Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson has taken over an aircraft maintenance hangar in Wales and hopes to create hundreds of jobs at the facility, he said Wednesday.

Dickinson, 53, an airline pilot when he is not rocking out stadiums, has taken a lease on the Twin Peaks hangar in St Athan, next to Cardiff Airport, to set up an aircraft maintance repair and overhaul operation.

The heavy metal singer's Cardiff Aviation firm will not only fix aircraft but train people to become engineers and pilots.

"This is an absolutely unbelievable facility," said Dickinson, who had traded in his stage gear for a suit and tie as he visited the hangar.

"You could virtually eat your dinner off the floor here," he told BBC television.

"Pessimistically, if we haven't created 250 to 300 full-time jobs in a year, we'll be out of business.

Optimistically, within two years, you could be looking at 1,000 to 1,500 jobs here."

Dickinson said he had his house redecorated but had never taken on anything on this scale before.

"The current facilities for maintaining aircraft in the UK... in general they're not great," he explained.

"There's a massive opportunity. Aircraft have to be maintained. They're very valuable assets."

The facility used to repair Royal Air Force VC10 airliners until March when the RAF pulled out after 75 years.

Iron Maiden, whose hits include "Run to the Hills" (1982), "The Number of the Beast" ("1982") and "Can I Play with Madness" (1988), are one of the pioneers of heavy metal and one of the most successful rock bands of all time.

On recent tours, Dickinson has flown the band himself.

South Wales was hit hard by the decline in the coal and iron industries.

"We have been working closely with Bruce Dickinson and Cardiff Aviation on this exciting project for some time and delighted it has come to fruition," said Welsh Business Minister Edwina Hart.

"This is exactly the type of investment needed -- bringing money into the local economy."

[Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson via AFP]