Have you flown KLM recently? Chances are the co-pilot might have been the King of Holland.
That’s right. He is a commercial pilot and from time to time (in between his kingly duties) he likes to fly as a co-pilot on KLM flights. He says that people don’t really recognize him in his uniform but some people recognize his voice.
Seems like a lot of royalty like to fly – Prince Charles does / did. He learned to fly on a Chipmunk basic pilot trainer, a BAC Jet Provost jet trainer, and a Beagle Basset multi-engine trainer; he then regularly flew the Hawker Siddeley Andover, Westland Wessex and BAe 146 aircraft of The Queen’s Flight until he gave up flying after crashing the BAe 146 in the Hebrides in 1994.
Prince William is a helicopter pilot – which for some reason sounds strangely more sexy than being a commercial pilot. And he looks very cute in his uniform.
Love the name badge – Will Wales. His younger brother Prince Harry followed in his footsteps and chose helicopters rather than planes. Also looks pretty good in uniform. Other Royals have taken to the air too – Though George V, king from 1910 to 1936, was photographed in Royal Air Force uniform with only honorary wings, three of his heirs earned pilot ratings. His second son, Prince Albert, saw combat in the Royal Navy, then entered the fledgling RAF in 1918 as a non-flying officer. Shortly after World War I, he trained to fly.
World leaders too like to get their wings.
It is George H.W. Bush, president from 1988 to 1992 and one of the youngest naval aviators of World War II, who has the most impressive record of America’s pilot-presidents. Not quite 19 upon receiving his wings, he flew TBM Avenger torpedo bombers from the carrier USS San Jacinto in 1944. It was said that Bush was “one of Grumman’s best customers,” having ditched one Avenger with engine trouble and parachuted from another. On a mission over the Bonin Islands, Japanese flak set Bush’s Avenger afire. He remained airborne long enough to reach open water. Though his two crewmen perished after bailing out with Bush, the future president was rescued by submarine. After the war, told that the Japanese army routinely cannibalized captured fliers, Bush quipped that he was so thin he would have made a poor meal. For his 58 combat missions, Lieutenant Junior Grade Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. – Pretty impressive!
Which world leader would you NOT like to see as the co-pilot of your next flight?
- Sorry – not going to go there –