Better known for its ‘Ed Force One’ 747 that carried them all over the world on a music tour, the rock band Iron Maiden has initially used two Boeing 757 aircraft for its international tours back in the 2000s. These were actually the original ‘Ed Force Ones,’ prior to ‘leveling up’ to the jumbo jet. What happened to the 757s, and where are they now? (Hint: One aircraft had its last flight three days ago!)
Two Boeing 757s
The band actually used two different 757s, each for a different tour. These came from Dickinson’s ‘other job,’ now-defunct British charter carrier Astraeus Airlines, based out of London Gatwick.
The aircraft selected for its 2008 “Somewhere Back in Time” tour was registered as G-OJIB. Its first flight was in 1989. Prior to flying with Astraeus, the narrowbody jet flew passenger service for airlines such as Air 2000, Canada 3000, First Choice Airways, and Ghana International Airlines.
The second 757 used to fly the band took on its special Iron Maiden livery in 2011 for the “Final Frontier World Tour.” Interestingly, the band had originally intended to use G-OJIB again but, for some reason, was replaced by G-STRX. This aircraft is slightly younger, having had its first flight in 1992. Like its predecessor, it also flew quite regularly for Canada 3000 airlines.
Both jets were flown through Astraeus Airlines and thus had to find new homes after the carrier went into administration in 2011. Indeed, the two Boeing 757-200s found themselves going to different owners after the airline’s collapse. Let’s find out where these two jets are now.
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Let’s start with the aircraft used on the band’s second tour – just because it doesn’t exist anymore.
G-STRX was leased to Thomson Airways and then to Iceland Express before being renamed EI-ETR after the Astraeus’ collapse in 2011. As EI-ETR, it went to International Lease Finance Corporation and, according to Planespotters.net, was broken up in July 2012 at Phoenix Goodyear Airport.
After its tour, G-OJIB would be leased to easyJet, then go on to serve Saudi Arabian Airlines before ending up at Thomas Cook UK (still hired from Astraeus this whole time). When the airline went under, FedEx bought the aircraft.
It was at this point, in Spring 2013, that the global shipping company converted it into a cargo plane. Beginning its new career as a freighter in May 2013, the aircraft (re-registered as N938FD) has been flying cargo service quite regularly ever since.
The aircraft still flies today and, at the time of publication, is in Flint, Michigan, after having operated a 40-minute flight from Indianapolis, Indiana, on November 27th. It has mainly been used for service within the United States but has also flown to San Jose in Costa Rica, as well as Panama City, Panama.
Have you spotted the ‘once-Iron Maiden-Boeing 757’ lately? Let us know in the comments.