The Prince of Wales brushed off the controversy surrounding his remarks in which he reportedly compared Russian leader Vladimir Putin with Adolf Hitler... by throwing paper planes towards the media.

Charles appeared in good spirits when he arrived at Stevenson Hangar in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with the Duchess of Cornwall and smiled as they were greeted by dozens of local students.

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He was introduced to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and spoke to youngsters as they learned about the aerospace and aviation industry inside the huge aircraft hangar.

Charles and Camilla were given the chance to test the flight of their own paper planes by throwing them at a target, which was positioned next to number of photographers gathered to take their picture.

"Yes!", the Prince said as his first effort hit a cameraman.

"It wasn't such a great design," he added.

Charles asked one group of students whether they enjoyed learning about science and technology at the aircraft hangar.

"It beats sitting in the classroom," he joked.

The royal couple are carrying out engagements across Winnipeg, two days after the Prince reportedly compared Mr Putin to the Nazi dictator during a visit to an immigration museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Jewish museum volunteer Marienne Ferguson, 78, told Charles how she and her family fled the Nazis during the Second World War, and said that he responded: "Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler."

Addressing a crowd of students and teachers inside the hangar, Charles said: "If I may say so, this seems to me a remarkably good way to start to address the skills gap prevalent in so many industries.

"In my own small way, I have tried over many years to tackle this gap through my own charities and initiatives, and have often felt I was trying to push water up a hill. But today you have given me hope."

The Prince was presented with a small flight jacket which Shelly Glover, minister for Canadian heritage, said "baby George might enjoy".