From Heavy Metal To Big Iron

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For many airline pilots, flying for a living was a lifelong dream that began with noses pressed against an airport fence. Bruce Dickinson's moment of truth came later in life as he crawled, retching drunk, down a Japanese hotel corridor scavenging for leftover food from room-service trays. But, then, Dickinson's path to the left seat was a little different than most. In fact, the lead singer for the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden (with such notable titles as "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter") still tours and records with the band (the new album's name is Flying Heavy Metal) when he's not flying planeloads of vacationers for Astraeus Airlines. The band is enjoying a retro wave of popularity after searing eardrums all over the world in the 1980s. It was sometime during the band's wild ride 20 years ago that Dickinson literally crawled out of that lifestyle. "Afterwards, I just thought: 'There's got to be more than this,'" Dickinson told the London Daily Telegraph. "That's when I took up fencing again and decided to learn how to fly." The 46-year-old father of three will head up the band when it launches a world tour on May 28 with a sold-out performance in the Czech Republic. But it won't be quite the same as 20 years ago. Airline dress codes don't normally allow for waist-length hair on their male pilots so it will be a neatly trimmed Dickinson that screams out his band's anthems on the tour. Rock on...