You might think that by now, in the 2020’s — with advanced satellites and unmanned aerial systems so prolific — that we wouldn’t need to go through all the trouble of spending days preparing a pilot for a manned spy mission in the upper reaches of our atmosphere wearing what amounts to an astronaut suit in a plane that enjoys only a few knots between stalling and over speeding. Think again.
On this episode, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Michael “Lips” Phillips explains why the 60-year-old Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady remains in such high demand today, often times being tasked at the highest levels of government. As an aircraft series episode, Lips discusses the variants, armament (or not), and performance of this aircraft while also describing what it was like to fly, which began a day before the mission.
Past guest Tra “Fish” Calisch returns as cohost and helps answer listener questions on how search and rescue missions are initiated, whether Air Force aircraft could land on a carrier (they do have tail hooks, after all), and what sounds F/A-18 crews can hear in the jet when on an aircraft carrier flight deck.
Episode artwork adapted from original photography by Molly Hauxwell. Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at the MuscleCar Place Podcast Network.