Queen Maxima’s pilot husband King Willem-Alexander takes flight in fighter aircraft

Queen Maxima’s pilot husband King Willem-Alexander takes flight in fighter aircraft

The Dutch royal suited up for the ride in the sky

King Willem-Alexander’s latest engagement took him above the clouds. Queen Maxima’s husband visited Volkel Air Base on Thursday, July 9. The royal dad of three’s outing focused on the deployment of F-16 fighter aircrafts both in the Netherlands and internationally. Volkel Air Base, which provides air support and air defense, is one of the two main operating bases of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. During the outing, Willem-Alexander, 53, suited up and took part in a training mission to further gain insight into the process surrounding a F-16 flight. The Dutch King hopped on board the two-seat plane sitting in the rear seat of the aircraft.

The Dutch King holds multiple pilot licenses©Getty Images
The Dutch King holds multiple pilot licenses

A photo shared by the Dutch Royal House showed the passengers waving while up in the air. Royal fans were impressed with the engagement, with some commenting “cool,” “awesome” and “wow.” Meanwhile another social media user wrote: “Top man in a top fighter jet.”

Willem-Alexander, who is a certified pilot himself, is “extremely interested in flying,” according to the Dutch Royal House. The royal obtained his private pilot’s license (second class) in 1985, followed by his commercial pilot’s license (with an instrument rating) in 1987. The King also has his military pilot’s license, which was presented to him by his late grandfather Prince Bernhard in 1994, and earned his airline transport pilot license in 2001. To practice his flying, Maxima’s husband occasionally flies as a guest pilot for KLM Cityhopper. In 2017, the King trained to fly the Boeing 737 and obtained his license that June allowing him to continue flying as a guest pilot with KLM.

In a 2017 interview with De Telegraaf newspaper, Willem-Alexander spoke about his flying hobby. He said (via The Irish Times), “For me the most important thing is that I have a hobby for which I need to concentrate completely. You have an airplane, passengers and a crew. You carry responsibility for that. You cannot take your problems from the ground with you in the sky. You can for a brief moment disconnect and concentrate on something else. That is the biggest relaxation of flying to me.”

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