British heavy metal legends IRON MAIDEN have posted photos of their new-and-improved branded private tour plane after it landed at the airport in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. The Boeing 747 jumbo is named Ed Force One after the band's mascot, Eddie, who has appeared on all of their album covers, and graces the plane's tail.
Ed Force One is being piloted on the band's world tour by MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson.
Said the group: "Ed Force One, our new 747 jumbo, is all branded-up, ready to go and Bruce has his shiny new 747 type rating so he can fly the plane.
"As we initially announced, we'll be using Ed Force One right around the world as usual but also including the first few shows in Europe this time, making this the first time EF1 has visited Europe on tour.
"However, after the Swedish show at Gothenburg Ullvei Stadium on June 17, we'll be reverting to our traditional truck and bus touring methods as logistically this makes much more sense considering the lesser distances involved and airport parameters."
Dickinson told the Associated Press last year about being the pilot of MAIDEN's private plane: "I was working as an airline pilot. I had a regular job for ten years, and at the same time, I was in IRON MAIDEN. We used to tour for like two or three months a year, and I would get unpaid leave to tour. How crazy is that? I went to my manager and I said, 'Look, I've got this crazy idea. How'd you fancy going out in a 747 on the next tour?' He went, 'Oooh ... that would be major.'"
IRON MAIDEN's world tour, in support of the band's latest album, "The Book Of Souls", will kick off on February 24 in Florida.
Support on the trek will come from THE RAVEN AGE, the band led by IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris's son George Harris.
MAIDEN's sixteenth — and first-ever double — studio album, "The Book Of Souls", was released worldwide on September 4, 2015 through Parlophone Records (BMG in the U.S.A). The CD was recorded in Paris, France with producer Kevin "Caveman" Shirley in late 2014, with the finishing touches added last year.
IRON MAIDEN announced in May 2015 that touring plans to support the album wouldn't happen until this year to allow Dickinson time to fully recuperate after his successful cancer treatment.