Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson to captain jumbo jet for band's 2016 world tour
Iron Maiden are to soar to new heights for their 2016 world tour, when singer Bruce Dickinson flies the group around in a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet.
The London-based heavy metal band - consisting of Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain and Janick Gers - will take to the skies as they embark on the Book Of Souls tour next February.
Licensed pilot Dickinson has been using a simulator as training at Cardiff Aviation, his aircraft maintenance facility in Wales, for a licence to fly the massive four-engine jet, nicknamed Queen of the Skies.
The aeroplane is almost twice the size and over three times the weight of the Boeing 757 used on Iron Maiden's previous tours in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
"When the opportunity arose from my friends at Air Atlanta Icelandic to lease a 747 for The Book Of Souls world tour, of course we jumped at the chance, who wouldn't?" the 57-year-old said.
"However, even though we have worked out the logistics of taking a plane of that immense size out on tour, I still have to learn to fly it before we can go anywhere! So, I'm currently doing my training to qualify as a pilot and captain on a Boeing 747."
He said the "greatest benefit" of travelling in a 747 is being able to transport all their equipment and crew.
"We're all really excited at the thought of bringing our brand new tour to fans who have never seen us play live before, and of course re-visiting all our old friends again too. You can rest assured we are all working hard to put together a spectacular show for our fans," Dickinson added.
Dates for the live shows, which will see the group covering six continents and stopping off in South America, Asia, Australia, South Africa and Europe, will be announced shortly.
The latest world tour, which will open in the US in late February and arrive in Europe in late May, follows the September 4 release of Iron Maiden's 16th album The Book Of Souls, their first new music in five years.