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11th June 2016: 2.46pm

iron maiden
Picture courtesy of Loughborough Police

The Iron Maiden tour bus has just landed at East Midlands Airport where the band stepped onto English soil for the first time since February 19th when they set off on the mammoth Book Of Souls World Tour which began in Fort Lauderdale, USA.

Since then, Maiden have completed over half of what is possibly the most ambitious tour ever undertaken by any band, ever, and has included first-ever visits to China and El Salvador, the latter being officially named by the El Salvador government as the biggest event ever to have taken place in that country, with over 25,000 fans in attendance.

To date Maiden have visited 44 cities, crossed six continents and band, crew and entourage have consumed well over 10,000 bottles of Trooper Beer and occupied over 6,000 hotel rooms. In total Ed Force One will have travelled over 75,000 miles when the tour ends at Wacken on August 4th.

Article continues below...

While English football hooligans were rioting in Marseille last night (Friday 10th June 2016) Iron Maiden, an English export to be proud of, were rocking the masses at France's first ever Download Festival at Hippodrome de Longchamp in a show that was apparently "mindblowingly spectacular and totally unmissable."

Our good friend Paul Anthony of Planet Rock Radio said this morning: "What a great day yesterday at Download Festival France. The Mighty Iron Maiden were on top form, and if you've got a ticket for Download Festival at Donington tomorrow, you're in for a real treat!"

iron maiden
Ed Force One at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport just before taking off for Donington Airport. Yes, we know it's really called East Midlands. Picture courtesy of MCN Patrick (@Aeropat92)

Ed Force One took off from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport at precisely 13:50 UK time and arrived at the English Channel at 14:03 before touching our sceptred isle above Hastings just six minutes later at 14:09.

At 14:16 Maiden reached Croydon, south London, transitted over the capital and then over Luton at 14:20 and at 14:26 at an altitude of 14,450 feet and a ground speed of 350 knots, Bruce turned right heading 357 degrees and started the descent to East Midlands Airport, England.

The mighty machine passed over Leicester at 14:30 at an altitude of 7,500 feet before turning left heading 270 degrees at 3,750 feet parallel with Loughborough, just 19km away from Donington.

Bruce landed Ed Force One at precisely 14:37, just as Sixx:AM were playing 'When They Were Gods' on the Lemmy Stage. Weather and wind conditions prevented the aircraft from flying directly over the festival site.

Incidentally, the local Derby taxi firm servicing Download this weekend has a phone number that ends in 666.

Iron Maiden frontman and tour bus driver Bruce Dickinson said of Ed Force One: "It's such a beautiful airplane. This machine enables us to do a European itinerary on an intercontinental basis. It's our time machine — our magic carpet," and you can get a peak inside Ed Force One in this short video.

Iron Maiden, formed forty-and-a-half years ago on Christmas Day 1975, will be headlining Castle Donington for the sixth time tomorrow in what will be their only UK appearance this year.

They first performed there in 1988 at the legendary Monsters Of Rock festival, drawing a record-breaking crowd of 107,000 fans and again in 1992. The band then headlined the inaugural Download Festival on the site in 2003 and have also headlined the festival in 2007 and 2013.

Tomorrow (Sunday) promises to be one of the all time great Donington performances and we will be publishing our gig review very shortly after the band leave the stage.

Maiden take off again on Tuesday for Oslo where they continue the European leg of the Book Of Souls World Tour. The full remaining dates are at the bottom of this page.

iron maiden
How we tracked Ed Force One en-route to Download.

iron maiden
Unfortunately it was too cloudy to get any pictures of Ed Force One flying over the MetalTalk offices.

iron maiden
Final descent into East Midlands.

iron maiden
Landing at East Midlands.

iron maiden
Taxying at East Midlands.

iron maiden
Iron Maiden's first ever tour bus, The Green Goddess, circa 1978, and a young Dave Murray carrying his own equipment with then Maiden guitar roadie Pete Bryant.

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

Click here for Mark Taylor's first hand account of Maiden's very recent gig at Waldbühne Amphitheatre, Berlin...

"They dared to go where no one would try,
They chose to fly where eagles dare."

'Where Eagles Dare' from 'Piece Of Mind' 1983

Remaining Tour Dates:

Wed 15 Oslo, Norway Telenor Arena
Fri 17 Gothenburg, Sweden Ullevi Stadium
Sun 19 Dessel, Belgium Graspop Metal Meeting
Tue 21 Herning, Denmark Jyske Bank Boxen
Thu 23 Kaunas, Lithuania Zalgirio Arena
Sat 25 Moscow, Russia Olimpiyskiy
Wed 29 Hameenlinna, Finland Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto

Fri 1 Sopron, Hungary Volt Festival
Sun 3 Wroclaw, Poland Wroclaw Stadium
Tue 5 Prague, Czech Republic Eden Arena
Wed 6 Zilina, Slovakia Zilina Airport
Sat 9 Viveiro, Spain Resurrection Festival
Mon 11 Lisbon, Portugal MEO Arenav
Wed 13 Madrid, Spain Barclaycard Center
Thu 14 Seville, Spain Olimpic Stadium
Sat 16 Barcelona, Spain Rock Fest
Wed 20 Nyon, Switzerland Paleo Festival
Fri 22 Milan, Italy Mediolanum Forum
Sun 24 Rome, Italy Rock In Rome Sonisphere
Tue 26 Trieste, Italy Piazza Dellà Unita D'Italia
Wed 27 Split, Croatia Spaladium Arena
Sat 30 Bucharest, Romania Constitution Square

Tue 2 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg Rockhal
Thu 4 Wacken, Germany Wacken Open Air



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