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70,000 feet above the ground

The spectacular U-2 cockpit view

© by Andrew Buchanan / Gung Ho Vids / YouTube

Source | Andrew Buchanan / Gung Ho Vids / YouTube | 12 April 2014 1 minute
You might wonder why you are able to see the spectacular footage filmed by the pilot of a Lockheed U-2 spy plane nicknamed Dragon Lady. Well, the single-jet engine aircraft is operated by the United States Air Force and was previously flown by the CIA. It is not a modern aircraft, but was in service in the 50’s as a reconnaissance aircraft. A modified version, however, is still in service today. After World War II, the U.S. military decided to develop its strategic aerial reconnaissance to be able to evaluate Soviet capabilities and intentions. It was thought that an aircraft that could fly really high at approximately 70,000 feet would be able to dodge Soviet fighters, missiles, and radar. Lockheed received a 22.5 million contract in 1955 for the first 20 aircraft. The U-2 spy plane not only features a remarkable performance, it is also difficult to fly. Martin Knutson, Director of Flight Operations for NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, once said: “You’re wrestling with the air plane and operating the camera systems at all times, leaving no time to worry about whether you’re over Russia or you’re flying over southern California”. But see for yourself. For more please check out www.lockheedmartin.com