IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson recently spoke to Billboard magazine about his "second" job piloting 150-seat Boeing 737s for Astraeus Airlines in London.
Dickinson, a pilot (photo) for some 11 years, logged between 600 and 700 hours in the air for the company last year, regularly jetting back and forth from London to such locales as Egypt, Iceland and the former Soviet Union.
"When you're up at 41,000 feet at night, flying in the middle of Europe and you look down and you can see all these lights, and then you look up and you see more stars than you've ever seen before in your life, it's just amazing," he said. "You see the weather, you see thunder storms from hundreds of miles away. I get to see the best light show in the world."
Dickinson says his interest in flying picked up in the mid-'80s, after IRON MAIDEN drummer Nicko McBrain got his pilot's license. But it wasn't until 1992, when he spotted a sign at a Florida airport advertising flying lessons for $35, that things changed.
"In '93, when I left IRON MAIDEN for six years and embarked on a solo career, it did strike me that if the solo career didn't work out, I was going to be jobless," he said. "So I decided that I would go and do the airline pilot exams in Europe."
Although IRON MAIDEN have no plans of retiring anytime soon, the singer foresees a time when he'll be flying exclusively.
"When it gets to when IRON MAIDEN stops — which it will do eventually — I'm gonna have to do something until I'm 65," he said.
IRON MAIDEN's new album, "Dance of Death", is due on September 9 through Columbia Records.