The start of Iron Maiden’s 2008 world tour is still weeks away, but the group’s airplane transport has already taken flight.
Decorated with the Iron Maiden logo and artwork of the band’s mascot, Eddie, the specially converted and customized Astraeus Boeing 757 jet is currently flying around Africa and parts of the Middle East. It will begin transporting Iron Maiden, their 60-strong crew and 12 tons of equipment on January 30, when the band kicks off its massive 2008 world tour.
As for the pilot, it will be none other than Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who is a qualified airline captain flying for Astraeus Airlines. The mission will see Dickinson and the band log more than 50,000 miles.
Says Dickinson, “We had the idea last year of converting a jumbo jet into effectively what would be a flying 113-ton ‘splitter bus’ for touring, and we have been working seriously on it ever since. It’s pretty complex, but in the end we were able, with a lot of help from Astraeus Airlines, to overcome all the technicalities of customizing the plane for our purposes.”
In addition to its standard storage holds, the jet has a customized hold created by removing the last 10 rows of seats. Dickinson says, “By taking band, personnel and equipment in one form of transport, it makes all the touring so much easier and overcomes the logistical difficulty of people and equipment going in different planes.
“We will be packing as much of the show into the plane as we possibly can for this first leg and intend to give the fans something very special to remember. And it allows me to combine two of my greatest passions: music and flying!”