bushpilot
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U-2 Carrier Ops

Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:05 am

I had heard rumors awhile back about a U-2 operating off the deck of an American carrier in the early days of that program. I thought I would share this link with additional info on it.
http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq77-1.htm
The first carrier take off was done off of San Diego on the USS Kitty Hawk with a full load of fuel and managed without the help of a catapult. The first landing didnt go that well with it hitting the wingtip. Still a great tribute to Kelly Johnson and the folks at Skunk works.
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:25 pm

I've seen video of this, it was quite interesting.

Chuck Sewell who was the chief test pilot for Grumman at the time showed this along with a few other goodies at an AIAA(maybe AHS) meeting at Boeing Philadelphia summer of '86:

1. C-130 landing and take-off from carrier. Something not natural about this.
2. Test landings(on carrier) of a F-14 modified to allow the wings to sweep independantly. Story was that there were some maintenance problems in the swing mechanism early on and very rarely one wing would get stuck and could not be extended to the high lift/slow landing configuration. The Navy lost a few aircraft and pilots and needed to find a way to safely land this configuration. Definitely some ballsy flying.
3. The take-off from the carrier deck for the U-2 was nearly vertical and the landing roll was quite short as well. No arresting gear or catapult used or needed.
4. Some good video from the X-29 program as well. He was the test pilot for its first flight.

Sadly, he was killed in a TBM crash about 3-4 weeks later after losing power due to a fuel problem of some sort.
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Loran
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:12 pm

Interetsing topic, here is some more information, found this by coincidence last month:

http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/history/q0050.shtml

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Loran
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cancidas
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Sat Mar 11, 2006 8:48 am

i knew about the C-130 but not about the U-2... pretty cool.
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YeahitsK
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Sat Mar 11, 2006 9:27 am

Aren't there small wheels towards the wingtips of the U-2 (keeps the wings off the the ground during takeoff roll)that fall off after becoming airborne? Were these made retractable or did they fall into the sea? Also, did they modify the airframes of the C-130 and U-2 to fold the wings for storage on a carrier?
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bhmbaglock
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Sat Mar 11, 2006 1:50 pm

Quoting YeahitsK (Reply 4):
Aren't there small wheels towards the wingtips of the U-2 (keeps the wings off the the ground during takeoff roll)that fall off after becoming airborne? Were these made retractable or did they fall into the sea? Also, did they modify the airframes of the C-130 and U-2 to fold the wings for storage on a carrier?

The solution was amazingly low tech. On landing, two deck crewmen simply grabbed the wing tips until the wheels could be installed.

For takeoff the wheels were removed and the carrier put into the wind at high speed. Not a whole lot more needed for takeoff in what is basically a jet powered glider. Again two crewmen held the wingtips and stayed with them for just a few steps as the a/c started its takeoff roll.

I don't think any work was done on folding/stowing mechanisms for either of these a/c. It might have been feasible for the U2 but the Herc is just too big for this to be practical.
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YeahitsK
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Sun Mar 12, 2006 3:22 am

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 5):
On landing, two deck crewmen simply grabbed the wing tips until the wheels could be installed



Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 5):
Again two crewmen held the wingtips and stayed with them for just a few steps as the a/c started its takeoff roll

I can say with confidence that I wouldn't want that job, sounds incredibly dangerous. Not that any job on a flightdeck is posh.
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bhmbaglock
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:13 am

Quoting YeahitsK (Reply 6):
I can say with confidence that I wouldn't want that job, sounds incredibly dangerous. Not that any job on a flightdeck is posh.

It actually looked pretty tame for a carrier deck. Didn't look much more threatening than running along with a kid on a bike until the speed builds up enough for stability.
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KevinL1011
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:41 pm

Speaking of Carrier Op's. This was copied from another thread.

http://www.masdf.com/news/pic/b52cv.jpg

Ok...sorry about being redundant, but It's just too funny!
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dispatchguy
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:28 pm

The National Security Archive at Georgetown University has some FOIA-released declassified documents about U-2 ops off of a carrier.

http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB184/FR18.pdf

Is a declassified CIA analysis of U2 ops off of a carrier.

Called Operation "Whale Tale", it did actually occur, as discussed in this declassified Top Secret CIA after actions report:

http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB184/FR24.pdf
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HaveBlue
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RE: U-2 Carrier Ops

Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:25 pm

Good links Dispatchguy, thanks  Smile
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