20th February 2016

iron maiden
Ed Force One takes off from Cardiff on Friday morning.

The most ambitious tour in the history of music, let alone rock and Metal is underway. The Book Of Souls World Tour began when Iron Maiden's Ed Force took off from Cardiff Airport on Friday morning UK time and landed at Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood International Airport some hours later.

Maiden used a 757 on the Somewhere Back In Time World Tour in 2008 and The Final Frontier World Tour in 2011 but this time around they have taken it all one step further and are using a 747-400, with impressive dimensions of 70.7m (232ft) length, 19.4m (63.6ft) height and a jaw-dropping wing span of 64.4m (211ft). This double-decker aircraft has a range of 13,450km (7,262nm) and is the world's most recognizable airliner on account of its distinctive hump.

Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson is the pilot having learnt to fly the aircraft late last year, just weeks after recovering from successful cancer treatment.

iron maiden
Ed Force One. A glorious thing.

Bruce commented when it was first announced that the band would tour in a 747: "When the opportunity arose from my friends at Air Atlanta Icelandic to lease a 747 for The Book of Souls World Tour, of course we jumped at the chance. Who wouldn't?

"The greatest benefit of travelling in a 747 is that because of its colossal size and freight capacity we can carry our stage production and all our stage equipment and desks in the cargo hold without having to make any of the immense structural modifications needed to do this on the previous 757, the extent of which fans will have noted on the 'Flight 666' DVD.

"Although in reality we cannot carry much more gear the savings in complexity, time and cost make using the 747 even more practical. All we will need to do is paint it and move a few seats around, with the added advantage that there is much more room for band and crew — our crew can almost get a row of seats each to catch up on sleep on the flights!

"Furthermore, it is marginally faster, 0.85 MACH and the range of around 7000NM (13,000 km) is much greater which means we will not have to make the refueling stops we needed to with the 757."

Bruce made a "text book" landing in Fort Lauderdale yesterday on his maiden voyage in this beast of an aircraft and here's the complete approach and landing on video.

Maiden will be using Ed Force One right around the world as usual but also including the first few shows in Europe, making this the first time EF1 has visited Europe on tour.

However after the Swedish show at Gothenburg Ullvei Stadium on June 17th they'll be reverting to the traditional truck and bus touring methods as logistically this makes much more sense considering the lesser distances involved and airport parameters.

Bruce gave a press conference just after landing in Fort Lauderdale and he is clearly incredibly upbeat, and rightly so, as you can see in the video.

Click here for Chris Dale's first hand account of the early days of Bruce Air. It's an eye-opener...

'The Book Of Souls' was Iron Maiden's sixteenth studio album and was released in September 2015. It topped the album charts in 24 countries and earned the band their fifth UK No. 1. Click here for MetalTalk's review.

The Book Of Souls World Tour kicks off in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday and carries on until August with shows in 35 countries across six continents, which will include their debut performances in El Salvador and China. The tour ends at Wacken Festival in August.

Support acts are The Raven Age throughout the tour, Anthrax in Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, Ghost in Berlin, Norway and Denmark and Opeth in Sweden.

iron maiden

Wed 24: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Fri 26: Tulsa, OK, USA
Sun 28: Las Vegas, NV, USA

Tue 1: Monterrey, MEXICO
Thu 3: Mexico City, MEXICO
Fri 4: Mexico City, MEXICO
Sun 6: San Salvador, EL SALVADOR
Tue 8: San Jose, COSTA RICA
Fri 11: Santiago, CHILE
Sun 13: Cordoba, ARGENTINA
Tue 15: Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Thu 17: Rio De Janeiro, BRAZIL
Sat 19: Belo Horizonte, BRAZIL
Tue 22: Brasilia, BRAZIL
Thu 24: Fortaleza, BRAZIL
Sat 26: Sao Paulo, BRAZIL
Wed 30: New York, USA

Fri 1: Montreal, QC, CANADA
Sun 3: Toronto, ON, CANADA
Tue 5: Detroit, MI, USA
Wed 6: Chicago, IL, USA
Fri 8: Edmonton, AB, CANADA
Sun 10: Vancouver, BC, CANADA
Mon 11: Tacoma, WA, USA
Wed 13: Denver, CO, USA
Fri 15: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Sat 16: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Wed 20: Tokyo, JAPAN
Thu 21: Tokyo, JAPAN
Sun 24: Beijing, CHINA
Tue 26: Shanghai, CHINA
Fri 29: Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND

Sun 1: Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Wed 4: Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
Fri 6: Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Mon 9: Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Thu 12: Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Sat 14: Perth, AUSTRALIA
Wed 18: Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA
Sat 21: Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA
Fri 27: Dortmund, GERMANY Rock Im Revier Festival
Sun 29: Munich, GERMANY Rockavaria Festival
Tue 31: Berlin, GERMANY

Fri 3: Lucerne, SWITZERLAND
Sun 5: Vienna, AUSTRIA Rock In Vienna Festival
Fri 10: Paris, FRANCE Download Festival
Sun 12: Donington, UK Download Festival
Wed 15: Oslo, NORWAY
Fri 17: Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Sun 19: Dessel, BELGIUM Graspop Metal Meeting
Tue 21: Herning, DENMARK
Thu 23: Kaunas, LITHUANIA
Sat 25: Moscow, RUSSIA
Wed 29: Hameenlinna, FINLAND

Fri 1: Sopron, HUNGARY Volt Festival
Sun 3: Wroclaw, POLAND
Wed 6: Zilina, SLOVAKIA
Sat 9: Viveiro, SPAIN Resurrection Festival
Mon 11: Lisbon, PORTUGAL
Wed 13: Madrid, SPAIN
Thu 14: Seville, SPAIN
Sat 16: Barcelona, SPAIN
Fri 22: Milan, ITALY
Sun 24: Rome, ITALY Rock In Rome Sonisphere
Tue 26: Trieste, ITALY
Wed 27: Split, CROATIA

Tue 2: Esch-sur-Alzette, LUXEMBOURG
Thu 4: Wacken, GERMANY Wacken Open Air



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