Prince William was spotted as he was wearing regulation glasses while flying.
The specs fit under a pilot’s helmet and night vision goggles and give them the best possible field of vision.
The Ministry of Defence said: “Admittedly they are not the trendiest piece of eyewear going, but they do the job.”
Prince William, 26, was pictured in the glasses as he took his first training flight with the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
Some might be surprised to see a would-be RAF pilot in glasses in the first place, but in fact only those who are colour blind or have chronic eye conditions are unlikely to be able to qualify for the job.
Applicants must, however, have perfect 20/20 vision when wearing glasses.
RAF pilots are not permitted to wear their own specs when flying, however, hence the regulation glasses.
William, who is believed to be short sighted, has needed glasses for several years. He owns a pair of trendy metalrimmed spectacles, but prefers not to wear them in public.
The prince, whose codename at the air base is ‘Golden Osprey,’ took off in a Squirrel, the MoD’s elementary flying training helicopter, with an instructor at his side for a successful hour-long ‘ sortie’ on Wednesday afternoon.
On his return he puffed his cheeks out and smiled with relief that all had gone well. He looked equally delighted at the opportunity to take off his unflattering eyewear.
If he passes the intensive 12-month course, Prince William hopes to go on and qualify as a Search and Rescue pilot, which could see him taking on his first ‘shout’ in early 2011.
A source at RAF Shawbury, Shrops, said: “Prince William set his heart on becoming a pilot when he was a boy. He’s earned his place on the course because he went through Sandhurst like any other Army officer. He has already shown he has the natural skills that should make him an exceptional pilot.”