Kim De Klop created an Instagram page for her friends and family, but it quickly took off. It now has 111,000 subscribers.
But then, she’s no ordinary Instagrammer – she’s a pilot. And the photos she posts give her followers a glimpse into her incredible life as a top-flight globetrotter.
Belgian Kim is only 27 years old and, destroying the stereotype of the “stupid blonde”, flies Boeing 747s to the United States and China. type of plane she uses in her Instagram account, @ 737pilotgirl.
Kim De Klop, 27, pilot Boeing 747 cargo planes for Challenge Aircargo. She posted this photo of herself in the cargo hold of one of the 747s she was about to pilot with the caption “It’s time to load this beauty – how much do you think we can carry? “
Kim’s Instagram caption for the left photo reads: ‘Are you actually listening to the pilot’s speech? To be honest, I still feel uncomfortable doing it!’ In the Instagram caption of the photo on the right, taken at the age of 22, she says: “Every time I open my IG account, I am so grateful for what has happened to me! First officer on a 737 and more than 80,000 people following my travels through Europe! Thanks to all the people who give me good vibes like this! ‘
She is now sponsored by luxury watch company Breitling and is offered her choice of watch – worth up to £ 8,000 – in exchange for monthly Instagram posts showing the watch.
Despite her years of experience in the job, Kim says people often don’t expect someone like her to fly airplanes.
She said, “Often,” are you a member of the cabin crew? Is the first question people ask me.
“And when I say I’m a pilot, they ask me if I really fly the plane.
“I am proud to be a woman in this industry. Proud to be one of the five percent of women who fly around the globe. ‘
Kim decided she wanted to be a pilot when she was 19 and immediately took the plunge.
She spent two years training in Romania, posting her first selfie from the cockpit of the 737 Blue Air in September 2015.
Despite her years of experience in the job, Kim says people often don’t expect someone like her to fly airplanes. She said, “Often,” are you a member of the cabin crew? “Is the first question people ask me.” This image was taken in the United States on the flight deck of a 747
Kim reveals this photo was the first photo of herself as a 737 pilot, taken while flying for Romanian low-cost airline Blue Air
Kim started her pilot training when she was just 19
In 2017, she left Blue Air, publicly thanking the carrier “for being the one who gave me the chance to fly the 737 at age 21”. She added, “I’m leaving with my head full of incredible memories.”
Then she landed a job at Norwegian, announcing the move on Instagram with a selfie in her new uniform and a caption that read “new life, new style.”
The image has been liked over 10,000 times.
After joining Norwegian, Kim was posted to Alicante, where she would be based. With properties cheaper than in her native Belgium, Kim immediately invested in her own house near the airport.
As if things couldn’t be more perfect, upon arriving at base Kim met William, a handsome pilot-in-training from Norwegian Airlines.
The couple started dating and William quickly moved in. “It came naturally because we were friends initially,” Kim says.
Kim is a co-pilot, also known as a plane’s co-pilot, so she flies with a captain and her cabin crew.
Kim posted this image on Instagram shortly after joining Norwegian from Blue Air. She captioned it “new life, new style”
The photo on the left was taken on a flight to Barcelona, when Kim had just 11,000 followers on Instagram. During her three years with Norwegian Airlines, Kim flew ten days a month between Alicante, where she settled, and Scandinavia.
Kim took this incredible image when she first flew over Bergen, Norway, at the age of 23. In an accompanying caption, she explained how the pilot band system works, writing: “When I was flying for Blue Air, I had my three bands right off the bat, which means you’re a co-pilot. in Norwegian it’s different. You earn your stripes by increasing your flying hours on the note you fly. So in Norwegian you can have a co-pilot with one, two or three stripes. They all have the same responsibilities in cockpit as co-pilot One band means you have less than 500 hours on the 737, two bands mean you have less than 2,000 hours on the 737, three bands mean you have over 2,000 hours on the 737 and finally, as most people know, four bands means you’re a captain ‘
A stunning photo of Kim posted on Instagram from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
During his three years with Norwegian Airlines, Kim flew ten days a month between Alicante and Scandinavia. She was a short haul pilot who for Kim was “almost like a normal job” as she would be back home in Alicante in the evening to spend time with William.
During her 20 days off per month, Kim spent time swimming, socializing with friends, and hitting the gym.
But Covid struck in 2019, and commercial flights have been halted. Kim and William were both put on leave and after months of the ban decided to switch.
Kim, pictured here in Sicily, made the decision to switch to cargo planes after being put on leave
The 747s piloted by Kim now weigh 400 tonnes, much more than the 80-tonne 737s she previously flew. She is pictured right “taking her unicorn for a test flight”
Kim is sponsored by luxury watch company Breitling and is offered her choice of watch – worth up to £ 8,000 – in exchange for monthly Instagram posts showing the watch. This photo was taken in Gran Alacant, Spain
They both became cargo pilots for Challenge Aircargo, which involved long-haul flights – and Kim was getting to grips with a brand new aircraft.
She now flies huge Boeing 747-400s – known in the aviation industry as the queen of the skies.
They weigh around 400 tonnes compared to the 80-tonne 737s Kim was used to.
“It was so scary at first,” Kim said. But she quickly got used to the new models and flying a freighter has its advantages.
Kim posted this photo of the approach to Antalya Airport in Turkey on Instagram with the caption “Look at this … the runway, the sea, the waterfall … And some people don’t understand why we are are pilots, seriously … “
Kim reveals that the image on the left shows “clouds rolling over Bucharest … most commonly seen on the leading edge of a thunderstorm, cold front, or squall line [a line of thunderstorms]’. The incredible photo on the right was taken using an ‘automatic photo function’ as it approached Corfu airport
Kim is pictured here in Spain’s Sierra de Bernia mountain range ‘making the most of my free time’
With Challenge, Kim visited faraway cities like New York, Atlanta, Houston, and even Wuhan.
When she first lands in a new location, Kim makes sure to have her photo taken because, she says, “all I can think about after a flight is taking off my uniform” .
She then explores the city on foot because “it’s the best way to discover a city and all the restaurants that you might not find on the Internet”.
Kim gets along well with her captains and crew and often spends evenings trying out new restaurants and bars with them before returning to her hotel for the night.
With a generous corporate allowance for outside dining and her hotel accommodation, Kim is able to make the most of what the destination has to offer.
Despite all the cities Kim has seen, New York has been her favorite – and has visited the Big Apple eight times since she started flying on long-haul flights in March.
“When I get to border control in New York, they all recognize me! Kim said.
Even though she enjoys her adventures in different cities, Kim says she misses the routine of short-haul flights.
If she ever wanted to return to Norwegian – and this time sit in the left seat as a captain – she would need to rack up more hours, as pilots’ career progression is based on hours flown.
She currently has 3,500 hours, but it would take 4,000 to be a Norwegian captain.
Her boyfriend has 2,500, which means she could become a captain before William.
“We laugh about it,” Kim says.