Despite its advancing age, the U-2 “Dragon Lady” continues to fly high-altitude all-weather reconnaissance missions for the US Air Force (USAF) even today. Built by Lockheed, the U-2 is powered by a single engine, and its high-aspect-ratio wings and light construction resemble that of a glider. While its particular planform is required by the high altitudes at which the aircraft flies, this also makes it very difficult to operate. Indeed, the U-2 has to be flown at near maximum speed to avert stalling. Landing is a particularly hazardous undertaking as it uses bicycle-type landing gear and titanium skids on its wingtips. It can fly at altitudes of 21,000m, requiring the pilot to wear the equivalent of a spacesuit.
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