Music and Flying II – U2 or U-2?

Some days ago we started a block about music and flying. The first article was about Rammstein. This is the second article of the series.

The Irish rock Band U2 is known probably to most people on this planet. However it is not necessarily known that a military plane manufactured by Lockheed had the same name. It is not official that the band was named after the plane, but taking the fact their biggest idol was Led Zeppelin which also refers to flying, it might have a relationship with it.

So what is U-2?

Lockheed U-2 is also named Dragon Lady. It is a surveillance plane used by the US Air Force. It was developed in the early 1950s, when the cold war made it necessary to know more about each other’s technologies. U-2’s cruising hight is 70 000 feet (jets fly at around 35 000 feet), so it is not vulnerable by missiles and besides that is is outside the reach of radar detection. The plane was designed by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, who was well known at that time in the US army as he designed more aircrafts active at that time. First it was rejected by the army, but later CIA’s attention was drawn to it and following a personal meeting with president Eisenhower, the US ordered the first 20 aircrafts from Lockheed. The Dragon Lady has large wingspan, which makes it easier to fly high, but it makes the aircraft sensitive for crosswind, so landing is not easy with it.

U-2U-2 cockpitU-2 landing

There is a lot to learn about this very special aircraft, so I collected some links for those interested in it:

Wikipedia’s article about the U-2

About U-2 on the website of Federation of American Scientists

James Huggins’ site – his brother was a U-2 pilot

And what is U2?

Well, there is not too much to tell about the relationship between the band itself and aviation. So if you would like to learn more about the band, the best source is Wikipedia. 🙂

By Szafi

4 Responses to “Music and Flying II – U2 or U-2?”

  1. 1 James S. Huggins October 4, 2007 at 12:52 am

    Thanks for the mention. One minor clarification … my brother still IS a U-2 pilot.

    See also here …

    James S. Huggins

  2. 2 szafi October 4, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Dear James, thank you for the additional link. I think your website is really very interesting and I recommend everyone to read it through.
    I loved this video, too:

    James, we would be very grateful if your brother wrote us some interesting facts about flying that plane. It is not an every-day job. 🙂

  3. 3 E-Monk October 9, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    So the next article, B-52’s? 🙂


  4. 4 szafi October 9, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    E-Monk: exactly! Play lottery this week, it seems like your lucky one 🙂

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