Aviation News

February 22, 2016

The Quest for Eddie

On Friday afternoon, I found myself on a quest to find a plane. Better still, it was the arrival in Fort Lauderdale of Ed Force One – the name of the aircraft associated with the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.  As the first stop of the band’s “Book of Souls” world tour, Fort Lauderdale was the first airport outside of the United Kingdom to catch a glimpse of the Boeing 747-428 aircraft that the band is using for their six continent, 35 country and 70 city tour.  The tour will visit such countries as the United States, China, South Africa, Australia and Japan.

G-STRX-EFOUsing commercial aircraft for their world tours is not a new thing for Iron Maiden.  Previously, they used Boeing 757s from the now defunct English charter company Astraeus Airlines.  For this tour, however, the band upgraded to a Boeing 747 owned by Air Atlanta Icelandic. The aircraft will carry the crew and all of their equipment around the world.  The aircraft, a 2003 model, was in service with Air France until late October, 2015. The French airline retired their Boeing 747-400 fleet at the end of last year.

At the controls of “Ed Force One” will be lead singer Bruce Dickinson, a former captain for Astraeus Airlines. In fact, Dickinson holds type ratings for both the 757 and 747.   The name “Ed Force One” was given to the band’s aircraft after a competition on their website before the “Somewhere Back In Time” tour in 2008 and 2009. the name Ed Force One and derived from the band’s mascot “Eddie the Head” and Air Force One, the aircraft of the President of the United States.

On Friday, February 19, 2016, the aircraft departed Dickinson’s home base of Cardiff for the 4,380 mile almost 9 hour flight to Fort Lauderdale.  On hand to greet the aircraft on a partly cloudy day were several hundred aviation and heavy metal enthusiasts alike, eager to get a glimpse of this unique aircraft.  The aircraft will be in Fort Lauderdale before heading to Tulsa and Las Vegas on the first leg of the US tour.  After the band’s South American tour dates, it will return to New York, Detroit, Chicago, Tacoma, Denver and Inglewood, CA in March and April for the rest of the US tour.  And here’s a hint: catch it while you can…

(Editor’s note: You can track Ed Force One  on sites such as Flightradar24.  Its registration is TF-AAK, and all Iron Maiden flights will use the callsign ABD666.)

Mark Lawrence is a NYCAviation staff member and a south Florida-based aviation fanatic. He has been around the industry since he was a small boy. As well as being an avid photographer, he also runs his own blog. Follow him on Twitter.



About the Author

Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence is a NYCAviation staff member and a south Florida-based aviation fanatic. He has been around the industry since he was a small boy. Mark can be reached at [email protected]




 
 

 

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  • Dan

    I am hoping to catch the aircraft landing in Las Vegas this weekend. Do you know where the plane would likely go to offload once it lands? I’m assuming a private terminal?

    • Mark Lawrence

      Here in Ft Lauderdale, they parked at a FBO (Sheltair) – they will more than likely do the same in Vegas.

  • Bill Purdy

    Mark – I have been following the flights of Ed Force One on FlightRadar24 since they left Cardiff. I have been able to see the two previous Ed Force Ones parked by the Fed Ex terminal at Newark International (EWR). As I am preparing for their arrival at the end of March, I cannot find any arrival information regarding the flight. They will be coming in from Sao Paulo Brazil sometime between 3/27 – 3/29 but with three major airports in the NYC area, I don’t know which one they will be using. Do you have a resource regarding the itinerary of the flights? I am sure they have submitted flight plans, plane storage while on the ground, maintenance, logistics, ect…. So the info HAS to be out there. Any suggestions to help track down where/when they are coming in?