Rock legend pays a flying visit to Henlow

Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson at RAF Henlow.
Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson at RAF Henlow.

A rock legend paid a flying visit to RAF Henlow, before stepping on stage to sing to a crowd of thousands.

Iron Maiden’s frontman Bruce Dickinson flew into Henlow on route to his headline set at the Sonisphere festival in Knebworth.

Bruce flies as part of The Great War Display Team, as well as being a Boeing 757 captain.

He said: “We are basing out of Henlow this weekend with The Great War Display Team doing a commemorative display over the crowds at Knebworth where I just happen to be doing a bit of singing.”

The team reenacts First World War air battles at airshows across the UK.

Iron Maiden has sold millions of albums and played more than 2,000 gigs.

Bruce flies a replica of a 1917 Fokker triplane, one of the most iconic aircraft in the First World War, which marks its centenary this year.

The replica plane was built by the late John Day who was sadly killed in a flying accident. He was part of the display team and flew a Fokker ‘Eindecker’.

Bruce explained: “We managed to keep the aircraft in the UK and in the team after much interest from overseas.

“We will also be displaying at Farnborough for their three public days, Duxford and of course the RAF Henlow friends and families day at this beautiful airfield, which is just perfect for it.”

And comparing the thrill of flying to standing in front of thousands of screaming fans he said: “There is always the option of walking off stage but you simply can’t do that 10,000 feet up in the air, the challenge is immense.

Bruce Dickenson learned to fly recreationally in Florida in the 1990s and now holds an airline transport pilot’s licence.

He regularly flew Boeing 757s in his role as captain for the now-defunct UK charter airline Astraeus.

His role as a pilot has led to some high-profile flights, which include returning a group of British RAF pilots from Afghanistan in 2008, flying 200 UK citizens from Lebanon during the Israel/Hezbollah conflict in 2006, and flying home 180 stranded holiday makers from Egypt following the collapse of XL Airways UK in September 2008.

He also piloted Rangers FC and Liverpool FC to away matches, and has piloted Iron Maiden’s chartered Boeing 757, dubbed “Ed Force One”, specially converted to carry the band’s equipment between continents.