Dutch king reveals secret life as an airline pilot for KLM

Vincent Carr
May 20, 2017

The king told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that he was stopping flying the Fokker 70 for KLM (Royal Dutch Airways).

Describing his part-time role as a "hobby", the King explained he'd been taking to the cockpit as a co-pilot of KLM Cityhopper for over two decades.

The King has kept a low profile in flights, for security reasons, especially since the 9/11 attacks and, although as a co-pilot he does make announcements, "most people don't listen".

But, according to CNN, Alexander said he's training to fly Boeing 737s. That, for me, is the most relaxing part of flying'. You have an airplane, passengers and a crew. He would have preferred long-haul destinations but the need to be available for royal duties in an emergency ruled out spending nights away, he told De Telegraaf.

'You can't take your problems from the ground into the skies. For the King flying is a hobby, in which he sees the opportunity to "disengage and concentrate on something else".

While Willem-Alexanders love of flying was not secret, his interview revealed far more detail about the extent of his regular piloting for KLM.

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Willem-Alexander volunteered to fly for the African Medical Research and Education Foundation and the Kenya Wildlife Service in the 1990s.

Prior to the September 11 terror attacks, he said, when the cockpit doors used to remain open, he would sometimes be spotted by people.

"The advantage is that I can always say that I wish everyone a heartfelt welcome in the name of the captain and the crew", he continued. Prior to that he used to pilot planes for Dutch carrier Martinair.

Willem-Alexander, 50, became king in 2013 after his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated at age 75.

The twice monthly flights for KLM allow him to keep his flying hours up to the 150 hour-a-year requirement.

Even Britain's heir to the throne, Prince Charles, is a qualified pilot while both his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have flown helicopters in their previous military careers. Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah also reportedly takes charge of the cockpit sometimes when he flies on state visits.

Other reports by BadHub

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