In an interview with The Dutch Telegraph, Dutch King Willem-Alexander revealed that for the past 21 years, he has been co-piloting commercial flights with KLM twice a month. “There are passengers who recognize my voice from the announcements from the cockpit,” said the king, who is currently training to fly a Boeing 737.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander in the cockpit (right) Photo Credit: Twitter/Channel 2 News
Many leaders around the world are known for their flying skills that they accumulated during their military training- from members of the British royal family to Jordan’s King Abdullah II. However, passengers of the Dutch airline KLM recently discovered that it is likely that Dutch King Willem-Alexander had co-piloted one of their commercial flights over the past 21 years.
In an interview with the Dutch newspaper The Telegraph, the king said that since his days as heir to the throne, he has been taking part in commercial airline flights twice a month. He explained that his “hobby” helps him take a break from the pressure and duties of the royal family.
The Dutch King flies to relieve stress Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News
“The most important thing for me is to have a hobby that I have to concentrate on completely,” the king explained. “You have a plane, passengers and crew and you are responsible for them. You cannot bring your problems from the ground with you to the air,” he said. “You have to disconnect completely and concentrate on something else. For me, that is the calming aspect of flying.”
He added that in the days prior to the September 11 attacks, when the cockpit door would be open, passengers would recognize him and ask to be photographed with him. “Even today, there are those who recognize my voice,” the king noted.