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Lockheed U-2
Lens: Sigma 300mm f2.8 EX DG Camera: K-5 Photo Location: RAF Fairford 
Posted By: Ducatigaz, 09-10-2013, 05:23 AM

Here are some pictures of a Lockheed U-2 Dragon 21 U2 80-1086 departing from RAF Fairford in the UK this morning.








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09-10-2013, 01:27 PM   #2
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Love these shots always been a fan of planes.
09-10-2013, 01:30 PM   #3
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I'm amazed they're still flying. Some of us would be old enough to recognise the name Gary Powers, I imagine. That was all a very long time ago. Good to see, though. Thanks for sharing.
09-10-2013, 02:52 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
I'm amazed they're still flying. Some of us would be old enough to recognise the name Gary Powers, I imagine. That was all a very long time ago. Good to see, though. Thanks for sharing.
They still exist because they are very efficient at taking a payload to very high altitude and satellites only cover a narrow window at certain times. Those pods on the wings contain side-looking sensors, and from high altitude can look far over a border without having to fly over it.

09-10-2013, 05:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
They still exist because they are very efficient at taking a payload to very high altitude and satellites only cover a narrow window at certain times. Those pods on the wings contain side-looking sensors, and from high altitude can look far over a border without having to fly over it.
Thanks for the information! I bet Mr Powers would have preferred looking at the USSR that way, than the close encounter he had...
09-10-2013, 06:16 PM   #6
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I recommend, for a history of Lockheed :
Walter J Boyne, " Beyond the Horizons The Lockheed Story"

For those interested in photography history,
from my notes:
I read that Lockheed was prime contactor on the USA Corona project, photographing the earth at high resolution from the Agena vehicle and recovering the film by snatching parachutes from General Electric vehicles on to Lockheed C-130 aircraft.

Subcontractor Itek provided a 12 inch f/5 panoramic camera called "HYAC"
Kodak provided solutions for film to survive in the cold vacuum.

Lockheed greatly improved the resolution of the original cameras by changing to a 24 inch Petzval lens.
(Petzval lenses are now highly regarded as portrait lenses with sharp focus in centre but soft overall.)

The final resolution of Corona project (as declassified ) was 6 to 20 foot on the ground and they produced prints 7 foot wide by 100 foot long from the pano cameras.
09-10-2013, 07:02 PM   #7
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I like that first one. If I'm not mistaken, the cruise speed and stall speed are only about 10 MPH different at altitude.
09-10-2013, 07:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
If I'm not mistaken, the cruise speed and stall speed are only about 10 MPH different at altitude.
That was true of the U-2A and C models. To maintain an altitude of 70,000 feet they had to fly at a speed very near the never exceed speed. At 70,000 feet the difference between that sipped and the stall speed was 10 knots. This was called the "coffin corner".

They were supposed to be replaced by the RQ-4 Global Hawk by 2015, but that program was cancelled. So the U-2 will be around until at least 2023.

09-11-2013, 03:12 AM   #9
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Thanks for these shots. I also didn't realise that these planes are still operational after almost 60 years of service.
The Gary Powells incident took place in 1960 and yes I'm old enough te remember that.
The U2 was a very special plane for that time and it was designed by the same man who gave us the famous SR-71 Blackbird : Clarence "Kelly" Johnson
09-11-2013, 05:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
Love these shots always been a fan of planes.
QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
I'm amazed they're still flying. Some of us would be old enough to recognise the name Gary Powers, I imagine. That was all a very long time ago. Good to see, though. Thanks for sharing.
QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
They still exist because they are very efficient at taking a payload to very high altitude and satellites only cover a narrow window at certain times. Those pods on the wings contain side-looking sensors, and from high altitude can look far over a border without having to fly over it.
QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
Thanks for the information! I bet Mr Powers would have preferred looking at the USSR that way, than the close encounter he had...
QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
I recommend, for a history of Lockheed :
Walter J Boyne, " Beyond the Horizons The Lockheed Story"

For those interested in photography history,
from my notes:
I read that Lockheed was prime contactor on the USA Corona project, photographing the earth at high resolution from the Agena vehicle and recovering the film by snatching parachutes from General Electric vehicles on to Lockheed C-130 aircraft.

Subcontractor Itek provided a 12 inch f/5 panoramic camera called "HYAC"
Kodak provided solutions for film to survive in the cold vacuum.

Lockheed greatly improved the resolution of the original cameras by changing to a 24 inch Petzval lens.
(Petzval lenses are now highly regarded as portrait lenses with sharp focus in centre but soft overall.)

The final resolution of Corona project (as declassified ) was 6 to 20 foot on the ground and they produced prints 7 foot wide by 100 foot long from the pano cameras.
QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I like that first one. If I'm not mistaken, the cruise speed and stall speed are only about 10 MPH different at altitude.
QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
That was true of the U-2A and C models. To maintain an altitude of 70,000 feet they had to fly at a speed very near the never exceed speed. At 70,000 feet the difference between that sipped and the stall speed was 10 knots. This was called the "coffin corner".

They were supposed to be replaced by the RQ-4 Global Hawk by 2015, but that program was cancelled. So the U-2 will be around until at least 2023.
QuoteOriginally posted by andre-mz5 Quote
Thanks for these shots. I also didn't realise that these planes are still operational after almost 60 years of service.
The Gary Powells incident took place in 1960 and yes I'm old enough te remember that.
The U2 was a very special plane for that time and it was designed by the same man who gave us the famous SR-71 Blackbird : Clarence "Kelly" Johnson
Thank you all for your comments, I get to see 4 of these every month as RAF Fairford is used as a change over point.
Sometimes they come in with chalk art on the side

09-12-2013, 08:42 AM   #11
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You can't say it's a bonny looking aircraft.

Great shots of what I thought was a "secret" plane.
09-12-2013, 10:55 AM   #12
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ahhh... the irreverence of a maintenance crew.... fine captures of this quintessential spy plane.... dave m
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