BRUCE DICKINSON Says Some Commercial Pilots Have 'A Bad Attitude' And Are 'Potentially Dangerous'

January 23, 2024

During a January 16 question-and-answer event at St. Vitus in Brooklyn, New York, IRON MAIDEN's 65-year-old singer Bruce Dickinson, who flew his group around the world in their customized jumbo jet dubbed Ed Force One, confirmed that the Federal Aviation Administration retirement age for pilots is one of the reasons he is no longer in the pilot's seat when he and his bandmates are on the road.

"To be fair, it depends which country you're in," he told interviewer Joe DiVita of Loudwire about the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "So if you, for example, are a professional pilot, which is what we're talking about, because as long as you're reasonably competent, which is more competent than any of the present candidates for the president of the United States, as long as you're reasonably mentally competent, you can fly, as long as you can see straight and hear and things like that. So in, for example, Australia, there's no limit to what time you can be a commercial pilot. But you have to pass the same checks as all the young guys. You have to do the physical stuff the same. Your eyes have got to be up to snuff — not perfect, but you can have them corrected for vision and stuff like that."

He continued: "It's a tiring old job in the end. Now, some people, they just wanna go on and then, when they stop flying, they just kind of die. And it's true — a lot of airline pilots die within, like, five years of retirement. It's an incredible number. It's quite shocking, actually… They just spent their whole life doing it. And they are, like, 'What do I do now?' I mean, I always used to say when you get to a certain level in a career in aviation, 'cause everybody… As a professional pilot, everybody — probably; there are people that don't, but most everybody starts out going, 'I wanna be a captain' of whatever. I mean, nowadays it would be like an Airbus or something. Back in my day, everybody was, like, 'I wanna be a captain of a 747. Whoa. Yeah.' So you start off as a junior first. You get your licenses and everything, and then you have to get a job. Well, that's assuming you now get a job, you start off, you're the lowest of the low. You're a junior first officer. You jump through all the hoops, and gradually you go up. A lot of airlines are seniority based, but smaller airlines are based on a kind of meritocracy. If you you're smart and you're clever, you can advance quite quickly. So after three or four years, you could be up for doing an assessment to be a captain. But anyway, once you get to be a captain, and let's say you've done some other stuff, and you get to around about six or seven thousand hours of flight time, frankly, some guys are like — and girls, clearly, obviously, 'cause it's both — some people are, like, all I want to do for the rest of my life is exactly what I'm doing right now, and never stop that, never change. Boom. And there's nothing wrong with that. Some people are, like, 'Okay, I'm really bored. Actually, this job kind of sucks. It's not that difficult to do. Now that I got to the level that I'm at, I can do it in my sleep, and I just get abused by all these people, so, really, I'm just gonna be a grumpy fucking old grouch and take the money and growl at people.' Those are those are potentially dangerous pilots, 'cause they've got a bad attitude. And then there are other pilots who go, 'You know what? It's 10,000 hours. I kind of like flying but just doing the same 'Groundhog Day' every day. Maybe I should do something different. Maybe I should go part time. Maybe I should do some training. Maybe I should go into a bit of management. Maybe I should do a bit of this.' … And that's what happened to me, is I became a trainer and I was a ground school trainer. I was the chief technical pilot, the 757, 737. So I was training other pilots. I was in the simulator doing stuff. And the learning makes it interesting. But I could see there was this cutoff point where people would go either 'I want everything to be 'Groundhog Day', and that makes me really happy' or 'there's more to life than just doing this.' And there's other people that just sort of give up and go, 'Well, I can't do anything else, but I hate it,' and they stay with it, which is kind of sad. But you have those kind of choices. And I've observed it in a lot of pilots. 'Cause as a first officer, you fly with captains, and a lot of them have been around an awful long time. And some of them are fantastic — enthusiastic, cool. Others, just grumpy old sods and actually potentially dangerous because of it. So, you've gotta keep your eye on people."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),commercial pilots have to retire at age 65. There is currently no maximum age limit for being a private pilot or for being an Air Force pilot.

Dickinson gained a commercial pilot's license after learning to fly in the 1990s. In 2012 he set up Cardiff Aviation, an aircraft maintenance company which has since changed its name to Caerdav.

Bruce, who spent a few years flying planes for Astraeus Airlines, told CNN in a 2007 interview: "Aviation's been kicking around my family for as long as I can remember; my uncle was in the RAF. But I always thought I was too stupid. I was useless at maths and majored in history at university, so I thought history majors don't become pilots, let alone rock stars. And then our drummer learned to fly, so I said, 'If a drummer can learn to fly, then anyone can.'"

Dickinson told Wales Online 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."

Bruce's new solo album, "The Mandrake Project", will be released on March 1 via BMG. Bruce and his long-term co-writer and producer Roy "Z" Ramirez recorded the LP largely at Los Angeles's Doom Room, with Roy Z doubling up as both guitarist and bassist. The recording lineup for "The Mandrake Project" was rounded out by keyboard maestro Mistheria and drummer Dave Moreno, both of whom also featured on Bruce's last solo studio album, "Tyranny Of Souls", in 2005.

So St.Vitus Bruce Dickinson meet and great was great last night Thanks #BiglouDoomcrew for the heads up about the event

Posted by Andrew Riskin on Wednesday, January 17, 2024

With you Mr. Bruce Dickinson! Bruce Dickinson: The Mandrake Project Signing, Q+A


Posted by Eddie The Head Fan Club on Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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