IRON MAIDEN's BRUCE DICKINSON Reflects On Iconic Boeing 747 Plane Before Final Aircraft Is DeliveredJanuary 29, 2023
IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson, who flew his group around the world in their customized jumbo jet dubbed Ed Force One, named after MAIDEN's iconic mascot Eddie, has commented on the news that the last Boeing 747 has rolled off the assembly line, marking the end of an iconic aircraft program that revolutionized air transport more than 50 years ago.
"On the ground it's stately, it's imposing," Bruce told Reuters. "And in the air it's surprisingly agile. For this massive airplane, you can really chuck it around if you have to."
Dickinson, who also chairs aviation maintenance firm Caerdav, added: "The 747 is the most beautiful and easy plane to land … It's just like landing an armchair."
The final airplane, a 747-8 Freighter, will be delivered next week to Atlas Air. It is the 1,574th manufactured during 55 years of production.
A year ago, Bruce told the Associated Press that he would not be sitting in the pilot's seat when he and his bandmates returned to the road in 2022. "Oh, no, no, no, no," he said. "We're going to be flying and I'm going to be in the back. Hey, look, I'm 63 — I'm 64 in August [of 2022]. You know, when you get to 65, if you're an airline pilot, they just take you out the back and shoot, right? So, I'm going to be sitting in the back being the backseat driver."
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 and the rest of IRON MAIDEN will embark on "The Future Past Tour" later this year. The trek will feature previously unperformed songs from the band's most recent studio album, "Senjutsu", along with a focus on 1986's iconic "Somewhere In Time" record, plus other classic cuts.
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