Dutch King Reveals Secret Life As Airline Co-Pilot

Photo: AFP Photo / KLM

Dutch King Willem-Alexander has revealed he has been a co-pilot on a commercial airliner for the past two decades.

The king, who acceded to the throne in 2013, told De Telegraaf daily newspaper he has flown as a co-pilot twice a month for Dutch carrier KLM for the past 21 years.

The king he will now start conversion training to fly Boeing 737 passenger jets, having co-piloted the smaller co-Fokker 70 aircraft. The conversion training will mean the royal can continue to fly twice a month for KLM as a co-pilot.

The airline is currently phasing out the smaller Fokker plane used on short-haul flights, a policy which would have made it difficult for him to continue flying.

“I find flying simply fantastic,” King Willem-Alexander told the paper in an interview. “I really wanted to continue as a guest pilot for KLM and therefore it could actually only be on a plane such as the 737… which means short trips.

“Any bigger aircraft than this (737) always means staying overnight, meaning I cannot get back in time to The Netherlands in case of an emergency.”

The Dutch royal told De Telegraaf his conversion training would start at the end of the month.

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Passengers, however, will continue to have no idea that there is a member of the royal family in the cockpit.

The king’s presence is never announced.

“The advantage is that I can always say that I warmly welcome passengers on behalf of the captain and crew,” he said. “Then I don’t have to give my name.”

Source: sbs.com.au / AFP

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