Though he was recently forced to make an emergency landing, nothing has deterred Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson from being airborne. The falsetto-crooning pilot has been known to fly his band around the world in the past, and up next he’s going for his biggest task yet. Next year, he’ll fly his band around the world in a Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet.
Iron Maiden are gearing up to release their forthcoming Book of Souls album next month, and they’ll spend much of 2016 travelling the globe in the enormous metal bird. While they’ve previously travelled in a Boeing 757, the new Jumbo Jet is nearly twice the size. In fact, Dickinson is currently upgrading his pilot license so he can navigate the machine.
“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,” Dickinson said in a press release. “Although in reality we cannot carry much more gear, the savings in complexity, time and cost make using the 747 even more practical…. 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 refuelling 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!”
Assuming Dickinson passes his aviation exam with, er, flying colours, Iron Maiden will hit the skies in 2016. They’ve got plans to perform in Australasia, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Europe, and you can expect to find Canadian tour dates taking place at the beginning of April.