Travel Tip Tuesday with Iron Maiden Rocker (and Pilot) Bruce Dickinson

Perhaps more familiar to many for singing about FEAR of the Dark, or the FLIGHT of Icarus, legendary heavy metal singer Bruce Dickinson has recently opened up about the Fear of FLYING; not his, but how people can cope with flight anxiety and/or Aerophobia/Aviophobia.

While this may seem completely random to many, the Iron Maiden lead singer has, for some time, been a qualified pilot – even, for a period, being a full commercial pilot (for former UK charter airline Astraeus, for which he also served as marketing manager).

In a rare non-music related interview, last week, Dickinson – who joined Iron Maiden for their breakthrough The Number of the Beast album in 1982, left the band in 1993 and returned in 2000, remaining to date – spoke about his love of flying and how those who fear it can cope, with Swedish radio station Rockklassiker, with the chat being picked up by online rock music news service Blabbermouth.net.

Curiously, not once did he mention any significance to The Number of the Seat you may be sitting in in parallel to any uneasiness you may be experiencing when flying.

Dickinson said: “Loads of people are nervous flyers — for perfectly valid reasons, because if you’re a nervous flyer, you’re a nervous flyer. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s just that flying is a part of the modern world.

“So, there are ways of trying to cope with it and deal with it and mitigate it and, in some cases, just eliminate it altogether. It just depends on what it is you’re frightened of and how frightened you are and what steps you take to treat it, as it were. And mostly it’s about just experience and education.

“There are lots of really great courses, fear-of-flying courses, that are run often by airlines. British Airways do a very good one, which involves going into simulators and going into a mock-up airplane and having people explain exactly what that noise is, and why they do this, and why they do that, and why you have to raise your window shades, and why you have to clear all the crap away from your feet, and what happens when the oxygen masks drop — all that stuff.

“Because it’s not explained, really. It’s just, like, ‘Hey, do this, do this, do this.’ But people ask, ‘Why?’ My wife is always, like, ‘Why do I have to raise my window blind when we take off and [are] landing?’ And I said, ‘Because if there was a problem and the airplane was on fire, how would you know which side not to get out of if you can’t see out through the window? ‘So you could jump into a burning engine out of the emergency chute if you can’t see what’s outside; you can’t see a hazard or anything else like that.”

“So it’s just common sense stuff that you don’t think through. And that sounds really gruesome, but the point is that all of these things have come about because there have been accidents where hundreds of deaths could have been prevented by very simple precautions that have just ended up being part of the safety demo.”

“There was a terrible accident recently where a 787 landed on top of a — it was a Coast Guard airplane, I believe. I think it was — I’m gonna say it was Japan [or] it was Korea. But anyway, it was in the Far East. And, it was a 787 [that] landed on top of it. [January’s incident at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, where a Japan Airlines plane collided, while landing, with a Japan Coast Guard De Havilland plane; with all of the larger plane’s passengers and crew surviving, but 5 of the 6 on board the De Havilland craft dying]. It shouldn’t have been on the runway, but it was. And the airplane basically just burnt to the ground. Everybody survived that crash and got out, which is a testament to great training, no panic, and great, great crew training. So, there’s some great stories of when it all goes right. And let’s face it: air travel is still incredibly safe — way safer than getting in your motor car.”

Options Open to Sufferers in Ireland:

Aer Lingus Fearless Flyers Programme (Dublin Airport)

Fear of Flying Ireland (National Flight Centre, Westin Airport, Leixlip, Co Kildare – Boeing 737 Simulator + Clinical Psychologist session)

FlyFearless Ireland

AFTA.ie (Atlantic Flight Training Academy) (Cork Airport + satellite bases at Shannon and Waterford)


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