According to Mail Online, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson may have to return to music full-time after Astraeus Airlines, where he has worked for years as a senior pilot, was due to be placed into administration and had been ordered to cease operations with immediate effect.
Astraeus, which leases aircraft and cabin crew to airlines, has blamed “lower-than-expected levels of business” during the summer a lack of contracts for winter 2011-2012, and “some extremely bad luck with a number of technical issues,” for the failure.
The company’s chief executive, Hugh Parry, praised the team of pilots and behind-the-scenes staff who had worked for the airline. He said, “We battled hard to save Astraeus, but lower-than-expected levels of business during the summer of 2011, a lack of contracts for winter 2011-2012, and some extremely bad luck with a number of technical issues mean that we have no option but to cease all operations and put Astraeus Airlines in the hands of the administrators.
“Every effort has been made to ensure that any passengers affected already have or will be able to complete their journey.
“It is small comfort to those affected and impacted, I realise, but Astraeus comprised a fantastic team who did a fantastic job – quite possibly the best team in their aviation business sector.”
Dickinson flew IRON MAIDEN, its 60-member crew and 12 tons of equipment around the world on the band’s own customized Boeing 757, Ed Force One.
Ed Force One is named after MAIDEN’s infamous mummy mascot “Eddie.”
Dickinson told CNN.com in a 2007 interview, “Aviation’s been kicking around my family for as long as I can remember; my uncle was in the RAF. But I always thought I was too stupid. I was useless at maths and majored in history at university, so I thought history majors don’t become pilots, let alone rock stars. And then our drummer learned to fly so I said if a drummer can learn to fly then anyone can.”
He added, “I never dreamed I would end up flying an airliner. I ended up flying IRON MAIDEN around on tour in a little eight-seat, pressurized, twin-engine plane. Basically we were flying round all the world’s major airports, flew across the Atlantic and back, which was quite an adventure. At the end I thought I really want to fly something bigger, but I can’t afford it — I can’t buy my own 707. If I’m going to do that I have to get a job.”
On how the thrill of piloting a 757 compares to taking to the stage with MAIDEN:
“It’s a different kind of buzz. Obviously you aren’t leaping around the flight deck yelling and screaming, but you have to manage situations… Flying at 35,000 feet is an internal thing, really. Whereas 35,000 people, that’s just showing off.”
On whether he will be hanging up his leopard-skin spandex forever:
“I could never contemplate giving up music. I have to say I’ve always been interested in planes, the only difference is I started to fly the darn things 15 years ago. I don’t see why I should give up either of them. People say ‘Why do you need a second job?’ I say ‘Why do you need to breathe?'”