Iron Maiden‘s Bruce Dickinson will take the helm onstage and in the air next year when the metal outfit embarks on a six-continent world tour, flying in a Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet piloted by the singer himself.
Dates and venues are still being finalized for the 2016 trek, which will be in support of the group’s upcoming double LP, The Book of Souls, out September 4th. Iron Maiden will kick off the tour in the United States in late February before flying to Mexico and Central America in early March, where they’ll perform their first concert in El Salvador. They’ll also hit South America that month before returning to the U.S. and Canada for shows through early April.
Next, Iron Maiden will cross the Pacific, where they’ll return to Japan and play China for the first time. Shows in New Zealand and Australia in early May will follow, followed by a trek to South Africa — marking Iron Maiden’s first concerts there with Dickinson — and extensive tour through Europe starting in late May and finishing in early August.
Ticket information will also be made available, by territory, in the coming weeks. Iron Maiden Fan Club members will have access to tickets before general sale, and, when possible, the Club will run a First to the Barrier draw to win early access to the venue.
The enormous Book of Souls tour finds Iron Maiden outdoing their own previous aerial excursions on a Boeing 757 during tours in 2008, 2009 and 2011. The 747-400 Jumbo Jet is more than twice the size of the 757 and can hold almost three times the cargo.
Iron Maiden are leasing the 747 through Air Atlanta Icelandic and Dickinson — an avid amateur pilot — is currently training for his license to fly the four-engine jet. In a statement, the singer gushed about the 747’s size and speed — “it is marginally faster o.85 MACH and the range of around 7000 [nautical miles] (13,000 km)” — and noted that the band plans to make a few internal modifications and give the jet a fresh paint job, featuring, of course, their famed mascot Eddie.
Fittingly, Iron Maiden have also rechristened the 747, naming the plane Ed Force One.