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fxramper
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U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:32 pm

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
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:59 pm

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?
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
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fxramper
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:18 pm

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?
 
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Mortyman
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:23 pm

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 !
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:11 pm

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.
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
CPH-R
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:20 pm

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]
 
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fxramper
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:50 pm

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).
 
chuchoteur
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:00 am

... 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
 
CPH-R
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:48 am

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)
 
chuchoteur
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:11 pm

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
 
wvsuperhornet
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:15 pm

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.
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:18 pm

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.
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
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csturdiv
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:04 pm

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.
An American expat from the ORD area living and working in SYD
 
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RayChuang
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:21 pm

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.
 
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fxramper
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RE: U-2 To Fly Till 2015.

Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:18 am

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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