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Astraeus Airlines was the principal supplier of cargo and passenger carriage on IRON MAIDEN‘s 2008 “Somewhere Back in Time” tour. The tour covered 20 cities in 13 countries over a period of three months. Astraeus Airlines converted a Boeing 757-200 into a combi aircraft with 20 business class seats with a seat pitch of 59 inches and 54 premium economy seats with 39 inches. The rear passenger cabin was converted to carry additional band equipment weighing up to 6.5 tonnes.

Following extensive planning and preparation, a dedicated crew accompanied the tour to deliver a bespoke service to meet the individual needs of the passengers whilst onboard.

“As a professional pilot and a professional singer with IRON MAIDEN, there was no doubt that Astraeus Airlines were the people for the job,” stated Bruce Dickinson. “The reliability was superb, and the outcome exceeded the band’s wildest expectations. A unique airline, for a unique experience. Astraeus Airlines made it happen!”

Following on from the success of the 2008 tour, IRON MAIDEN chartered the combi aircraft again for the final leg of their “Somewhere Back in Time” 2009 world tour. This tour saw the aircraft take in 30 countries over a period of 54 days.

Astraeus Airlines will be operating the IRON MAIDEN 2011 world tour. This will see the airline taking in some new stops such as Singapore, Jakarta in Indonesia, Seoul-Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Belem in Brazil and Tampa in Florida.

Dickinson, who is a longstanding pilot with Astraeus, told 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?'”

Photos below courtesy of Astraeus Airlines

 ALTER BRIDGE will hit the road again this spring with dates in support of its recently released album, “ABIII”. The band’s cross-country trek will kick off in Portland, Oregon on April 21 and will make stops in Las Vegas, Anaheim, Chicago and New York. This tour will also see the band playing in some markets for the first time in their career. These first time markets include Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Knoxville and Nashville. In addition, the band is set to play several yet to be announced major festival shows. There will be more information to come as more dates are announced. BLACK STONE CHERRY has been tapped to open for ALTER BRIDGE on the headline leg of the tour.

ALTER BRIDGE is enjoying continued success on the Active and Mainstream Rock charts with “Isolation” as the single claims the #1 spot for the third week in a row. “Isolation” is the first #1 single in the band’s history. Each of the group’s two previous albums had singles land at #2 — “Open Your Eyes” from thre debut album, “One Day Remains”; and “Rise Today” from the critically acclaimed sophomore effort “Blackbird”. “ABIII” was released on Alter Bridge Recordings via EMI Label Services and debuted at #17 on The Billboard 200 chart.

The reunited “Thundersteel” lineup of U.S. metal veterans RIOT is contuing work its next studio album, tentatively due later in the year.

Commented guitarist Mark Reale: “Things are moving forward and the band sounds great. We have four songs just about done. I just have to finish a few leads and maybe a few backing vocal tracks but for the most part there done and sound great! Now we just have to get together again and record the rest of the tunes here in New York.

“We’ve been getting a lot of interest for the new record and plan on touring when it comes out.

“Due to all the snow here on the East Coast, things have been set back some, but the album will come out this year, hopefully by the summer time.”

RIOT last year reunited with Tony Moore — only nine months after announcing that they were parting ways with the vocalist over “differences about how to proceed with the future of the band.”

RIOT performed one of the new songs, “Wings Are For Angels”, for the first time at the Sweden Rock Festival on June 6, 2009.

Sony Music reissued RIOT‘s classic albums “Thundersteel” (1988) and “The Privilege Of Power” (1990) albums in October 2009 via HMV Japan. Each CD was digitally remastered and contains bonus tracks.

Video footage of RIOT performing “Metal Soldiers” live at Sweden Rock on June 6, 2009 can be viewed below.

Frontiers Records has announce the signing of legendary British hard rockers URIAH HEEP for the release of their 23rd studio album, tentatively due in April.

Following the completion of URIAH HEEP‘s 40th anniversary tour, the band started the recordings for its new CD in January at Liscombe Park Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. Entitled Into The Wild, it will contain 11 brand new songs, including some epic additions to the band’s huge catalogue of rock classics.

Commented guitarist and founding member Mick Box: “We are delighted and excited to be joining the Frontiers roster. We see it as a really fantastic move and we are now fully immersed in recording process and hope to deliver the album they want, we want and the fans want.”

The band has recorded a video recording diary and the first chapter can be seen below.

URIAH HEEP debuted in 1970 with the release of one of hard rock music’s milestones “Very ‘Eavy… Very ‘Umble”, and has since sold in excess of 30 millions albums worldwide. They constantly tour in the world, playing in over 53 countries and the band’s live setlist features hits from the ’70s and ’80s, such as “The Wizard”, “Free ‘n Easy”, “Sunrise” and their monster hits “Easy Livin'”, “July Morning” and “Lady in Black”, as well as new material.


Mick Box – Guitar, Vocals
Trevor Bolder – Bass, Vocals
Bernie Shaw – Lead Vocals
Phil Lanzon – Keyboards, Vocals
Russell Gilbrook – Drums, Vocals

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