In an interview published by the Dutch De Telegraaf daily on Wednesday, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands said he is a regular “guest pilot,” or co-pilot, on KLM’s fleet of Fokker 70 planes.
King Willem has piloted the Fokker for 21 years, first for Martinair and then for KLM. His passengers did not know, most of the time.
He will not retrain to fly Boeing 737 as the Fokker fleet is being retired. For the King flying is a hobby, in which he sees the opportunity to “disengage and concentrate on something else.”
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.”
The Dutch king is not the only Royal pilot.
Since 2014, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, has piloted an air ambulance helicopter for years, a job the Palace announced in January he would have to quit as he was moving to London, from Norfolk. As a result, the Duke and successor to the throne will not be renewing his contract with the East Anglian Air Ambulance that lapses in the summer.