IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson, a registered commercial pilot who owns Cardiff Aviation, tells Wales Online in a new 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 says. "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 recently 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 which has signed an agreement with the Djibouti government to help re-launch their national airline.
The Nottinghamshire-born singer has also relaunched interest in Zeppelin-like airships, having invested a reported £250,000 in the world's largest aircraft: a hybrid of a plane, balloon and hovercraft, the Airlander 10.
Asked by Lufthansa Magazin what is more exhausting, a long-distance flight or an IRON MAIDEN concert, Dickinson said: "They are both tiring, but in different ways. The physical element at the IRON MAIDEN show is the most tiring part. Your brain is so wired you can't sleep for about six hours. With flying, it is a very different kind of tired. You sit in a seat without any activity for nine or ten hours but your mind is exhausted because you've actually done a lot of high-concentration work at the beginning and end of the flight."
Regarding what the biggest contrast is between flying a plane and singing in a heavy metal band, Dickinson said: "Everything I do on stage is about exhibition, about putting on a show. Flying is completely the opposite, it is about the inside. You don't operate an airliner like the old aviators with a stick and rudder, you manage modern flights. What pilots really are, although it doesn't sound very sexy, are risk managers. Our job is to make the experience of flying undetectable to the passengers. When I was a pilot, I enjoyed that role because it was so different from my job in IRON MAIDEN."
IRON MAIDEN's "The Book Of Souls" tour resumes with a series of arena shows opening in Sportpalais, Antwerp, Belgium on April 22 and continuing into Germany, U.K. and Ireland, finishing with two sold-out shows at London's 02 arena on May 27 and May 28. The band then flies to the U.S.A for an extensive series of arena and amphitheater shows, including dates in Canada, ending with two nights in Brooklyn, New York on July 21 and July 22. This is the final leg of "The Book Of Souls" tour.