This post is appearing on Autoblog Military, Autoblog's sub-site dedicated to the vehicles, aircraft and ships of the world's armed forces.

Aircraft maintenance is no laughing matter. Keeping planes, especially multi-million-dollar spy planes, in the air requires loads of work. Like many military aircraft, the U-2 spy plane gets a complete and total disassembly, a thorough inspection of all its parts, and in the case of the Dragon Lady, a complete repainting.

Sploid has an awesome time-lapse video of the process, which is handled every 4,700 flight hours by Lockheed Martin technicians. The video shows everything from the roll in to the post-maintenance takeoff, with the breakdown of parts, stripping of paint and the general inspection shown in a decent degree of detail. What we find most fascinating, though, is the way the entire plane seems to come apart like a giant Lego assembly. The wings and tail just sort of pop off, leaving the surprisingly tiny fuselage to be inspected.

Following the inspection and reassembly, the U-2 is returned to the Air Force where it can conduct its usual spying and reconnaissance operations. Check out the video at the top of the page for the full clip.


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