The U-2 spy plane needs high-performance cars to help land
With a 103-foot wingspan but a body that's just 63-feet long, the layout of the U-2 makes a traditional landing setup infeasible. Instead, the U-2 utilizes a pair of wheels, one up front and one in back. With such a bizarre layout, landings are so tough that since the U-2's earliest flights at Area 51, the US Air Force has used high-performance chase cars to guide the pilot down safely.
The landing process isn't over there, though. As this video from Sploid shows, balancing out the aircraft to fit the detachable "pogos" – think training wheels for spy planes – is a comical procedure requiring a number of airman using their full body weight to even out the U-2.
This video also recaps some of the great vehicles that have served as chase vehicles for this legendary spy plane. They include Chevrolet El Caminos, and the Fox-body Ford Mustangs so favored by the California Highway Patrol. For the last several years, the USAF has utilized products from General Motors, using fourth-generation Chevy Camaros, before switching over to the Pontiac GTO and most recently, the awesome Pontiac G8. It's fair to say that if you're a gearhead in the Air Force, this is the job you want.
Check out the video, embedded up top.
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