fxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7027 posts, RR: 93 Posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4469 times:
The 32 fleet a/c will stay high above the likes of Afghanistan and N. Korea until 2015. The backbone of the Air Force recon fleet has been in service since 1957! Check out the article on the Dragon Lady and the crew that drive her. My uncle's hangar is next to a retired NW Capt that flew the U-2 for the majority of his 20 years in the Air Force - he has quite a collection of stories.
FlyingSicilian From Croatia, joined Mar 2009, 824 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4415 times:
Hey now, we don't fly over North Korea.... wink wink nudge nudge...
In a tangent high altitude plane story, it seems NASA Houston is trying to procure a third WB-57 for its fleet. I've heard they are checking the boneyard for planes now. I wonder if NASA would ever take any more of these U-2s?
fxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7027 posts, RR: 93 Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4392 times:
Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 1): In a tangent high altitude plane story, it seems NASA Houston is trying to procure a third WB-57 for its fleet. I've heard they are checking the boneyard for planes now. I wonder if NASA would ever take any more of these U-2s?
Article said over 80 were manufactured, the last in 1989, but only 32 are flying with the Air Force. I wonder how many NASA has in it's program?
I've finally got around to finishing reading a CIA monograph on the early days of the U2 programme ( https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/the-cia-and-the-u-2-program-1954-1974/index.htm ), which is quite a fascinating read. I think there's a non-censored version around somewhere (there's a book on Google Books with pretty much the same intro as the PDF), but I could live with the black marks here and there.
Great video! I was talking to the retired NW pilot that flew the U-2 for over 15 yrs in the Air Force and he said he never had a more difficult landing in his entire career than putting down a U-2 and he went on to fly the 747 all over the world. Said the hairiest landing was the old HKG at Kai Tek. He showed me some special mission patches and flight wings that most the U-2 guys get. Does anyone know which flight wings or patch I'm talking about? Sort of like what the astronauts get for going a certain altitude (first orbiter flight).
wvsuperhornet From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 516 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3893 times:
Not supersing the newest models were built in the late 80's and maybe the early 90's so they arent really that old so the aircraft still has alot of life in it. That and we really have nothing else to take its place unless you want to believe the Auroa is for real.
csturdiv From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1351 posts, RR: 3 Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3619 times:
I have always been fascinated with this aircraft. My stepdad's uncle flew the U2 and forever the family thought he was flying it for the USAF but shortly before he passed away he told them that he flew it for the CIA. Sadly I never really got the chance to meet him and talk to him about it though. I am not making that mistake with my cousin who fly's a P-3 for the USN, I am always talking to him about what he does, but of course he cannot say much.
fxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7027 posts, RR: 93 Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3212 times:
Quoting RayChuang (Reply 13): I believe that as the U-2 is phased out, they will be replaced by more Global Hawk recon UAV's and more Lockheed Martin RQ-170's--planes that can fly at least at 50,000 feet for wide area coverage.
Article said they were having software issues with the Global Hawk and it was a minor factor in keeping around the Dragon Lady. Also being in the fraternity of Air Force pilots that still get to fly the U-2 has to be pretty special.