Iron Maiden lands at Halton

Earlier this month a Fokker Triplane landed at RAF Halton airfield, the same aircraft type as flown by the famous Red Baron. The visit by the Fokker Triplane was unplanned, and the pilot was a gentleman called Bruce Dickinson; whom some might know as the lead singer of the world-famous rock band ‘Iron Maiden’.

Mr Dickinson is a very experienced pilot who holds the coveted Air Transport Pilots’ Licence with some 7000 flying hours under his belt. Until recently he was a Boeing 737 pilot and now owns Cardiff Aviation at RAF St Athan. Mr Dickinson believed that he did not have enough fuel to complete his journey to White Waltham airfield, so made the correct decision to divert into RAF Halton to take more fuel for which the MOD make no charge under the ‘Strasser Scheme’ – this is a scheme where a diverting aircraft is not charged by the aerodrome operator for diverting with a real emergency. All MOD airfields as well as 99% of the UK’s civilian airfields, are signatory to the scheme.

RAF Halton provided Mr Dickinson with enough fuel to see him on his way when the weather improved.

Squadron Leader Gary Coleman, Officer Commanding Operations Squadron at RAF Halton, said “We applaud Bruce Dickinson’s decision to divert into RAF Halton rather than press to his destination with potentially low fuel. To see such a well-regarded pilot, and world-renowned rock singer, make this decision is great for our student pilots to see – it makes them realise that anyone can find themselves low on fuel due to unforeseen circumstances and that the right decision is to divert. He really does have a magnificent Fokker Triplane so it was a pleasure to provide it with a home for a few nights until we sent him on his way. This happy outcome is thanks to the work of Charles Strasser, the Vice President of the Aircraft Operators’ and Pilots’ Association (AOPA), in getting the ‘Strasser Scheme’ up and running several years back for the benefit of all.”

RAF Halton is the oldest flying establishment still left in RAF service, going back to Sep 1913. Later, the current airfield on Royal Flying Corps, Halton Park was established around 1916. The airfield was used in the 2006 Hollywood-Blockbuster ‘Flyboys’ starring James Franco and Jean Reno. So RAF Halton’s WWI aviation heritage is well proven.