Dutch King co-pilots KLM Cityhopper flights twice per month

Dutch king was KLM ‘guest pilot’ for 21 years

Refreshingly down-to-earth, the 50-year-old refers to flying as a "hobby" that serves as an escape from his day-to-day royal duties, overseeing his 17 million Dutch subjects. "You have an airplane, passengers and crew".

He is now being retrained to fly the KLM Boeing 737 as the Fokker 70 is being retired.

Interestingly, though, the king said passengers rarely recognised him in his uniform.

"You can completely switch off for a while and focus on something else."
. Until now Willem-Alexander has worked behind the joystick of a Fokker and it was already known that he had appeared as a "guest pilot" before being crowned king, in order to maintain his pilot's licence. While he may have the reins of the country in his hands, the monarch has always been the co-pilot on flights, the report says.

Up to 9/11 when the cockpit door was left open on planes, people used to come and have a look and were always surprised to spot the prince, as he was then.

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As a King, he has been flying since 2013 as that is when he took over as King after his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated at age 75. "You have responsibility for them", he told Dutch newspaper De Telegraafs. "But yes, some people recognize my voice during the flight", said the king in the interview.

King Willem-Alexander reacting during a visit to Tuahiwi Marae on November 8, 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Prince William now flies helicopters for the East Anglian Air Ambulance service while his uncle Prince Andrew flew helicopters for the Royal Navy, seeing active service in the Falklands War.

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.

"I think flying is just wonderful", the king told the Dutch paper, on his boyhood dream. "Most people do not listen [to the pilot]", he quipped to the newspaper.

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