Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson To Stage WWI Flying Display Extravaganza At Sonisphere Knebworth 2014

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Iron Maiden on stage at Download 2013
Iron Maiden: Not smooth sailing

Well this is quite the announcement for a Friday morning! Iron Maiden’s performance at the 2013 Download Festival was notable for the Spitfire that appeared at the beginning of their performance, and Sonisphere Knebworth have just announced plans to top that in quite spectacular fashion twelve months on.

Sonisphere are delighted to announce that a group of pilots known as The Great War Display Team, which counts one Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden amongst their members, will stage a dramatic flying display consisting entirely of First World War replica planes, paying tribute to the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War. The twelve minute display will feature both British and German aircraft, including Bruce Dickinson flying his Fokker Dr1 Triplane which is the same plane that was used by the renown and infamous German pilot The Red Baron. Additional planes to feature in the flying extravaganza are a German Junkers CL1 as well as three British aircraft – a Sopwith Triplane, a BE2c and a SE5a.

Bruce Dickinson in his Fokker Dr1 Triplane
Bruce Dickinson in his Fokker Dr1 Triplane

The Great War Display Team are proudly sponsored by Iron Maiden’s own worldwide smash hit Trooper beer. The other members of the team in addition to Bruce Dickinson are Alex Truman, Dan Griffith, Dave Linney, Ernie Hoblyn, Gordon Brander, Matthew Boddington, Peter Bond, Richard Piper, Vic Lockwood and Will Greenwood.

This display at Sonisphere Knebworth is the brainchild of Bruce Dickinson himself and he is understandably very enthusiastic about the plans to stage such an event:

“The air show over Sonisphere is something I’m really excited about and we’re determined to put on an unforgettable display for everyone. We’re planning an extravaganza of derring-do, especially when you consider the manoeuvres we’ll be performing are all based on true-life battles from a hundred years ago! What some of these fighter pilots achieved back then was nothing short of miraculous given the conditions they were working under and the seriousness of what was at stake. We hope to stage a memorable display which is equally entertaining and poignant, celebrating not only the bravery and heroics of all the pilots involved but remembering the sacrifices made on both side. Having been brought up on Biggles to the horror of my English teachers, the chance to fly a Fokker triplane Dr1 was second only to owning a Sopwith Camel. A share in a Bucker Jungmann and a conversation with Great War team manager Gordon Brander led to a chance to buy a superbly constructed full size replica of the iconic German fighter. Built by the late John Day I intend to display the aircraft with the team in commemoration not just of the Great war, but also as a tribute to one of the UK’s premier engineer/builders.”

Sonisphere booker Stuart Galbraith also had this to say about the display:

“We all got very excited when Iron Maiden approached us with this idea. It’s going to be a truly unique experience and tribute for everyone at Knebworth. We’ve made sure we were able to squeeze a gap into the outdoor stage programme on July 5th so that it has the impact it deserves.”

More information about The Great War Display Team is available at www.greatwardisplayteam.com. This display slots into what is already an amazing line up of music to take place across three days at Knebworth House this July with headliners The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica (playing their By Request show). Tickets and further info is available at the official website www.sonisphere.co.uk.

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