THE HELICOPTER IS READY

The Associated Press Published:

The helicopter taking Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo is waiting on the pad at the Vatican.

The chopper -- emblazoned with the words "Repubblica Italiana" -- is due to depart at around 1600 GMT (11 a.m. EST). It will circle over St. Peter's Square before heading to the scenic town, where Benedict will make his final public appearance as pope.

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"Pope Live" follows the events of the final day of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.