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Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain: Did I inspire Bruce Dickinson to fly Ed Force One?

Nicko McBrain says he might have been the inspiration behind Iron Maiden bandmate Bruce Dickinson flying their tour plane Ed Force One

Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain says he might have been the inspiration behind frontman Bruce Dickinson becoming pilot of the band’s plane, Ed Force One.

And he wouldn’t mind a go at the controls himself – if he’s ever allowed.

He won a pilot’s license in the 1980s, but hasn’t flown an aircraft in several years. Dickinson took up his own training in the 1990s and later worked as a commercial flight captain, before learning to manage the Boeing 747-400 used as Ed Force One on their The Book Of Souls world tour.

McBrain tells MusicFeeds: “I’ve got a twin-ray license, a multi-engine rating. The last time I flew was about 10 years ago – that was with Bruce, funnily enough.

“I pretty much did it to prove that I could, you know. I think Bruce was partially inspired by that. His mindset was that if the drummer could do it, he could!”

He continues: “I’ve been up the front of Ed Force One, but I haven’t had a go yet. I’m going to see if I can finagle something when we don’t have all the crew with us.

“I’m saying that, of course, but I have no idea if I’m allowed to do any of this. I hope so!”

And the drummer has warm words about his colleague’s flying ability: “He’s phenomenal,” McBrain says. “He’s just a little guy, but he faces down a 400-tonne aeroplane and fires it up. He does a remarkable job of it too. He shoots these incredibly smooth landings.

“I’m sick of it, actually – it’s too good! He’s loving it.”

McBrain recently told how Dickinson’s cancer battle had inspired him to stop drinking. Iron Maiden’s world tour continues until August and includes a headline appearance at the Download festival at Donington on June 12.

From the archive

Iron Maiden tour dates 2016

Apr 24: Beijing LeSports Center, China
Apr 26: Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena, China
Apr 29: Christchurch Horncastle Arena, New Zealand
May 01: Aucklane Vector Arena, New Zealand
May 04: Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Australia
May 06: Sydney Allphones Arena, Australia
May 09: Melbourne Rod Laver Arena, Australia
May 12: Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Australia
May 14: Perth Arena, Australia
May 18: Cape Town Grand Arena, South Africa
May 21: Johannesburg Carnival City, South Africa
May 27: Dortmund Rock Im Revier Festival, Germany
May 29: Munich Rockavaria Festival, Germany
May 31: Berlin The Waldbuehne, Germany
Jun 03: Lucerne Sonisphere Allmend Rockt, Switzerland
Jun 05: Rock In Vienna Festival, Austria
Jun 08: Arnhem Gelredome, Netherlands
Jun 10: Paris Download Festival, France
Jun 12: Donington Download Festival, UK
Jun 15: Oslo Telenor Arena, Norway
Jun 17: Gothenburg Ullevi Stadium, Sweden
Jun 19: Dessel Graspop Metal Meeting, Belgium
Jun 21: Herning Jyske Bank Boxen, Denmark
Jun 23: Kaunas Zalgirio Arena, Lithuania
Jun 25: Moscow Olimpiyskiy, Russia
Jun 29: Hameenlinna Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto, Finland
Jul 01: Sopron Volt Festival, Hungary
Jul 03: Wroclaw Stadium, Poland
Jul 05: Prague Eden Arena, Czech Republic
Jul 06: Zilina Airport, Slovakia
Jul 09: Viveiro Resurrection Festival, Spain
Jul 11: Lisbon MEO Arena, Portugal
Jul 13: Madrid Barclaycard Center, Spain
Jul 16: Barcelona Rock Fest
Jul 22: Milan Mediolanum Forum, Italy
Jul 24: Rome Rock in Rome Sonisphere, Italy
Jul 26: Trieste Piazza dell'Unita D'Italia, Italy
Jul 27: Split Spaladium Arena, Croatia
Aug 02: Esch-sur-Alzette Rockhal, Luxembourg
Aug 04: Wacken Open Air, Germany

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