The U-2 is an ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft that is used by the US Air Force. In the early 1950s, with Cold War tensions on the rise, the Air Force desired better strategic reconnaissance to help determine Soviet capabilities and intentions. The existing reconnaissance aircraft, primarily bombers converted for reconnaissance duty, were vulnerable to anti-aircraft artillery and missiles. It was thought an aircraft that could fly at 70,000 feet would be beyond the reach of Soviet missiles, and even radar. This would allow overflights to take aerial photographs.
My first run in with this unique aircraft was while I was on alert with the National Airborne Operations Center at Beale AFB, CA. While on alert there, some of us got to take a ride in the Chevy SS Camaro catch car. That’s right, I said catch car. One of the craziest things about this aircraft is it has a catch car that helps guide and land the U-2. The pilot actually has to stall the aircraft when it comes in for landing every time because the pilot’s vision is highly obstructed during this period. I must say it was a pretty cool experience. I later ran into the U-2 while I was stationed at Osan AB, Republic of Korea.
Another interesting fact about the U-2 is that it was also used by the US Navy, NASA and the CIA. Actually the Central Intelligence Agency was the first to use the U-2 and that was were it got it’s code name “Dragon Lady”. The first flight occurred at Area 51 on August 1, 1955, during what was intended to be only a high-speed taxi run, but the wings were so efficient that the aircraft jumped into the air at 70 knots (81 mph; 130 km/h).
This Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) U-2 Dragon Lady diecast challenge coin is the 4th aircraft in our latest collection It is made out of polished black nickel with the patch laser etched into the belly of the aircraft and hard enamel paint for detail. The patch is from the Central Intelligence Agency. This unique diecast coin has a 3 inch wingspan.
If you like this coin you can purchase it or one of my other unique aircraft challenge coins by clicking on my My Store.