“Like an old dog or an old horse, gotta put it down.” Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson has stopped flying commercial jets

Bruce Dickinson onstage with Iron Maiden in 2023
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Power Trip)

Bruce Dickinson has stepped back from flying commercial jets.

The Iron Maiden frontman, 65, learned to fly aeroplanes in the 1990s and piloted his band’s Boeing 757, Ed Force One, during their 2008 and 2009 Somewhere Back In Time tour, but has now revealed the pursuit is “on permanent hold”.

“I just turned 65,” the singer told Triple M Rock in a new interview.

“In most jurisdictions in the world, if you’re a pilot – a commercial pilot – at 65, they sneak you round the back and just put a bullet in your brain. Like an old dog or an old horse, gotta put it down now. The last time I went near a commercial aircraft to fly it was in 2017.”

Dickinson later revealed that he continues to fence, a hobby he picked up in the mid-1980s during Maiden’s downtime after their year-long World Slavery tour.

“I’m still fencing,” he said. “I’m a veteran now.

“There’s a vets team and I still do Commonwealth championships. Being a vet is brilliant, actually, because all you have to do is survive and wait, and eventually everybody else will die, then you get in the team.”

When asked if he displays his fencing awards as proudly as his music awards, Dickinson answered: “Well the music awards didn’t hurt!

“I don’t have that many trophies – the trophies you get for fencing are sometimes a little bit rubbish anyway. I remember I did a couple things in England, a couple national competitions in the late ’80s, and it’s the two most innocuous gold medals. I’m like, ‘You know how hard we had to work to get those medals? Two pissy little medals!’ At the same time, I have this enormous cup thing from some competition down the road.”

Dickinson joined Maiden in 1981, replacing Paul Di’Anno. His first album with the band, The Number Of The Beast, was their first UK number one release. Dickinson left in 1993 to more fully pursue a solo career and was replaced by Blaze Bayley, but returned in 1999.

Maiden are currently promoting their 2021 album, Senjutsu, with the Future Past tour, where they play five songs from both the new release and 1986’s Somewhere In Time. The tour will hit Australia and New Zealand in September 2024.

Metal Hammer attended Iron Maiden’s Future Past show at the Power Trip festival in Indio, California, on October 6.

Writer Rich Hobson said in a four-star review: “Easy as it would have been for Maiden to come out, belt out some classics and ride off into the sunset, the fact the band have stuck to their guns – and delivered such a delightful spectacle – speaks volumes to their singular vision, even when stacked against legends setting a bar so high few could dare to touch, let alone top it.”

Dickinson will release his new solo album, The Mandrake Project, in early 2024. It will be his first solo effort since 2005’s Tyranny Of Souls.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.