Iron Maiden’s ‘ED FORCE ONE’ Boeing 747-400 visits Perth

TF-AAK Boeing 747-428 (MSN 32868/1325) leased by Iron Maiden from Air Atlanta Icelandic, named 'Ed Force One' at Perth Airport - Fri 13 May 2016. Being used by the band Iron Maiden on their 'Book of Souls' World Tour, arriving from Adelaide with the callsign 'ATLANTA 666' for a concert in Perth on 14 May. On the nose it lists the 47 cities where the band is performing. The lead singer Bruce Dickinson is an experienced airline pilot and was trained to fly this aircraft. Ex F-GITH of Air France. Photo © David Eyre
TF-AAK Boeing 747-428 (MSN 32868/1325) leased by Iron Maiden from Air Atlanta Icelandic, named ‘Ed Force One’ at Perth Airport – Fri 13 May 2016.
Being used by the band Iron Maiden on their ‘Book of Souls’ World Tour, arriving from Adelaide with the callsign ‘ATLANTA 666’ for a concert in Perth on 14 May. On the nose it lists the 47 cities where the band is performing. The lead singer Bruce Dickinson is an airline pilot and was trained to fly this aircraft. Ex F-GITH of Air France.
Photo © David Eyre
TF-AAK Boeing 747-428 (MSN 32868) of Air Atlanta Icelandic at Perth Airport – 13 May 2016.
TF-AAK Boeing 747-428 (MSN 32868) of Air Atlanta Icelandic at Perth Airport – 13 May 2016.
Flying English heavy metal band, Iron Maiden, around the world for their “Book of Souls World Tour and named Ed Force One, after a competition on the bands website, she is seen here on finals for runway 24 at 3:42 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson (Photographed using Canon cameras and lenses)

7 May 2016 © David Eyre (Updated 14 May 2016)

Rock band Iron Maiden is flying into Perth from Adelaide on the afternoon of 13 May 2016, aboard their chartered Boeing 747-400, TF-AAK, ‘Ed Force One’.

The 747 has been chartered from Air Atlanta Icelandic as part of the band’s ‘Book of Souls’ World Tour, and is being flown by the band’s lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, who is a qualified commercial pilot. The aircraft is named ‘Ed Force One’ after the band’s mascot, Eddie, who features on all of their album covers, and the Eddie is also painted on the tail.

The tour started on 19 February 2016, and the aircraft will make 50 stops in 35 countries, on six of the seven continents (Australasia, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Europe) as part of the 47-concert tour.

Why a 747?

In previous world tours in 2008, 2009 and 2011, Iron Maiden previously used Boeing 757-200 aircraft chartered from Bruce Dickinson’s employer, Air Astraeus, which later ceased operations.

The 757s required conversion to combi configuration (passenger/freight on the main deck) to fit all of the band’s equipment.

The band decided that a Boeing 757 was not big enough for this tour. The larger Boeing 747 can transport the crew and 12 tons of stage gear – the band modified the stage equipment, so that it would fit on pallets in the underfloor cargo hold.

The 747’s longer range means that it does not have to make multi-sector trips, enabling long flights such as Shanghai to Auckland and Perth to Cape Town (South Africa), where the band will perform after the Perth concert.

History of Ed Force One

  • 2003: Built for Air France as a 747-428, powered by General Electric CF6-80C2B1F engines. Cabin configured for 36 Business Class and 396 Economy Class seats.
  • 5 March 2003: First flight at Everett, Seattle as F-GITH.
  • 31 March 2003: Delivered to Air France
  • 22 October 2015: Withdrawn from service
  • 28 October 2015: Flown to Lourdes, France and stored.
  • 23 November 2015: Re-registered TF-AAK, to Air Atlanta Icelandic.
  • February 2016: Painted in Iron Maiden ‘Ed Force One’ special livery.
  • 19 February 2016: Chartered to Iron Maiden and commenced ‘Book of Souls’ world tour, flown lead singer/airline pilot Bruce Dickinson.
  • 12 March 2016: Damaged at Santiago, Chile, when it was being towed and the steering pin fell out. The aircraft had no steering and collided with a ground tug, damaging two engines and the undercarriage.
  • 22 March 2016: Returned to service following repairs.
  • 13 May 2016: Arrived in Perth from Adelaide.
  • 15 May 2016: Departs Perth at 11:30am to Cape Town, South Africa.

The aircraft uses radio call sign ‘ATLANTA 666’.

Pilot and Lead Singer, Bruce Dickinson

Lead singer Bruce Dickinson had loved aviation since he was a boy.

Iron Maiden’s drummer Nicko McBrain was learning to fly in a Piper Cherokee with an instructor and they gave Bruce a lift from France to the island of Jersey. Bruce later took a trial flight at Kissimmee, Florida and decided to learn to fly.

He trained at Ardmore, New Zealand and Leavesden, UK, and obtained his pilot’s licence in 1991, initially flying small single-engine light aircraft. He later furthered his training to get additional ratings and acquired a Piper PA-23 Turbo Aztec E.

In 1993, he left the band and commenced a career in commercial aviation. He started flying as a co-pilot with Air Atlantique in the UK and purchased a Cessna 421.

He later flew twin-engine turboprops and small jets. He began flying for British World Airlines, but that airline collapsed in 2001, soon after the September 11 terror attacks.

Following this, he flew for Astraeus Airlines in the UK, initially on Boeing 737s, before converting to the Boeing 757. Astraeus ceased operations in November 2011 – Dickinson was the captain of their last flight.

He is now Chairman of Cardiff Aviation, a maintenance and overhaul facility at the former RAF base at St Athan, Wales, which also conducts flight simulator training. He also invested in Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the British-based developer of Airlander 10 hybrid airship at Cardington, Bedfordshire.

Dickinson now has over 20 years’ and 7,000 hours of flying experience.

He had to train for around six weeks to learn how to fly the 747-400, training in simulators at Cardiff and in Florida.

David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

26 thoughts on “Iron Maiden’s ‘ED FORCE ONE’ Boeing 747-400 visits Perth

  • May 11, 2016 at 9:01 am
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    I’d like to watch it arrive and hopefully get a glimpse of the boys. Is the specific time known when it arrives.

    Reply
    • May 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm
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      Download FlightAware app and search for “flight tail” TFAAK. You’ll be able to track plane across the country tomorrow and get an estimated time of arrival.

      Reply
    • May 13, 2016 at 9:24 am
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      That’s why I’m in the car and looking for the time

      Reply
  • May 11, 2016 at 3:16 pm
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    can you visit Perth airport and be able to see the Iron Maiden plane when it arrives on the 13th May. If so what time is the plane expected to land? Kind Regards Vicky

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    • May 11, 2016 at 6:06 pm
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      Hi Vicky,
      Anyone can visit Perth Airport to see the Iron Maiden plane land on 13 May.
      The 747 may be landing on the shorter cross runway 06/24 (i.e. from over Greenmount or Belmont, depending on wind direction), as the main runway is scheduled to be closed for upgrades until 5pm.

      Reply
  • May 12, 2016 at 8:40 am
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    Hello i was wondering if you knew what time the plane is leaving Adelaide tomorrow? 13/5

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  • May 13, 2016 at 12:29 pm
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    Best place to watch them land? Prob get a good view of them coming over Greenmount Hill:)

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    • May 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm
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      Irons just flew over my house in Parkerville

      Reply
  • May 13, 2016 at 8:24 pm
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    When do Iron Maiden leave Perth please.

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    • May 13, 2016 at 9:08 pm
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      Sunday 15 May at 11:30am, departing direct to Cape Town, South Africa.

      Reply
  • May 13, 2016 at 11:37 pm
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    Anyone know what time Ed Force one will land in Cape Town ?

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    • May 14, 2016 at 8:42 am
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      It should take just under 11 hours to reach Cape Town after departing Perth. It departs Perth at 11:30am Perth time, which means an arrival in Cape Town at around 4:30pm South African time (10:30pm Perth time).
      Best way to confirm is to check this link after it takes off: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/TFAAK

      Reply
  • May 14, 2016 at 10:38 am
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    Curious due to the Antonov arriving in Perth approximately 10am tomorrow & crowds are expected, where might be a vantage point to see Ed Force One take off?

    Thanks for any advice you can share 🙂

    Reply
    • May 14, 2016 at 11:17 am
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      Most of the crowds might leave after the An-225 arrives.
      Vantage point depends on wind direction at the time of Ed Force One departure (i.e. at 11:30am).
      Forecast says north to northwesterly and light tending west to northwesterly 15 to 25 km/h in the morning
      Northerly or northwesterly wind would mean it will taxy down to the southern end, to take off towards the north.
      West winds may mean it will taxy to the north end, and take off towards the south.
      I would suggest going to the either the Antonov Special Zone or the public viewing area on Dunreath Drive for Ed Force One departure.

      Reply
  • May 15, 2016 at 9:33 am
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    Thanks. Believe Ed Force One has been delayed until 2.30pm?

    Reply
  • May 15, 2016 at 9:52 am
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    Hi has the departure time changed for ED Force One or is it still scheduled to depart Perth @1130?

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  • May 16, 2016 at 6:42 am
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    Have they landed in Cape Town as yet??

    Reply
  • May 16, 2016 at 2:33 pm
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    Awesome Take off from Perth, I was at the public viewing platform, best of seen.

    Reply

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