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The 2 airplane types used by Iron Maiden as “Ed Force One”

Iron Maiden airplane ed force one


The 2 airplane types used by Iron Maiden as “Ed Force One”

During the last few decades it wasn’t common for a band to have their own airplane on the tour but Iron Maiden entered Rock history with “Ed Force One” especially because the band’s vocalist Bruce Dickinson was the pilot on most of their flights around the world during their tours.


Although many fans believe Iron Maiden bought “Ed Force One” and owned the plane it wasn’t exactly that. The group actually chartered the airplane from airline companies and used three different planes (two of the same type) in one decade. So Rock and Roll Garage compiled which are those two aircrafts and how much it would cost to actually buy them nowadays.

The 2 airplane types used by Iron Maiden as “Ed Force One”

“Somewhere Back in Time World Tour” and “The Final Frontier” tours (Boeing 757)

Built by the American company Boeing, the 757 was produced from 1981 to 2004. A little more than 1000 aircrafts of that type were produced. According to Simple Flying, a Boeing 757, in 2021, could be bought for an estimated amount of 3,58 million to 11.27 million dollars.

The first “Ed Force One” started to be used in 2008 and it was a Boeing 757. They rented from Astraeus, which was a British airline company based at Astraeus House in Crawley, West Sussex, England. That plane was adjusted for the configuration they needed and painted with their logotype and their mascot Eddie on the tail. The name “Ed Force One” was chosen by the fans online and of course, it’s a direct reference to the “Air Force One”, used by the president of the United States.

It was Bruce Dickinson’s idea

The idea to have an airplane where they could carry the entire crew, equipment and the band came from the vocalist Bruce Dickinson. During the 90s, the musician earned a pilot’s license and used to fly recreationally in Florida and later on even worked for Astraeus as a pilot.

The group would play during the “Somewhere Back in Time World Tour” in many places they had never been before. So it would be virtually impossible to make it work unless they had their own plane to carry everything and everyone.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2009 he explained the idea of using an airplane for their tours. “Being an aviation bloke, I thought to myself, ‘If you just chucked everything into one airplane you could do an almost European-type itinerary. But on inter-continental basis. When we finally got approval I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God. What have I done now? This is all going to be my fault if it all goes terribly wrong,” Bruce Dickinson said.

For the “Final Frontier” tour, which began in 2011, the band would use the same plane. However, they had to rent another Boeing 757 from Astraeus. Once again that plane was painted with their logo and with the mascot Eddie on its tail.

“The Book of Souls” tour (Boeing 747)

In 2016 when they toured again the band got a larger airplane, which was a Boeing 747. It had been used before by Air France before the Air Atlanta Icelandic bought that plane. At that time Astraeus had ceased their operations, so that’s why the group made a deal with another company.

Also built by Boeing, the 747 is bigger than the previous aircraft they used. It is one of the most used airplanes in the world and it was produced from 1970 to 2023. The company made more than 1500 planes of that type and according to Simple Flying, to buy a 747, you would need an estimated amount of 418.4 million dollars.

They customized that plane again with their logo and “The Book of Souls” artwork. But this time they also added the names of every city they would play during that tour. In a special video about that aircraft on Iron Maiden’s Youtube channel, Bruce Dickinson talked the 747.

“(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) This is stupendous. I mean, it’s the ultimate. I’m not sure how we could top this, certainly with an airplane painted up like this. It’s incredible. The airplane has the nickname, 747 ‘The Queen of the Skies’ and she really is.”

“(Customized with the band’s things) it blows the doors off every other airplane on the planet, honestly. If you wanted me to swap for ‘Air Force One’, I wouldn’t do it,” Bruce Dickinson said.

In 2022, Bruce said that due to his age he would no longer be the pilot of Maiden’s airplane. The reason was his age, since the mandatory pilot retirement age is in the United States, for example, is 65.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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