For 21 years, the king of the Netherlands has flown twice a month as co-pilot while his passengers were in the dark, he has told a Dutch newspaper.
Willem-Alexander acceded to the throne in 2013 but his other role, in the cockpit, has continued.
“I find flying simply fantastic,” he told De Telegraaf newspaper.
He intends to carry on as co-pilot but will spend the coming months learning how to fly Boeing 737s.
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.
What was not clear was that he was co-piloting passenger flights incognito, twice a month as king, often with KLM Captain Maarten Putman.
The Dutch government said last month that he had flown Fokker 70 aircraft for both the government and KLM Cityhopper service, and that the plane was being replaced this year with a 737. Cityhopper flights are aimed mainly at business travellers in dozens of European destinations, particularly in the UK, Germany and Norway.
Willem-Alexander once said that if he had not been born in a palace, his dream would have been to fly a big passenger plane such as a Boeing 747
Other Royals pilots:
– The Sultan of Brunei is known to fly his own Boeing 747
– Prince Charles is a qualified pilot as are both his sons
– Prince William gives up his role as RAF air ambulance helicopter pilot this year
– Prince Harry served in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter co-pilot
– Jordan’s King Abdullah is a trained pilot
– Belgian King Philip is a F16 pilot
source: BBC news