Rocking the 747-8 simulator

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.


Comments (13)

Pat (Kansas City):

Oh my! Great story about one of my favorite groups of all time. I am glad to see Bruce is a Boeing fan.

Howard (Bothell, WA):

Thank you for sharing that! I knew that Bruce flew Ed Force One but didn't realize he is such an avgeek and had a commercial rating. That's awesome! Since Ed Force One is essentially a charter, and the 757 is a commercial a/c, is he required to have commercial rating?
Great Video too!

Jens (Dubai, UAE):

Bruce used to be a full time pilot (757 Captain) with Astraeus Airline, a charter and wet lease airline in the UK. Bruce took a leave of absence when he went on tour with Iron Maiden; on the last tour they decided it would be a great promotion gig for both Astraeus/Iron Maiden when they chartered an Astraeus plane and have Bruce fly it.

Astraeus recently went bankrupt and left all their pilots (Bruce included) looking for jobs. Looks like having a backup job as a heavy metal singer might be a good thing for an airline pilot...

Rob (Vancouver, Canada):


I think the "Bruce" skit you are thinking of is from Monty Python.

This proves that Boeing fans come from every walk of like. You never know who is going to show up, much to your surprise!


Rob (Vancouver, Canada):


Just played the SNL skit and it all came back.
Being a Python fame my first thougt was their skit with all the Aussie Bruces.

You can cancel my previous posting if you want.


Dan (Torrance, CA):

Just saw Bruce in concert Friday night. Love the fact he's an airline buff. Check out Iron Maiden's Flight 666 DVD for more awesome footage of Bruce flying the Ed Force 1 757.

Norman (Long Beach, CA):

These new generations of flight simulator looks absolutely realistic, even on the sides one can see the projection. It is not often that you see rockstars who are also aviators who fly big planes.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

That's incredible, think I read of both separately at some point - really cool see them together! Nice post.

David S (New Orleans LA):

We call this the Boeing effect.

Eddie (Poland):

Iron Maiden - best band ever :)

John Perry:

Thank you for the outstanding posts

Todd (Houston):

Just saw Maiden in Houston Saturday. Awesome!!

Jet (UK):

Oh man reading this and seeing the video has really made my day! I've been a musician and Iron Maiden fan for years and recently took an active interest in commercial aviation. I found out about Dickenson being an airline pilot a couple of years ago around the time of the 666 tour and thought that the combination of musician and aviator was soooooooo cool! I wish I could be like him.

Up The Irons!

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