London: Prince Harry, the third-in-line to the British throne, has reportedly topped in the class during his Apache attack helicopter training in the US.
   
The 27-year-old, who gained his wings earlier this year, is said to be an "exceptional" pilot, even among the elite corps of airmen chosen to fly the two-man attack helicopters, - in fact, he has scored highest marks in all the challenges he faced at Naval Air Facility in California.
   
A senior Army source said, "It sounds like a con, but Harry is genuinely shaping up to be one of the best young Apache pilots this country has ever seen. His US instructors have to treat him the same as everyone else, as we all do in the British Army. But they have turned round and said, “My God, this guy is the real deal”.
   
"There are many skills needed to be a top-drawer Apache pilot but apparently it's Harry's flying that is particularly impressive. His handling, hand-eye co-ordination, reaction speeds -- he's a natural. Any doubters who said, 'Harry is Royal -- he's getting special treatment' can leave the room now. His talent is leaving his trainers open-mouthed."
   
Harry is one of 20 British trainees spending two months at the Californian complex. He is currently taking part in Exercise Crimson Eagle, which gives Army Air Corps pilots vital experience in live firing exercises on vast military ranges in the south western United States.
   
The Prince, who fought in Afghanistan with the Household Cavalry against the Tabliban in 2008, is almost certain to be deployed with his squadron late next year, and has the full support of the Queen and his father Prince Charles.

(Agencies)