Iron Maiden Readying ‘Ed Force One’ for 2016 World Tour

File this under: Badass.

British metal legends Iron Maiden are in the planning stages of a monumental world tour that will kick off in the U.S. in late February. Those familiar with Maiden will know that lead singer Bruce Dickinson is a licensed pilot and flew the previous incarnation of Ed Force One, a Boeing 757, for the 2008 “Somewhere Back in Time” tour which was documented in the movie Flight 666.

This time around, the band has leased a 747-400 to transport the band, crew and stage equipment around the world with Captain Bruce at the helm. The Boeing 747-400 is almost twice the size and three times the weight of the 757-200 used previously and thus, Dickinson is required to undergo training to earn his license to pilot this “Queen of the Skies.”

A comparison of the two versions of Iron Maiden's Ed Force One
The Two Versions of Iron Maiden’s Ed Force One

The band will be touring in support of The Book of Soulsan expansive double album that has been in the can since February, the band’s first album since 2010’s The Final Frontier. The new release will drop worldwide on Sept. 4 through Parlophone Records. Maiden has held off on touring to allow Dickinson to recover from a cancerous tumor that was found on his tongue during a routine check up late last year. Dickinson was given the all-clear by doctors this spring.

Details of the tour are yet to be finalized, according to the band’s website, but will begin in the U.S. followed by stops in Central and South America, including a first-time visit to El Salvador. The tour returns to North America for several more dates in the U.S. and Canada before heading to Asia for stops in Japan and, for the first ever time, China. After visits to Australia and New Zealand, the band heads to South Africa before embarking on an extensive tour of Europe. The tour will wrap in early August.

In a statement, Dickinson said,

“We’re all really excited at the thought of bringing our brand new tour to fans who have never seen us play live before, and of course re-visiting all our old friends again too. You can rest assured we are all working hard to put together a spectacular show for our fans.”

Iron Maiden was formed in East London in 1975 and has earned worldwide fame on the basis of its live shows and consistent product. Over its 40 year history, the band has sold more than 85 million records. The Book of Souls is its 16th studio album and first-ever double studio album.

Tour dates, venues and ticket information will announced in the next few weeks.