Bruce Dickinson will pilot a Boeing 747 over six continents for Iron Maiden's 2016 tour.

The rockers have announced they will travel over 55,000 miles across the globe for their 'The Book of Souls World Tour' which has promised to hit over 30 countries including the band's first visits to China and El Salvador.

Frontman Bruce said: ''When the opportunity arose from my friends at Air Atlanta Icelandic to lease a 747 for The Book of Souls World Tour, of course we jumped at the chance, who wouldn't?''

However, Bruce - who was declared cancer free earlier this year after a health scare - admitted he needs to learn to fly the huge aircraft before the band can take to the skies, as although he has a pilots license, it will be the biggest plane he has ever flown.

He explained: ''Even though we have worked out the logistics of taking a plane of that immense size out on tour, I still have to learn to fly it before we can go anywhere! So, I'm currently doing my training to qualify as a pilot and Captain on a Boeing 747. I'm doing this at Cardiff Aviation, my aircraft maintenance facility in Wales, where we recently took possession of a rather splendid 747 simulator which I can't wait to get practising on!''

The tour will kick off in the USA in February before moving to Central America, returning to the USA and Canada in March and April, then heading to Japan, China, New Zealand and Australia and ending the tour in Europe from May until August.

The band will release their first album in five years, 'The Book of Souls' on September 4 and will begin releasing their exact tour dates soon after.

In a statement on their website, they added: ''We're all really excited at the thought of bringing our brand new tour to fans who have never seen us play live before, and of course re-visiting all our old friends again too. You can rest assured we are all working hard to put together a spectacular show for our fans.''