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U-2 To Fly Till 2015.  
User currently offlinefxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7172 posts, RR: 86
Posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5357 times:
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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.   



article

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1292 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 5303 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?



Ciao Windjet mi manchi
User currently offlinefxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7172 posts, RR: 86
Reply 2, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 5280 times:
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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?


User currently onlineMortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 3805 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 5223 times:

Very cool aircraft. I think we have 3 of these at various museums in Norway, including a rare trainer version. Cold war all the way !

User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1292 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 5152 times:

Quoting fxramper (Reply 2):
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 forgot to note NASA's are designating ER-2s.
I don't know how many they have at the moment, I'd have to go look it up.

I know they have two WB-57s at Ellington-JSC, and IIRC the ER-2s are at Dryden-Moffett.



Ciao Windjet mi manchi
User currently offlineCPH-R From Denmark, joined May 2001, 5972 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 5147 times:

Hurrah for a few more years of the Dragon Lady.

According to NASA themselves ( http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/aircraft/index.html ), they have 2 ER-2's.

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.

ETA: And just for the hell of it, a couple of prospective new pilots' first introduction to the U2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eamnTyfkUBY Big grin

[Edited 2011-03-28 15:29:08]

User currently offlinefxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7172 posts, RR: 86
Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 5086 times:
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Quoting CPH-R (Reply 5):
ETA: And just for the hell of it, a couple of prospective new pilots' first introduction to the U2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eamnTyfkUBY 

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).


User currently offlinechuchoteur From France, joined Sep 2006, 760 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4892 times:

... and if you happen to be a well-known British TV presenter working for one of the BBC's most-watched shows... you get to grab a ride on the U-2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PmYItnlY5M

Wish that'd been me! *sigh


User currently offlineCPH-R From Denmark, joined May 2001, 5972 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4827 times:

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 7):
... and if you happen to be a well-known British TV presenter working for one of the BBC's most-watched shows... you get to grab a ride on the U-2.

What was even more awesome about that show, was that Major Cabigas (the pilot who flew the U2) subsequently posted a couple of "behind the scenes" tidbits and images on a Top Gear fansite.

He also posted this kick-ass image from FL700 over Bahrain  (I've taken the liberty of scaling it down a bit)


User currently offlinechuchoteur From France, joined Sep 2006, 760 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4783 times:

Quoting CPH-R (Reply 8):
He also posted this kick-ass image from FL700 over Bahrain (I've taken the liberty of scaling it down a bit)

... the closest you can get to space short of a space shuttle, a soyiuz rocket or a Virgin Galactic experiment...
*sigh


User currently offlinewvsuperhornet From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 516 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4781 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.

User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1292 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4670 times:

great video FX. I rode in the chase car a few times at some deployed locations. that was a fun experiance, though they went from Mustangs (yeah) to Camaros (boo), of course this was early 2000s.


Ciao Windjet mi manchi
User currently offlinecsturdiv From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1444 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 4507 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.


Posting from somewhere between KORD and KRFD
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 7965 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4354 times:

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.

User currently offlinefxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7172 posts, RR: 86
Reply 14, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4100 times:
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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.   


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