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A maiden voyage for rock star
Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson flies with Buffalo Air

Nicole Garbutt
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
Following a concert in Edmonton on Friday night, Iron Maiden's front man Bruce Dickinson hopped into a Buffalo Airways DC-3 and flew to Yellowknife for a day of flying. The trip was filmed by crew from the NWT Ice Pilots reality TV series.

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Mikey McBryan of Buffalo Airways co-pilots with Iron Maiden's front man Bruce Dickinson on Saturday afternoon in one of the Buffalo planes. - photo courtesy of Mikey McBryan

"It was quite the adventure," said Mikey McBryan, general manager of Buffalo Airways and star of the television show.

"My brother and I always joked that if we got on TV, we would try and find a way to get Bruce Dickinson up to see us, his publicists barely got through the sentence before he said, 'Yes,'" McBryan said.

McBryan received backstage passes to the concert on Friday evening, including his own personal green room.

Luck was on his side in terms of timing, said McBryan. A one-day break on Saturday between concerts in Edmonton and Vancouver allowed Dickinson to act as a guest star for an NWT Ice Pilots episode that McBryan says will appear in season five of the popular television series.

"He is so die hard about aviation, even on his day off," McBryan said. "He just wanted to be a Buffalo pilot for the day."

McBryan said Dickinson actually flew the Buffalo Airways DC-3 home to Yellowknife from Edmonton.

"He really enjoyed it because it is a challenge," McBryan said. "You know, he is use to jets mostly, which is all auto pilot and pushing buttons."

Once they landed in Yellowknife, McBryan said they "scooted" off to Back Bay where Buffalo Joe took Dickinson on his first float plane ride.

Following that, they spent the afternoon doing touch-and-go drills in the DC-4.

"We just cruised around Yellowknife. It was a full 12-hour day," said McBryan.

McBryan and Dickinson chose to unwind after their full day with a few drinks at The Black Knight Pub.

"We tried to sneak down there for a bit," he said.

Although he was recognized by some fans, Dickinson was generally left alone to enjoy his evening.

Season four of NWT Ice Pilots will premiere this fall. Dickinson will be part of the following season.

"We are trying to figure out a way to get him back up. We intentionally left out a few planes so that might get him back. This was more of a vacation for him than anything," McBryan said. "He is a fan of the show though, so we'll see."

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