The King who piloted his subjects on normal commercial flights

Dhaka,  Thu,  20 July 2017
Published : 12 Jun 2017, 19:47:51
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The King who piloted his subjects on normal commercial flights

BELIEVE it or not, the Dutch King Willem-Alexander was a regular "guest pilot" on KLM's Fokker-70 airplanes for decades as reported in the latest issue of the magazine "Popular Mechanics" of June 10, 2017. Many local Dutch passengers may have recognized the king's voice, when he briefed the passengers about the flight's route, estimated flight time and the anticipated weather conditions as the co-pilot in the cockpit. In a recent interview to the Dutch national daily "De Telegraaf" on last Wednesday, he reported the end of his regular role as a 'guest pilot' after 21 years of piloting in KLM's Fokker 70 aircraft and prior to that with Martinair, another local airline. The king is a qualified pilot and it is reported that he flies around twice a month, as commander of local Dutch flights.

The Dutch monarch, a 50-year-old father of three children and king of around seventeen million Dutch citizens, calls flying a "hobby" that makes him leave his royal duties and protocols behind on the ground, while he fully focuses on flying the passenger aircrafts. Reportedly, the king told local newspaper correspondents that when in the cockpit, he leaves all his royal duties behind. "You have an aircraft, passengers and crew. You have responsibilities for them! You can't take your problems from the ground into the skies. You can completely disengage and concentrate on something else (flying). That for me is the most relaxing part of flying."

He also stated that when he makes the routine passenger announcement from the cockpit as co-pilot, he does not have to give his name; just that: "It's the co-pilot from the cockpit." So while some passengers may recognize his voice, many others may not.

Engr. S. A. Mansoor

Gulshan, Dhaka

sam@dhakacom.com
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