Kim De Klop set up an Instagram page to share photos with her family and friends. The account quickly gained popularity. Now she has over 111,000 followers.
However, she’s more than just another Instagrammer. She is also a pilot. She posts photos that give her followers an insight into her incredible, world-trotting high-flying life.
Belgian Kim, only 27, is a pilot who flies Boeing 747 cargo aircrafts to China and the USA. She began her commercial career at 21 with Romanian airline Blue Air, flying Boeing 737s.
Kim De Klop, 27, flies Boeing 747 cargo planes for Challenge Aircargo. With the caption “Time to load the beauty — how much are you willing to carry?” she posted the picture below of her in the cockpit of the 747 cargo plane that she was about to fly.
Kim posted the caption to her Instagram picture of the image on the right: “Does anyone actually listen?” It’s still something I feel awkward doing. In her Instagram caption, she writes: “Every time that I open my IG account, I am so thankful for all the things that happened to me!” My European trips were my first officer aboard a 737, and I was followed by more than 80,000 people! Thank you to everyone who gives me positive vibes such as this.
She is now sponsored by luxury watch company Breitling and given her choice of watch – worth up to an eye-watering £8,000 – in return for monthly Instagram posts showing off the timepiece.
Kim believes that despite having years of aviation experience, people are often surprised at someone with her appearance to be flying planes.
She says: ‘Often, “are you cabin crew?” is the first question people ask me.
They ask me “And when I tell them I’m a pilot, they want to know if the aircraft is actually mine.”
“I’m proud to be a female in this field. I am proud to belong among the five percent of women who fly around the world.
Kim, who was 19 years old, decided to become a pilot and began her training immediately.
After spending two years in Romania training, she posted her first 737 Blue Air flight deck selfie in September 2015.
Kim believes that, despite years of work experience, people aren’t likely to expect someone like Kim to fly airplanes. She says: ‘Often, “are you cabin crew?” is the first question people ask me’. This picture was taken on the flight deck for a 747 in the U.S.
Kim reveals that this shot was the first picture of her as a 737 pilot, taken while flying for Romanian low-cost airline Blue Air
Kim was 19 when she began her pilot training.
She left Blue Air in 2017 and publicly thanked the airline for giving her the opportunity to fly the Boeing 737 as a 21-year-old. Her final words were: “I’m going to be leaving with amazing memories.”
Next, she was offered a Norwegian job. She posted an Instagram photo in her new uniform, along with a caption reading “New life, New Style”
This image was liked more than 10,000 times.
Kim, who had joined Norwegian, was sent to Alicante as her base. Kim purchased a house near the airport, as it was much cheaper than those in Belgium.
Kim met William immediately upon her arrival at the base, an attractive pilot-in training for Norwegian airlines.
William moved in soon after the pair began dating. Kim reports that the relationship was natural since they had been friends at first.
Kim is also a co-pilot on an airplane, and so she flys with the captain and cabin crew.
Kim posted this image to Instagram shortly after she joined Norwegian from Blue Air. Kim captioned the image “new life, New Style”
Kim took the photo on the right during a flight from Oslo to Barcelona in 2016, when her Instagram followers were only 11,000. Kim flew ten times a month from Alicante to Scandinavia during her three-year tenure with Norwegian Airlines.
Kim, aged 23, took the amazing photo while she flew for the first-time over Bergen in Norway. She explained the system of pilot stripes in a caption. Norwegian has a different system. By increasing the flight hours you have on your rating, you can earn stripes. Norwegian has three types of copilots. Each one of them has the same responsibility in the cockpit, as copilot. You have less than 500 hours in the 737. If you have two stripes, you have less that 2,000 hours. A three-stripe 737 means you have more hours than the 737. And finally, you can have four stripes if you are captain.
Kim uploaded this amazing shot to Instagram from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Kim flew between Alicante, Scandinavia and Norway ten times a month during her three years at Norwegian airlines. Kim described her short-haul flight as a ‘normal job’ since she was back in Alicante by evening so that William could be with her.
Kim used her 20 days off per month to swim, meet friends, and go to the gym.
Covid was the next to strike in 2019. Commercial flying came to an abrupt halt. Kim and William both were put on furlough after being grounded for months.
Kim is pictured here, in Sicily. Kim made the choice to change to cargo aircrafts after being furloughed.
Kim’s new 747s weigh in at 400 ton, much more than the 80-ton Boeing 737s. Kim is pictured above taking her unicorn on a test flight.
Kim is sponsored by luxury watch company Breitling and given her choice of watch – worth up to an eye-watering £8,000 – in return for monthly Instagram posts showing off the timepiece. The picture was taken at Gran Alacant in Spain.
Challenge Aircargo made them both cargo pilots, and Kim was able to get used to a brand new plane.
Now, she flies huge Boeing 747-400s. She is known as the Queen of the Sky in the aviation industry.
The new 737s are 400 times heavier than the 80-ton 737s Kim is used to.
Kim said, “It was very scary at first.” She soon became accustomed to new models, and she discovered that flying cargo is a great way to get around.
Kim shared this image of Antalya Airport in Turkey’s Approach to Pilot to Instagram. Kim wrote: ‘Look here… runway, sea and waterfall…Some people don’t get why we are pilots.
Kim revealed that Kim was referring to the image on the left as “some roll cloud high above Bucharest…most often seen at the leading edge a storm, cold front, or squallline.” [a line of thunderstorms]’. The amazing picture on the right was taken using an ‘auto picture function’ on the approach to Corfu Airport
Kim was pictured in Spain’s Sierra de Bernia Mountain range “making the most out of my free time”
Kim was able to travel far-flung locations like New York, Atlanta and Houston with Challenge.
Kim takes her photo when she lands first in a foreign place. She says that after landing, all she can think of is taking off her uniform.
Then she explores the city on foot as it’s ‘the best way to see a place and find all the great restaurants that you won’t be able to find online’.
Kim enjoys getting along with her crew captains. She often visits new bars or restaurants with them, before going back to her hotel at night.
Kim can make the most out of the location thanks to a generous allowance from her company for food and lodging.
Kim’s favorite city, out of all the ones she’s seen, is New York. Kim visited it eight times in the 8 years since her first long-haul flight.
“They all know me when I go to New York’s border control!” Kim says.
Kim admits that she longs for the days of routine short-haul flight, even though she is enjoying new adventures and visiting different places.
To be allowed to go back to Norwegian, and to take the captain’s seat in the left-hand side of Norwegian aircraft, she will need to log more hours. Because pilots progress based on flying hours only, she must also accumulate hours.
She is currently able to fly 3,500 hours but needs 4,000 for a Norwegian captain.
She might be able to become captain before William because her boyfriend is worth 2,500.
‘We laugh about that,’ Kim says.