Iron Maiden frontman to fly 'World War One' plane above Knebworth
PUBLISHED: 11:56 30 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:12 30 May 2014
A spectacular 'dogfight' air display above Knebworth will help to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.
"The air show over Sonisphere is something I’m really excited about and we’re determined to put on an unforgettable display for everyone. "
Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, along with The Great War Display Team, are set to stage an aerial display above the Hertfordshire stately home on Saturday, July 5.
Organisers of three-day rock festival Sonisphere confirmed today (Friday) that a unique and audacious ‘dogfight’ will pay tribute to the daring – and often downright dangerous – exploits of both the English and German pilots who ruled Europe’s skies between 1914-1918.
A statement on Sonisphere’s website said: “We are thrilled to announce a very special treat for all attending Sonisphere Festival on Saturday July 5th.
“The Great War Display Team, a group of pilots which includes Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson among its illustrious members, will stage a spectacular 12-minute air display in the skies above Knebworth at approximately 6pm.”
A qualified pilot, Bruce will appear in the skies above Knebworth House, as well as on the main stage at Sonisphere.
The lead singer of the British heavy metal veterans said: “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.
"It’s going to be a truly unique experience and tribute for everyone at Knebworth. "
“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.”
Sonisphere 2014 organiser Stuart Galbraith said: “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.”
The unique and audacious ‘dogfight’ will commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Great War.
The show features nine aircraft of five different types, all exact replicas of the planes used in WWI combat.
Bruce will be flying his very own Fokker Dr1 Triplane, the same model used by infamous German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron.
Also from the German side there is a Junkers CL1.
Of the British planes in the show, there is a Sopwith Triplane, a BE2c and a SE5a.
The other members of this elite team alongside Bruce are Alex Truman, Dan Griffith, Dave Linney, Ernie Hoblyn, Gordon Brander, Matthew Boddington, Peter Bond, Richard Piper, Vic Lockwood and Will Greenwood.
The Iron Maiden star added: “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.”
The Great War Display Team performs re-enactments throughout the UK and Europe and is sponsored by Iron Maiden’s very own Trooper beer.
After the air show, Bruce will return to solid ground to get ready for Maiden’s headline performance that night, on the final date of the legendary band’s Maiden England world tour.
* For more on the Knebworth air display, see next week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times, out Wednesday.