By now, pretty much everybody knows that Iron Maiden‘s Bruce Dickinson moonlights as an airplane pilot when he isn’t fronting the band, but he’s never been known for his sea voyages — until recently, when a British submarine crew was surprised to learn that Dickinson had joined them for a three-day trip.

“It was a bit surreal,” admitted one of the sailors. “It’s not every day you bump into an international rock star on a nuclear submarine. When I heard that somebody called Bruce Dickinson was coming on board, I thought it was maybe a civilian contractor or someone who went by that nickname.”

Although Dickinson made his away aboard the nuclear vessel by way of a special invitation from the captain, the sailor told reporters that he didn’t look for special treatment. “He was extremely down to earth and hung around with everybody asking questions and chatting about his life. Everyone was happy to have him on board with us. Lots of people were stunned by it but some didn’t know who he was.”

For Dickinson, the voyage is just another interesting chapter in a life full of them. In recent years, he’s been in the news for flying stranded British travelers home on a couple of occasions, as well as co-writing the screenplay for the movie ‘Chemical Wedding’ — and then, of course, there’s his high-profile day job with Maiden, whose most recent album, 2010′s ‘The Final Frontier,’ debuted in the Top 5 of Billboard’s album charts.

The band is planning a 2012 tour; in the meantime, Dickinson has dedicated himself to saving the bankrupt Astraeus Airlines.