The retirement of Pope Benedict XVI came as a surprise to Catholics around the world, and his retirement ceremony will likely be full of pomp and circumstance, broadcast live around the world.
But it's less well known that when the Pope flies off into retirement aboard the papal helicopter ... he wouldn't necessarily have to be sitting in the back waving. He could be up front in the cockpit flying the aircraft himself.
Information from the "Fun Facts" section of the Catholic News Agency website indicates that "Pope Benedict XVI has a pilot's license for the papal helicopter and likes to fly from the Vatican to the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, but the pope does not have a driver's license as he never learned to drive a car." The website Snoring Scholar also indicates that the pope is licensed to fly single-engine airplanes.
The New York Times reports that Pope Benedict XVI has enjoyed flying the papal helo from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo, but for this retirement flight, he'll be a passenger.