Maiden to tour world in new Ed Force One

Iron Maiden will tour the world next year in the biggest-ever Ed Force One, piloted by frontman Bruce Dickinson.

The band’s Book Of Souls world tour will see them play in 35 countries in 2016, aboard a Boeing 747-400. Dickinson is currently in training for his licence to fly the four-engine jet, which is much bigger and more powerful than previous versions of customised Maiden aircraft.

It’ll take the band, crew and over 12 tons of equipment more than 55,000 miles around the planet to concerts in Australasia, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Europe.

Exact details are being finalised and will be released in due course. The tour will open in the US in late February before heading to Mexico, and taking in by the band’s first ever show in El Salvador. Further Central and South American dates in Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile and Brazil are next, before a return to the US and Canada. April will see a trip to Japan followed by Maiden’s first ever shows in China, while May finds the band in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The tour will arrive in Europe in late May and continue until August.

Dickinson says: “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 greatest benefit of travelling in a 747 is that because of its colossal size and freight capacity we can carry our stage production and all our stage equipment and desks in the cargo hold without having to make any of the immense structural modifications needed to do this on the previous 757, the extent of which fans will have noted on the Flight 666 DVD.

“Although in reality we cannot carry much more gear the savings in complexity, time and cost make using the 747 even more practical. All we will need to do is “paint” it and move a few seats around, with the added advantage that there is much more room for band and crew – our Krew can almost get a row of seats each to catch up on sleep on the flights! Furthermore, it is marginally faster 0.85 MACH and the range of around 7000NM (13,000 km) is much greater which means we will not have to make the refuelling stops we needed to with the 757.

“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. I’m doing this at Cardiff Aviation, my aircraft maintenance facility in Wales, where we recently took possession of a rather splendid 747 simulator which I can’t wait to get practising on!

“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.”

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Full tour details will be announced territory by territory, starting in a few weeks’ time. Where possible, Fan Club members will have exclusive access to ticket pre-sales. Also, where feasible, the Fan Club will be running a First To The Barrier draw that provides early access to the venue to secure preferred standing positions.

Maiden’s 16th album The Book Of Souls is released on September 4. More detail on the Iron Maiden website.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.