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Bloviating Zeppelin: Visit From the CT-2, Our U-2 Variant

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Visit From the CT-2, Our U-2 Variant

Because I work on one portion of a deactivated military base, I am privy to witnessing some very interesting aviation events, to include a Habu flyby, C-17s, US Navy C-135 reconnaissance aircraft, P-51 Mustangs, an Antonov AN-124-100, B-52s, C5s, Soviet helos and all-black T-38 trainers from Beale AFB.

The blacked-out T-38 trainers from Beale are flown by U2/TR-1 pilots from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, keeping up their flight hours. They'll generally appear in pairs and shoot a number of landings, then disappear.

This morning one of only two two-seat U-2 trainer aircraft, modified from the single-seater U-2/TR-1 and designated the CT-2 -- with the second (trainee) cockpit mounted behind and above the cockpit of the (training) pilot in command -- came to visit.

Suffice to say this was a very rare treat -- to be witness to one of only two aircraft extant worldwide, an aircraft of such importance and such history -- not to mention an aircraft that may not exist much longer in the USAF inventory.

On approach, the CT-2 was very quiet and graceful. Its wings rocked minimally and its speed overhead was rather slow. At the end of the runway the pilot trainee hit the throttles and the aircraft made its roar known. A glorious sight to see and hear!

Enjoy the photos (taken with my Sony A300 DLSR); I simply couldn't do politics or personal issues today.



Blogger Ranando said...

Great pics, great opportunity.

Tue Nov 18, 06:19:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

Many years ago we were sitting at the end of the main runway at Barksdale AFB watching the planes come in for the Holiday in Dixie Air Show, we rode the motorcycles out there and were having a great time.

We got the treat of a life time when the SR-71 came over to land, very good looking bird, very strange sounding too, and back in those days we never dreamed of digital cameras, and no one had their Polaroid...

I love seeing these great planes, I often wonder WHY I didn't go Air Wing...

Tue Nov 18, 08:57:00 PM PST  
Blogger Average American said...

Nice looking plane! Makes a guy glad to be on the right side, doesn't it?!

Tue Nov 18, 11:37:00 PM PST  
Blogger Isaac said...

That plane served well for the past 50 years, but I think it is a good thing that it is being retired in favour of the Global Hawk UAV. It is still good for training though.

Wed Nov 19, 02:08:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Isaac: true, but there's something remarkable about viewing these venerable birds; can't say as I get quite so wound up viewing an unmanned drone.


Wed Nov 19, 06:14:00 AM PST  
Blogger Gayle said...

Beautiful pics you took, BZ.

With what you've got going on in your personal life, I can understand not wanting to do a personal post, and what's going on in politics is almost as depressing!

Wed Nov 19, 06:52:00 AM PST  
Blogger Rustmeister said...

While stationed in Korea, the U2 came and stayed at our base while theirs was getting a runway makeover.

One of our lieutenants wrangled a ride on the wing. You see, due to the U2's wingspan, someone had to lay on the opposite wing while the bird made the turn to the hangar. If not, one wing would dip and drag the ground.

We all gathered to watch, and as he came in, with the biggest grin I've ever seen, he yelled "This wing is cold as shit!".

Guess it gets cold at 70k + feet. =)

Wed Nov 19, 08:30:00 AM PST  
Blogger shoprat said...

We still have some of the best stuff in the world.

Wed Nov 19, 09:37:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

The amazing thing is: this stuff is late 50's technology from Kelly Johnson's Skunk Works!


Wed Nov 19, 09:51:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I'll be doing a later post on one of my all-time favorite aircraft, the SR-71. There are aspects of the Habu that will never again be duplicated. An amazing and fascinating craft -- of which there STILL is no comparable replacement.


Wed Nov 19, 09:52:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are gorgeous pictures BZ. I enjoyed the write-up also. My Dad would love to see this post!

Wed Nov 19, 02:18:00 PM PST  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...


Wed Nov 19, 04:24:00 PM PST  
Blogger Alaska Steve said...

Wonderful photos, a testament to both the Alpha and the photographer. Looking forward to your Blackbird post, I can't believe they decommissioned them, they STILL have no equal after all these years. Remember that coast to coast flying start speed record? They do leak fuel on the runway until they get moving - but don't we all? Keep you chin up BZ, people care.

Thu Nov 20, 01:34:00 AM PST  
Blogger dmarks said...

The United States Air Force (and related aviation divisions of the Army and Navy) are truly "freedom on the wing".

Thu Nov 20, 04:37:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Steve: thanks kindly; coming from you I consider that the highest of compliments!


Thu Nov 20, 06:18:00 AM PST  
Blogger Unknown said...

The Skunkworks at it's finest. Used to work with the U2 bubbas when they came to Puerto Rico at Roosey!!

Thu Nov 20, 07:56:00 AM PST  

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