Mainstream production came a step closer this week with the unveiling of the Airlander, a 92m long craft filled with enough helium to make the Treorchy Male Voice Choir sound like a chorus of gnats. The vehicle could provide an ingenious solution to the problems of moving heavy items in areas with no ground access or runways.
Dickinson himself has played an active part in the publicity, appearing on the Today programme where he memorably compared the Airlander to one of the Thunderbirds (to the secret delight, I imagine of a host of forty- and fifty-somethings). He now has plans for a non-stop trip twice round the world:
"It seizes my imagination. I want to get in this thing and fly it pole to pole."Mine too. If there is anything that might serve as some consolation for this week's conspicuous lack of giant serpents, wrathful Norse Gods and supernatural wolves, it's the thought of Iron Maiden's lead singer cruising above our heads in something that looks like Thunderbird 2.