Dutch King Secretly a KLM Airlines Pilot for 2 Decades

Dutch king reveals he's been leading secret double life as a pilot

'You have an aircraft, passengers and crew.

The Dutch are more used to seeing their Royal Family mixing with the citizens on a daily basis, a King flying fare paying passengers around is not something that even the Dutch, we imagine, thought could happen.

Kysia Hekster, a reporter who covers the Dutch royals for the broadcaster NOS, said the interview was meant to highlight the kings role with the national carrier after he was criticized for taking Emirates Airlines past year to visit Australia and New Zealand. For the King flying is a hobby, in which he sees the opportunity to "disengage and concentrate on something else".

He enjoys relaxing and said: "The most important thing is that I have a hobby which I can concentrate on fully". He flew as a volunteer in Kenya, first for the medical aid organization African Medical Research & Education Foundation (AMREF) and then for the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Putman told the Telegraaf the king has proven himself to be a standout co-pilot over his years of flying. He is now training on a Boeing 737 to continue flying with KLM.

For two decades, the king of the Netherlands has been putting the royal in KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

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The fleet of smaller Fokker 70 planes flown by the king are now being phased out by KLM, meaning he needs to take time out to retrain and learn to fly Boeing 737s. He told De Telegraaf it "seemed nice to fly to other destinations one day, with more passengers and bigger distances".

"After September 11, the cockpit door is closed and there is much less contact between the cabin and the cockpit", he added. The royal said a handful, though, have recognized his voice.

King Willem-Alexander (R) with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

However, the Dutch monarch is not the only royal with a history in the cockpit.

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. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei sometimes pilots his own flights on state visits.

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