My friends in the 747-8 program certainly know how to get me excited. Last fall, they brought in Steve Miller Band to help employees celebrate the delivery of the first 747-8 Freighter. So when they invited me to meet the lead singer of Iron Maiden during his recent visit to the 747-8 simulator, I jumped at the chance.
Hanging out with Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson. Gail Hanusa photo.
While you may know Bruce Dickinson for his music, you may not know that he's a huge aviation buff--and a huge fan of Boeing. Dickinson is a pilot with a commercial rating and recently launched an aviation services firm in the UK. He's also flown Iron Maiden in a Boeing 757 named 'Ed Force One' during their world tour.
Bruce with 'Ed Force One' (c) 2011 John McMurtrie. Iron Maiden LLP
Bruce has visited us before, and we love him for his aviation passion. But the 747 program also loves him for the fact that he shares his name with the 747-8 vice president and chief program engineer -- a Bruce Dickinson of our own (all these Bruces remind me of the great SNL skit). Since our engineer Bruce always wanted to meet his singer namesake-- and since the singer Bruce always enjoys talking about airplanes-- we brought the two together.
Getting ready to fly the 747-8 simulator. Gail Hanusa photo.
The two Bruce Dickinsons met up at our 747-8 simulator just outside Seattle and quickly learned they have a lot in common. They're both pilots--and Boeing's Bruce Dickinson even plays the drums.
The two Bruce Dickinsons inside the 747-8 simulator. Gail Hanusa photo.
Seated in the pilot's chair, the Iron Maiden star was more than comfortable as he flew the 747-8 flight simulator.
"I think it is a sensational airplane. It's truly the Queen of the Skies," said the Iron Maiden singer.
747-8 chief pilot Mark Feuerstein sat next to Dickinson in the flight deck.
"Bruce was right at home in the left seat of the 747-8," said Feuerstein.
Iron Maiden's lead singer with 747-8 chief pilot Mark Feuerstein. Gail Hanusa photo.
"The thing about aviation that I love, like music, is that it's about the people," said Dickinson. "The airplanes are wonderful but they're built by people, designed by people, flown by people."
Thanks to Bruce and Bruce for a fun afternoon that I'll always remember. We've also captured this special visit in the YouTube video below.