No, we didn't shut the engine down to "extend range". Yes, the aircraft, both C-models and R's and TR's were pressurized. But only to about 29,000 cockpit pressure. The partial pressure suit (s-100) was abandoned when we went to the R-model because the larger cockpit would accommodate the bulkier suit. The maximum altitude for the aircraft is always about 10 feet higher than the public believes.
John Joss, e-mail, 14.01.2013 20:15
I had the privilege of flying in the CT-2 out of Beale AFB in December 1976 with (then) Captain Denny Gagen, writing an article for FLYING (April 1977). Denny went on to work for NASA in Houston, I believe--a kind and patient instructor pilot. The aircraft was difficult to land, partly because the straight, untwisted wing necessary for high-altitude flight did not give a 'root burble' when approaching the stall and partly because the bird liked to float in ground effect. Small bumps were sweated onto the wing leading edge to help provide low-speed feel. The wing also featured, for the first time (as far as I know) a negative flap position to help the a/c accomodate momentary high-G effects, called 'gust control,' because the U-2 was not a particularly rugged aircraft. This feature was later adopted in high-performance sailplanes as a way to reduce drag and permit higher average airspeeds in competition. The U-2's pressure-suit environment is not particularly comfortable. I have deep respect for the men and women who flew the bird routinely. The pilots of Beale's Ninth Strategic Air Wing were a great group. Because of the similarity between flying the U-2 and flying sailplanes, I proposed that Beale acquire a few Nimbus sailplanes, at the time the highest-performance Open-class ships, with a Maule towplane, to provide very low cost practice in long, slow, flat approaches so different from USAF techniques in fighters. No response.
Norman Dubay, e-mail, 04.10.2012 06:12
I'm looking for information on early (u-2a) cockpit colors. From what I've found is the first batch of U-2s were procured by the CIA with the balance procured by the air force. I have a couple of photos with what appears to cockpit colors of interior green. I was wondering if this was true for the first batch and the follow ons were done in an aircraft gray. Any thoughts? I'm also looking for info on Rudolf Anderson's U-2F at the time of the shoot down. Did it have the slipper fuel wing tanks on and the the sugar scoop at the end of the tailpipe. Please contact me at ptolemax@hotmail,com. Thanks, Norm Dubay
Richard, e-mail, 14.07.2012 15:26
While I was in India during the time of the Sino Indian & Pakistan Indian wars I heard a story that a bomb had been put in Garry Powers aircraft while at a Pakistan air base, this bomb was designed to blow off the tail to stop the aircraft gliding and allow the aircraft and pilot to be captured this was done by a Communist agent who was a travelling circus owner ??
oswaldo sanviti, e-mail, 06.07.2012 02:00
what is the naca of this airfoils?
Gary Halbetrt, e-mail, 26.02.2012 00:55
I worked with the U2 from 1965-1968 at 100th SAC; Davis Monthan AFB, AZ. I was attached to the Com/Nav group and maintained the radio equipment. I remember launching the bird by hand, holding the wing tip up as it rolled out w/o the pogo's. I also built the UHF radio equipment into what we called the Chase vehicle. We used a 1967 Chevy ElCamino with the big block 396 cu V8 engine. The car would be driving on the runway as the U2 landed/touched down; the driver of the ElCamino would talk with the pilot, giving him instructions as to how far off the deck he was and when he touched down - he assisted the pilot as he landed. I went to Viet Nam in support of the U2 in Oct of 1967. I also remember when Gary Powers would fly our U2's back from major structural changes/modifications at the LockHeed factory, I guess he was employed with LockHeed he told us the real story of his Russia experience! Great times!
Glenn Chapman, e-mail, 14.12.2011 06:10
One of you asked about the U-2 in the picture. I worked them from 1958-1966. Five "spare parts birds" were built after the contract. They were 56-6951, 952, 953, 954, and 955. The one in the picture is 56-6954. 955 crashed 14 Aug 1964. Shi Hai Sheng survived. 951 crashed 19 October 1966. Davis-Monthan. The one in this pix crashed 31 May 191968. 952 crashed 18 Nov 1971. All three survived. 953 converted to U-2CT, one of only two trainers eve built for original birds.
Glenn Chapman, e-mail, 14.12.2011 05:59
I worked the U-2 in the 4080th from 1958-1962. Couple comments here. One of the commenters asked about nicknames for the bird. "Dragon Lady" was the original, then from us guys, "The Deuce, "The Useless Deuce, "U-Bird." Next comment was for Ta-183. It was a great bird, although you probably have never seen one, and I was on the launch crew for Rudy. Get it together! Without the Deuce in 1962, you would now be speaking Russian!
DM brown, e-mail, 15.11.2011 21:49
Yep I was a Sferics person 73-76 Where is Little League? Red Neck Ray? Ruddie (rudolph) died a few years ago. Z is out in Gridley. Is Boots around any more? and David is he still playing with hit miss? Dickie Destructo... the name says it all. Thank all of you for giving me many great memories. I forgot Bobb and Weave.. Did he ever make it back from Utapao?
norris barnes, e-mail, 24.09.2011 05:25
i was just wondering does the U-2 have any nick names?if some one could e-mail me and let me know it would be very helpful.thank you
John C Spinks, e-mail, 13.06.2011 03:18
Jet Technition on the U-2 and u-2R at DMAFB 1967 to 1970 with 100SAC tdy veitnam 2 tours . as they say we all worked together to get the bird up everyday, During Inspections aor engine chsnges we all worked to take the plane apart and remove engine and do any update or write ups. Benin Hoa also the 130 with drones. even during the TET offenses we flow every day.
Glen Poulin, e-mail, 21.05.2011 19:09
This brings back some great memories of my days (1971-1974)at DMAFB in Arizona with the 100th AMS. I worked on C & R model U2's,in a shop called "Sferics", which was short for atmospherics, but was really ECM. Our squadron insignia was a question mark, because no one was supposed to know what we were really doing. The electronics on that aircraft was amazingly sophisticated compared to ECM equipment on other model aircraft I had worked on. We were the only people allowed on the flightline with a lit cigarette, because that's how we tested the equipment that the pilot used for detecting a heat seeking missle approaching. We would hold the cigarette behind our hand at more than 50ft, and walk in a circle around the plane to test from every direction.
SSGT Sho-Nuff, 06.04.2011 20:06
1998-2006 U-2 Crew Chief stationed out of Beale AFB. Also 1 year as a Black Cat in Osan AB during that time. Many trips to the Middle East supporting Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. I worked on the very last R model and obviously the S models. The "Glass" cockpit was a later version of the S model. By the way... These unmanned Recon birds dont have anywhere close the capability the U-2 does. Just longer flight hours because there is no actual pilot in the seat. Long live the Deuce!
Art, e-mail, 28.03.2011 07:03
I was one of the U-2 squadron navigators and thoroughly enjoyed working with some fine pilots. Some were a little short though.
Ron Cade, e-mail, 02.02.2011 23:44
The words to express the wonderment of this vehicle are yet to come. As a Photo Interpretera and previously B-47 crew chief I am still in awe, not only of the airplane but the people who designed it and all those who keep putting it in the air. It is a workhorse that really paid its way. Cheers!
Phil Carmichael, e-mail, 18.12.2010 03:33
I was with the first USAF group (known as FOG)to operate the U2 from the Watertown Airstrip also known as The Ranch in the middle of the AEC test site. Col. Jack Nole was our commander from the time we organized at the ranch in mid-1956 until I left 4028th at Laughlin AFB in August 1958. Our team maintained all the Hycon and PerkinElmer camera systems on the aircraft after extensive factory training. All USAF aircraft were delivered from the skunk works by C124's in their natural aluminum color. Other U2's, those operated by CIA, were all black, tail numbers in yellow, and NACA markings. This was before the days of NASA. We regularly commuted from March Air Force Base in C47s to the ranch on Monday and departed on Friday back to March. Several times we were evacuated in advance of aboveground nuclear tests. They did not want us to get dusted with the fallout. Any of you old FOG troops out there yet? Huey Lewing? Fred Revils? Jim ??
Comment: Some of our pilots commented about the aircraft handling characteristics in turns at altitude. Turns had to be gentle so that you did not get one wingtip stall while the other wingtip had gone supersonic. This is one of the best periods of my life.
Daniel Gunter, e-mail, 26.10.2010 03:34
Great aircraft, worked on the R,C and C/T models while in DM AFB and then again (when the recon outfits merged) at Beale AFB from 1974 until 1982. Great bunch of guys to work with, when we were TDY anywhere we made sure the airplane was ready for her next mission (which we flew everyday)no matter what shop you were in you helped out the other shops so we could all go downtown and party. Any Black Cats out there??? Oscar can you hear me??? The S model is better than the R model if you can believe it smaller motor and a "glass" cockpit. If anyone goes by Beale AFB go check it out, call ahead to find out when they have tours.
Ray L., e-mail, 28.09.2010 07:02
My fondest memories from Laughlin AFB in the early 60s are flying in the right seat of a U3A (Cessna 310) chasing U2s. We were the safety pilot for the single pilot U2 during practice instrument approaches.
I was a tower controller and sincerely enjoyed working the the U2 and their crews, just wish I could have flown in one.
The aircraft in the picture looks like one from Laughlin in 1962, tail number is the right series. The U2s were not painted black until after they left Laughlin in 1963.
SandMFlyer, e-mail, 27.09.2010 19:53
THis is the most amazing aircraft ever built. From pencil on paper to flying in just over a year shows that American innovation was next to non in those days! Yes pencil and paper, no computers with aerodynamic models programmed in. Men and women using thier brains, lets try it again someday.
Ta-183, 15.05.2010 17:17
THis plane sucks so bad I feel bad for Rudolf Anderson.
Look up Cuban Missile Crisis
Doug Rodrigues, e-mail, 13.03.2010 12:07
Both this bird and the B-52 look nothing like what they were when I was in the Air Force in the mid 1960's. One humorous story which can probably be found on the internet is a U-2 pilot calling ARTC and requesting Flt.level 700. The Controller asked, "and what makes you think you can get up to 70,000 ? The pilot replies, "Oh, I don't want to go up to 70,000...I want to come down to 70,000."
dude, 21.09.2009 13:25
u should c U2-R
Ed Smart, e-mail, 15.05.2008 21:01
As the aircraft climbed enroute to its cruising altitude of 68,000 to 72,000 feet it passed through a "chimney" in the atmosphere wherein the aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft caused the mach buffet and the stall buffet to approach to within less than 10 KIAS of each other. Since initial mach buffet and stall buffet are similar, the normal procedure was to reduce speed by 1 or 2 knots to see if the buffet got better or worse and airspeed was then adjusted accordingly. Once above the "chimney" the spread improved somewhat. (U-2 pilot, 1962-1966)
Don Burritt, e-mail, 07.05.2008 21:31
Why did the pilot have only + or - 6 degrees of pitch or decent when flying at max alitude? It was stated by a pilot if that envolpe was exceeded it wou stall , or come apart.
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