Landing

Prince William Ended Up Diverted Back To Christchurch

Britain's Prince William, making his first unaccompanied trip overseas, didn't quite make it to his destination Tuesday... after his royal aircraft tried twice to land in the New Zealand town of Invercargill. The prince was reportedly quite calm -- perhaps the most calm of anyone connected to the story.

Faced with thick fog, the Air New Zealand ATR-72 (file photo of type, below right) descended to decision altitude twice before the pilot decided to divert to Christchurch -- mostly because he didn't have the fuel reserves to wait out the weather.

UK news outlets Wednesday touted headlines like, "Prince's Mid-Air Drama" and "Plane Carrying Prince William Forced To Abort Landing Twice," but William seemed perfectly at ease with the whole concept of flying a missed approach.

A spokesman for the prince said the royal was "completely relaxed" and thought he was "in good hands."

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, sorry about that. We made two approaches. We did the best we could," pilot Jeff Lynton told William and the other 65 passengers on board. "I wanted to get the boy down. He's got things to do. I've only had this once before and I've been flying for five years. It was an absolute oncer. It just had to happen on this day of all days."

The diversion forced William to cancel plans to attend a rugby match in Arrowtown.

FMI: www.airnz.co.nz

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