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Dutch King Reveals He's a Secret Commercial Airline Pilot

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It's not unusual to have a side hustle, but most people don’t moonlight as pilots—or for that matter, serve as monarchs by day. But as The Guardian reports, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has spent the past two decades secretly juggling his royal duties with commercial airline gigs.

In an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, King Willem-Alexander revealed his part-time job to the public, announcing that he temporarily abdicated his duties as a bi-monthly “guest pilot” for Dutch airline KLM so he could learn to operate a Boeing 737. Before his 21-year stint with KLM, the royal worked for Martinair, another national airline.

As a co-pilot for KLM, King Willem-Alexander helped operate flights twice a month, for both the government and the KLM Cityhopper service, according to BBC News. The royal told De Telegraaf that an airplane's cockpit serves as an escape from the throne: “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 Dutch people knew that King Willem-Alexander was a licensed pilot, and that he operated the occasional KLM aircraft. That said, they didn’t know how often he did it—and most of the time, passengers didn’t even notice the king’s presence behind closed cockpit doors, or recognize his voice over the intercom. (“Most people don’t listen anyway,” he told De Telegraaf.)

King Willem-Alexander operated KLM’s fleet of smaller Fokker 70 planes, but he’ll have to learn to fly Boeing 737s now that the former aircrafts are being discontinued. The 50-year-old king plans to continue flying—and as Europe’s youngest monarch, he’ll likely soar the friendly skies for years to come.

[h/t The Guardian]

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A New Roller Coaster is Whizzing Through Colorado's Rocky Mountains
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There are plenty of ways to explore the majestic Rocky Mountains, but few offer the adrenaline rush of the Rocky Mountain Coaster, a brand-new roller coaster that sends riders soaring along the range’s natural twists and turns.

As Urban Daddy reports, the Rocky Mountain Coaster recently opened at Copper Mountain, a mountain and ski resort that’s located near the tiny town of Frisco, about 75 miles west of Denver. Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the vacation spot is ideal for hikers, skiers, and mountain bikers. Now, visitors looking to enjoy the surrounding scenery without breaking a sweat can cruise for roughly a mile down to the resort’s high alpine Center Village.

The ride’s raised track “runs along the natural curvature of the mountain, with zigs, zags, dips, and 360-degree turns for guaranteed thrills,” according to a press release. Each personal car is equipped with manual hand brakes to control the ride’s pace, but the coaster does feature a 430-foot drop, so be careful with your phones while Instagramming the view.

The Rocky Mountain Coaster is open-year round, though it will initially mostly only be open on weekends. Solo rides cost $25, and a two-ride pass can be purchased for $35. (Resort guests get an exclusive discount.)

[h/t Urban Daddy]

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Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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Pop Culture
How to Perform the Star Wars Theme—On Calculators
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The iconic Star Wars theme has been recreated with glass harps, theremins, and even cat meows. Now, Laughing Squid reports that the team over at YouTube channel It’s a small world have created a version that can be played on calculators.

The channel’s math-related music videos feature covers of popular songs like Luis Fonsi’s "Despacito," Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You," and the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, all of which are performed on two or more calculators. The Star Wars theme, though, is played across five devices, positioned together into a makeshift keyboard of sorts.

The video begins with a math-musician who transcribes number combinations into notes. Then, they break into an elaborate practice chord sequence on two, and then four, calculators. Once they’re all warmed up, they begin playing the epic opening song we all know and love, which you can hear for yourself in all its electronic glory below.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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