BRUCE DICKINSON: How To Get Over Your Fear Of Flying

February 27, 2024

IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson, who is also a licensed commercial pilot, was asked during a new interview with Janne Innanfors of the Swedish radio station Rockklassiker if he had any advice for people who have a fear of flying. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Loads of people are nervous flyers — for perfectly valid reasons, 'cause if you're a nervous flyer, you're a nervous flyer. There's nothing to be ashamed about. It's just that flying is a part of the modern world. So, there are ways of trying to cope with it and deal with it and mitigate it and, in some cases, just eliminate it altogether. It just depends on what it is you're frightened of and how frightened you are and what steps you take to treat it, as it were. And mostly it's about just experience and education.

"There are lots of really great courses, fear-of-flying courses, that are run often by airlines," he continued. "British Airways do a very good one, which involves going into simulators and going into a mock-up airplane and having people explain exactly what that noise is, and why they do this, and why they do that, and why you have to raise your window shades, and why you have to clear all the crap away from your feet, and what happens when the oxygen masks drop — all that stuff. 'Cause it's not explained, really. It's just, like, 'Hey, do this, do this, do this.' But people ask, 'Why?' My wife is always, like, 'Why do I have to raise my window blind when we take off and [are] landing?' And I said, 'Because if there was a problem and the airplane was on fire, how would you know which side not to get out of if you can't see out through the window? 'So you could jump into a burning engine out of the emergency chute if you can't see what's outside; you can't see a hazard or anything else like that. So it's just common sense stuff that you don't think through. And that sounds really gruesome, but the point is that all of these things have come about because there have been accidents where hundreds of deaths could have been prevented by very simple precautions that have just ended up being part of the safety demo."

Dickinson added: "There was a terrible accident recently where a 787 landed on top of a — it was a Coast Guard airplane, I believe. I think it was — I'm gonna say it was Japan [or] it was Korea. But anyway, it was in the Far East. And, it was a 787 [that] landed on top of it. It shouldn't have been on the runway, but it was. And the airplane basically just burnt to the ground. Everybody survived that crash and got out, which is a testament to great training, no panic, and great, great crew training. So, there's some great stories of when it all goes right. And let's face it: air travel is still incredibly safe — way safer than getting in your motor car."

The fear of flying — otherwise known as aerophobia or aviophobia — reportedly affects 2.5 percent of the population by some estimates, while general anxiety about flying is far more common.

The National Safety Council puts the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident at one in 93 based on recorded deaths, whereas there was not enough data to even calculate the odds of dying in a plane crash.

An avid aviator, Dickinson worked as a pilot for the now-defunct Icelandic airline Astraeus.

Bruce told Wales Online in an interview that he still gets a thrill out of flying, but that it's a totally different sensation to playing live.

"The satisfaction flying airplanes is getting the job done, but the satisfaction with playing live is external, looking out at all the people looking at you," he said. "With an airliner, it's all internal. If you've got passengers, nobody goes, 'Wow! Wasn't that great?' They're thinking about the rest of their day. Your job as an airline pilot is to deliver them safely and be invisible. That's quite nice for me because it's completely the opposite to what I do when I sing."

Dickinson flew his band around the world in their plane dubbed Ed Force One, named after IRON MAIDEN's iconic mascot Eddie.

He gained a commercial pilot's license after learning to fly in the 1990s. In 2012 he set up Cardiff Aviation, an aircraft maintenance company.

Back in March 2019, Bruce was asked during a question-and-answer session in Utrecht, Netherlands what happens with a plane if all the engines stop working in mid-air. He responded: "Well… It depends. Do you want to know what happens if they continue to stop working? Because then I can tell you… That's the nice thing. When all the engines stop, then you realize that there are only two or three options. One of [the engines] is going to restart, or not. And if the answer is 'not,' then the next question is, 'Where are you going to land?' 'Cause that bit is a certainty. So, generally, if you have multiple engine failures on a two-engine airplane, the odds of it happening are near impossibility. But it has happened, and surprisingly, quite often, the outcome is pretty good, because as long as you control the airplane and you can land it somewhere sensible, then the outcome is pretty good. But the good news is that the chances of not restarting an engine, in the unlikely event of both of them failing, is very, very small as well. So, really, it's an almost-impossible event. It's so impossible that on the one or two occasions when it's happened, then it's been so well publicized, 'cause it's such an incredible story. The good thing is on the occasions that it has happened, most people who tell the story are people who walked away from the airplane that had that incident happen. In other words, they got a good outcome out of it. So, you're way, way, way better off sitting in an airliner than you are driving around in traffic — trust me. You're much safer, in my opinion."

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