Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain: Did I inspire Bruce Dickinson to fly Ed Force One?

nicko mcbrain
Aces high? Nicko McBrain
(Image: © Getty)

Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain says he might have been the inspiration behind frontman Bruce Dickinson becoming pilot of the band’s plane, Ed Force One.

And he wouldn’t mind a go at the controls himself – if he’s ever allowed.

He won a pilot’s license in the 1980s, but hasn’t flown an aircraft in several years. Dickinson took up his own training in the 1990s and later worked as a commercial flight captain, before learning to manage the Boeing 747-400 used as Ed Force One on their The Book Of Souls world tour.

McBrain tells MusicFeeds: “I’ve got a twin-ray license, a multi-engine rating. The last time I flew was about 10 years ago – that was with Bruce, funnily enough.

“I pretty much did it to prove that I could, you know. I think Bruce was partially inspired by that. His mindset was that if the drummer could do it, he could!”

He continues: “I’ve been up the front of Ed Force One, but I haven’t had a go yet. I’m going to see if I can finagle something when we don’t have all the crew with us.

“I’m saying that, of course, but I have no idea if I’m allowed to do any of this. I hope so!”

And the drummer has warm words about his colleague’s flying ability: “He’s phenomenal,” McBrain says. “He’s just a little guy, but he faces down a 400-tonne aeroplane and fires it up. He does a remarkable job of it too. He shoots these incredibly smooth landings.

“I’m sick of it, actually – it’s too good! He’s loving it.”

McBrain recently told how Dickinson’s cancer battle had inspired him to stop drinking. Iron Maiden’s world tour continues until August and includes a headline appearance at the Download festival at Donington on June 12.

Iron Maiden share Ed Force One cockpit video

Iron Maiden tour dates 2016

Apr 24: Beijing LeSports Center, China
Apr 26: Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena, China
Apr 29: Christchurch Horncastle Arena, New Zealand
May 01: Aucklane Vector Arena, New Zealand
May 04: Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Australia
May 06: Sydney Allphones Arena, Australia
May 09: Melbourne Rod Laver Arena, Australia
May 12: Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Australia
May 14: Perth Arena, Australia
May 18: Cape Town Grand Arena, South Africa
May 21: Johannesburg Carnival City, South Africa
May 27: Dortmund Rock Im Revier Festival, Germany
May 29: Munich Rockavaria Festival, Germany
May 31: Berlin The Waldbuehne, Germany
Jun 03: Lucerne Sonisphere Allmend Rockt, Switzerland
Jun 05: Rock In Vienna Festival, Austria
Jun 08: Arnhem Gelredome, Netherlands
Jun 10: Paris Download Festival, France
Jun 12: Donington Download Festival, UK
Jun 15: Oslo Telenor Arena, Norway
Jun 17: Gothenburg Ullevi Stadium, Sweden
Jun 19: Dessel Graspop Metal Meeting, Belgium
Jun 21: Herning Jyske Bank Boxen, Denmark
Jun 23: Kaunas Zalgirio Arena, Lithuania
Jun 25: Moscow Olimpiyskiy, Russia
Jun 29: Hameenlinna Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto, Finland
Jul 01: Sopron Volt Festival, Hungary
Jul 03: Wroclaw Stadium, Poland
Jul 05: Prague Eden Arena, Czech Republic
Jul 06: Zilina Airport, Slovakia
Jul 09: Viveiro Resurrection Festival, Spain
Jul 11: Lisbon MEO Arena, Portugal
Jul 13: Madrid Barclaycard Center, Spain
Jul 16: Barcelona Rock Fest
Jul 22: Milan Mediolanum Forum, Italy
Jul 24: Rome Rock in Rome Sonisphere, Italy
Jul 26: Trieste Piazza dell’Unita D’Italia, Italy
Jul 27: Split Spaladium Arena, Croatia
Aug 02: Esch-sur-Alzette Rockhal, Luxembourg
Aug 04: Wacken Open Air, Germany