Last updated: 06:00 PM ET, Wed September 02 2015

Iron Maiden to Fly Giant Boeing 747 During Upcoming World Tour

Entertainment | Donald Wood | September 02, 2015

Iron Maiden to Fly Giant Boeing 747 During Upcoming World Tour

Rendering courtesy of Iron Maiden

When heavy metal pioneers Iron Maiden set out on their world tour in 2016, lead singer Bruce Dickenson will pull double duty as pilot of the massive Boeing 747-400 that will take the band to concerts in 35 different countries.

The plane will visit six of the seven continents and will travel an estimated 55,000 miles total. (The trip will hopefully go better than one of Dickenson's previous flights).

The tour will be in support of Iron Maiden’s new studio album The Book of Souls—the band’s first new record in five years—and the extra room provided by the Boeing 747 will ensure everything for the concerts can be carried on one aircraft.

During the band’s previous two world tours, Dickenson had taken the helm of two Boeing 757 airplanes, but the 747 dwarfs the previous planes in size and speed. The new aircraft—dubbed Ed Force One after the band’s iconic mascot Eddie—will transport the band, all of the crew members and over 12 tons of equipment and stage props much easier thanks to its massive size.

Dickenson released a statement to about the new plane and how he is learning to fly an aircraft that big before the world tour begins:

“When the opportunity arose from my friends at Air Atlanta Icelandic to lease a 747 for The Book of Souls World Tour, of course we jumped at the chance, who wouldn’t? The greatest benefit of travelling in a 747 is that because of its colossal size and freight capacity we can carry our stage production and all our stage equipment and desks in the cargo hold without having to make any of the immense structural modifications needed to do this on the previous 757, the extent of which fans will have noted on the Flight 666 DVD. Although in reality we cannot carry much more gear the savings in complexity, time and cost make using the 747 even more practical. All we will need to do is “paint” it and move a few seats around, with the added advantage that there is much more room for band and crew – our Krew can almost get a row of seats each to catch up on sleep on the flights! Furthermore, it is marginally faster 0.85 MACH and the range of around 7000NM (13,000 km) is much greater which means we will not have to make the refueling stops we needed to with the 757.”

“However, even though we have worked out the logistics of taking a plane of that immense size out on tour, I still have to learn to fly it before we can go anywhere! So, I’m currently doing my training to qualify as a pilot and Captain on a Boeing 747.  I’m doing this at Cardiff Aviation, my aircraft maintenance facility in Wales, where we recently took possession of a rather splendid 747 simulator which I can’t wait to get practicing on!”

While it’s unusual to see the lead singer of a band also act as the pilot of the tour plane, this is Dickenson we’re talking about, one of the most energetic and entertaining front men in all of music.

Dickenson learned to fly in the 1990s and has been a pilot ever since, operating small aircrafts and larger planes like the ones flown by the band in recent years. As he even admitted, though, this is a huge airplane and he needs to train to fly it.


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