Dutch king flies as KLM co-pilot

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 18, 2017
Adjust font size:
Dutch King Willem-Alexander (L) and his wife Maxima (R) step to the Church in Amsterdam to swear in, on April 30, 2013. (File photo / Xinhua)
Dutch King Willem-Alexander (L) and his wife Maxima (R) step to the Church in Amsterdam to swear in, on April 30, 2013. (File photo / Xinhua)
Dutch King Willem-Alexander has been flying as a guest pilot with KLM for 21 years, according to an exclusive interview with the king published by Dutch daily De Telegraaf on Wednesday.

"Twice a month he carried passengers who have no idea that the king is in the cockpit," said the paper.

"I find flying simply fantastic," the king told the paper. "You can completely switch off and focus on something else."

Tuesday was the last time King Willem-Alexander flew as co-pilot in the KLM Cityhopper which currently operates flights by members of the Dutch government.

The Dutch king had flown Fokker 70 aircraft for both the government and KLM Cityhopper service, according to the Dutch government.

Fokker 70 was being replaced this year with a Boeing 737. The king intends to carry on as co-pilot but will spend the summer learning how to fly Boeing 737.

"Before Sept. 11, the cockpit door was simply open and people regularly peeked in. People found it fun or amazing to see me sitting there. After Sept. 11, the cockpit door is closed and there is much less contact between the cabin and the cockpit. But yes, some people recognize my voice during the flight," said the king in the interview.

While making announcements, the king does not always say his name. "I can always say that I warmly welcome the passengers on behalf of the captain and crew. Then I don't have to say my own name. But most people don't listen in any case."

KLM pilot Maarten Putman, who regularly flies with the king, was also present during the interview. He called Willem-Alexander an excellent co-pilot. "For the relatively few flying hours the king makes, he is always very sharp. He knows the procedures well. Very well."

Dutch television NOS interviewed several stewardess who had flown with their king in the late 1990s. When asked how it felt to fly with a prince (Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother as monarch on April 30, 2013), they described him as "a very spontaneous guy, very down to earth, super gallant."

In the 1980s, Willem-Alexander obtained private, commercial and military pilot's licences, which enabled him to fly as a volunteer in Kenya, first for the medical aid organization and wildlife service organs. In 2001, he earned his airline transport pilot licence.



Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter