‘It’s a complete fantasy,’ says Prince Harry’s former military instructor of his autobiography
One of the many shocking claims in Prince Harry’s memoirs in his brand new autobiography Spare was dismissed by a first-hand witness.
In the book, The Duke of Sussex detailed a training flight he called “suicidal” due to the fact that the accompanying instructor stopped his Slingsby T67 Fireflye propeller plane on purpose without alerting anyone to what was happening.
However, that one instructor, named Michael Booley, former sergeant, says this did not happen due to the fact that flights of this type are planned in detail in advance. “I am amazed by this. Even in shock,” he told Britain’s Sunday Mirror newspaper.
In his autobiography, Harry writes: “On one of our first flights together, without warning, Booley threw the plane into a stall. I felt the left wing sag, a sense of disorder, of entropy, and then, after several seconds that felt like decades, he pulled the plane back and leveled the wings. I stared at him: Was this an aborted suicide attempt? Supposedly, Booley told him no, that it was just the next stage of his training.
Astonished by the prince’s statements, the instructor said: “Although in the book he congratulates me, I am afraid that the memory of the outings and the lessons is inaccurate. It is important to highlight that nothing in the cabin is a surprise”. Hence, Booley describes the anecdote as a “complete fantasy.”
“Each departure is thoroughly reported in advance, every aspect. The flight is carried out exactly according to that summary. The only time there are surprises is later in the curriculum, not as stated in the book, when emergencies present themselves,” he continued. “Engine failures are practiced before the first flight alone in case the student suffers them,” he added.
The 57-year-old served in the military for 33 years and taught Harry to fly the Firefly in 2009. And while Booley still has “the utmost respect” for the prince, whom he considers one of his best students, he has questioned certain parts of his memoirs, which were written by author John Joseph Moehringer.
“I think that the references to departures by plane have been dramatized. I guess it’s the result of ghostwriting. Also, I never called Prince Harry as Lieutenant Wales as the book says, but he was an officer and I called him sir, ”Booley clarified regarding the Duke’s words in his memoirs.
But Booley is not the only one to have questioned this part of Harry’s book, with a former Apache helicopters instructor telling the Mirror: “All training sorties are reported to the nth grade so that the student is fully aware of which one is the plan. In the air is not the time to try to inform someone about what the plan is. The briefing will take place on the floor in front of a whiteboard. I can only assume that the book was written that way for dramatic effect, because it’s wrong and no instructor would behave like that.”