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Old 05-13-2013, 12:52 AM   #1
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Thumbs up A Ride in the U2

You can see why the U-2 is considered the most difficult plane in the world to fly. Each pilot has a co-pilot, who chases the plane on the runway in a sports car. Most of the cars are either Pontiac GTOs or Chevrolet Cameros the Air Force buys American. The chase cars talk the pilot down as he lands on bicycle-style landing gear.

In that spacesuit, the pilot in the plane simply cannot get a good view of the runway. Upon takeoff, the wings on this plane, which extend 103 feet from tip to tip, literally flap. To stabilize the wings on the runway, two pogo sticks on wheels prop up the ends of the wings.

As the plane flies away, the pogo sticks drop off. The plane climbs at an amazing rate of nearly 10,000 feet a minute. Within about four minutes, I was at 40,000 feet, higher than any commercial airplane. We kept going up to 13 miles above Earth's surface.

You get an incredible sensation up there. As you look out the windows, it feels like you're floating, it feels like you're not moving, but you're actually going 500 mph... The U-2 was built to go higher than any other aircraft. In fact today, more than 50 years since it went into production, the U-2 flies higher than any aircraft in the world with the exception of the space shuttle.

It is flying more missions and longer missions than ever before nearly 70 missions a month over Iraq and Afghanistan , an operational tempo that is unequaled in history. The pilots fly for 11 hours at a time, sometimes more than 11 hours up there alone. By flying so high, the U-2 has the capability of doing reconnaissance over a country without actually violating its airspace. It can look off to the side, peering 300 miles or more inside a country without actually flying over it. It can "see" in the dark and through clouds.

It can also "hear," intercepting conversations 14 miles below. The U-2, an incredible piece of history and also a current piece of high technology, is at the center of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan .

Enjoy the ride! Lockheed U-2 Take A Ride in a Spy Plane, Click the link below.

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Old 05-13-2013, 03:49 AM   #2
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Amazing!
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:22 AM   #3
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Excellent. Was that BAFB? Was privledged to watch a U2 launch. My business does the radio installs for the chase vehicles.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:07 AM   #4
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Smile

Great info and intresting. I had to check the Ceiling Limit on the U-2. I would of thunk the 71 was higher but Noooooooo you are so correct. U-2 Service ceiling is 85,000 ft where the 71 is 60,000.

Far out great piece of info

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Old 05-13-2013, 11:02 AM   #5
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What is the OAT at that altitude? I saw ice on the wind screen.

We can tell there is a U2 in the area here near Beale AFB. They glide around and then you hear a tremendous roar for a few seconds, then silence again. I was flying my little puddle jumper over the runway of Beale under Sacramento control. Heard another little one behind me ask to do the same. They said negative, they were already holiding a U2 for another plane. I hurried as fast as I could .
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:37 AM   #6
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The SR-71 website lists the service ceiling as 85,000'+

SR-71 Online - SR-71 Blackbird
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:45 PM   #7
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Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

In the early 70s I lived and worked in Silicone Valley and we watched U2s doing their climb out (Moffet Field NAS)... nearly straight up! My BIL was on the ground crew of the SR71s at Beale in the 70's and had fascinating stories to tell.


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Originally Posted by bonzocfi View Post
The SR-71 website lists the service ceiling as 85,000'+

SR-71 Online - SR-71 Blackbird
Ditto. I don't think anyone believes that 60,000' ceiling. I was also surprised that the U2 could travel at 500 mph.

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Old 05-13-2013, 12:49 PM   #8
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I was at Moffett Field during the late 70's. If memory serves, they had a standing 1000 departure which you could just about set your watch to.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:39 PM   #9
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Very COOL to be sure.
Thanks for posting.
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Old 05-13-2013, 04:47 PM   #10
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There is a big difference between service ceiling and maximum ceiling. Many times the two get mixed up or not understood at all.
Fair Winds

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:01 PM   #11
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Very cool thanks for sharing
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:42 PM   #12
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Enjoyed that- Thanks

At their operational ceiling of 70,000 feet (21,000 m), the early U-2A and U-2C models had to fly very near their Never Exceed Speed (VNE). The margin between that speed and its stall speed at that altitude is only 10 knots. This is referred to by the pilots as the "coffin corner". For most of it's time on a typical mission the U-2 was flying only five knots above stall. Or 5 knots below the speed at which the aircraft could be overstressed and come apart.,
Later models had a little more latitude.
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