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  • Pilot King Heads Back to Flight School


    05/18/17

    (ATR) As an IOC member for 15 years, Crown Prince Willem Alexander traveled the world to attend IOC meetings. He gave up that responsibility in 2013 when he rose to the throne as king of The Netherlands.
    King Willem Alexander with IOC president Thomas Bach (IOC)

    But while renouncing his IOC membership, King Willem Alexander did not give up his license to fly commercial aircraft for KLM. For 21 years he has flown twice a month aboard KLM Cityhopper Fokker aircraft. Now the king will be heading back to flight school for training on Boeing 737 jets that are taking the place of the Fokker fleet.

    Die Telegraf newspaper reports the monarch regards his flying as a hobby that makes him focus on another world.

    "You have an aircraft, passengers and crew. You have responsibility for them. You can't take your problems from the ground into the skies. You can completely disengage and concentrate on something else. That, for me, is the most relaxing part of flying,” the 50-year-old king is quoted in the paper.

    Willem Alexander in pilot garb (KLM)
    He notes that not many people recognize him when he walks through Schiphol Airport in his KLM uniform. When he speaks to passengers in flight he only identifies himself as the co-pilot, adding to his anonymity.

    Then he observes “that no one listens anyway”.

    As IOC member, Willem Alexander participated in coordination commissions for winter Games and traveled as part of the evaluation commission for the 2010 Winter Olympics. He was named an honorary IOC member when he resigned his IOC seat in 2013.

    He’s an active supporter of the Dutch Olympic team and traveled to Rio de Janeiro to cheer the athletes clad in orange.

    Written by Ed Hula.

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