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U2 @ Akrotiri

Old 7th Dec 2011, 18:00
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Yes, 500N. I wondered about that too, but it looks like the hook is well forward. Probably because of what you say about the tail. To be honest, the whole thing isn't that strong. Certainly not built for carrier ops. Must have had a really small fuel load (watch the take off run) and may even have been stripped down. I shall do some research.
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 18:22
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anyone care to explain a U-2 flying south over Lancaster one sunny afternoon around ten years ago? Bright daylight, perfect visibility. High, but no so high that wing shape / size / engine confuguration / colour / tail arrangement were not clearly obvious.
Atlantic transit?
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 18:31
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JD, well there were dome detachments here on an irregular basis. Go back to post 26 in this thread. THing is, it was so distinctive it was hard to hide, even though it has an amazing angle of climb.
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 18:35
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M2

Sorry, didn't see the video of the carrier landings on the previous page.
It certainly is forward, almost at the base of the wings.

Doesn't the U2 have a solid spar running from one side to the other and the wings are bolted on to the fuselage ? (My apologise for the very bad terminology). I'll see if I can find a reference.

Could the hook being so far forward be connected to this to stop it pulling the aircraft apart ?

.
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 18:45
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James, whilst not wishing to dis your spotting prowess but it might also have been a Cosmic Harvester? Not totally unlike, at height?
 
Old 7th Dec 2011, 18:49
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That would make sense in all regards, 500N. And, yes, an arrestor needs to be bolted to structure. Even the F3's wasn't up to unlimited cable engagements. When we started to get pilots to to do an arrested landing before deploying to the Falklands, we discovered that the manufacturer had imposed a limit of 25 engements per airframe. As it turned out, it could take more than that, but it wasn't an F4 built for the carier. The hook for for emergencies that didn't happen every day.
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 18:56
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I couldn't find the ref i wanted, only in Wiki which I take with a grain of salt.


I did find this though re U2 carrier ops (plus other information)
" It was also decided to see if the U-2 could operate from an aircraft carrier. A U-2 was equipped with a strengthened tail and an arrestor hook. A set of wing spoilers was also added to ensure the aircraft could actually land accurately on the flight deck, rather than floating over the arrestor cables and the carrier capable aircraft were re-designated U-2Gs. One aircraft, Article 349, was AAR and carrier capable and was the only U-2H."

Lockheed U-2S


A couple of good photos here
Aerospaceweb.org | Ask Us - U-2 Aircraft Carrier Operations

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Old 7th Dec 2011, 19:00
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God, in one of those pictures it has the cable, but still airborne. That must have hurt. Good find.
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 19:36
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JD - I think I saw a pic of one in AFM a year or two ago, passing through Mildenhall. Yes, i know it's basically a B57 airframe on steroids but with the wing mounted engines it could look from a distance like a Dragon with the wing pods. Check the NASA website http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/49586main_wb_2.jpg. Actually, the more I look at it, especially the wing shape, the less I'm sure. Oh, bu$$er, ignore everything after good evening then.

Possibly a U2 going up for a sniff at Machrihanish? Mahoosive track, no one for miles and some SEALs (in those days) to keep an eye on it should it have to stay? Can't think of a better place to have an out of the way div for such a beast. The place is now owned by HIAL and the killers have long since gone so I don't think they'll be one there any time soon. I'm sure I was told that they also shot approaches at Lossie/Kinloss too??
 
Old 7th Dec 2011, 19:37
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I sometimes have that problem.
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 19:52
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Green Flash - sorry, I though you were taking the p*** with the "Cosmic Harvester" comment. Didn't realise there was a real aircraft......Paranoias kicking in maybe, I though you were talking realms of psuedo-science. Apologies

I thought about a Canberra derivative, but the wing was wrong.
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 19:59
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JD, no problem
 
Old 7th Dec 2011, 20:18
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There are some (now ex) Air Cadets around who could tell the story of when they had a ride on the wing of a taxying aircraft at Akrotiri.

Exiting at the mid point, only one pogo could be fitted due to the width of the taxyway, and in order to hold down the non-pogoed wing, human ballast was used, lying on top. When I was there, a couple of ATC chaps had the ride of their life - and I bet many people would never believe them in the ensuing years!
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 20:48
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I never got deafened by the black weather balloon at Akrotiri whilst plugging in the Runway Caravan prior to F-4 APC ops!
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Old 8th Dec 2011, 07:50
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anyone care to explain a U-2 flying south over Lancaster one sunny afternoon around ten years ago? Bright daylight, perfect visibility. High, but no so high that wing shape / size / engine confuguration / colour / tail arrangement were not clearly obvious.
Atlantic transit?


10 years ago? AFAIK there were no U-2s (permanently) based here then although temporary visits to RAF Fairford could easily fit that timeframe. Any such TDY deployments would likely come out of Beale AFB via a US east coast stop somewhere or, most likely, direct. In either case their likely track into Fairford could easily bring them down the UK west coast I'd have thought. So transiting Lancaster at altitude is not impossible.
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Old 8th Dec 2011, 10:08
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500N,

The following is a CIA declassified document on the U-2 carrier operations. It contains details of the modifications.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB184/FR24.pdf

From

The National Security Archive
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Old 8th Dec 2011, 10:15
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TEEEJ
Thanks. I am sure M2 and others will enjoy it as well.


No mention of the chase cars on the carrier deck to hold up the wings on landing
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Old 8th Dec 2011, 10:17
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Yes, 500N. That is a fascinating document, TEEEJ. Thanks for posting.

Is that from your personal collection of stolen TS documents or was it really released?

Anyway, I'm off for a few days so see you all later! Be good while I'm away.

M2

Last edited by Mach Two; 8th Dec 2011 at 10:34.
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Old 8th Dec 2011, 10:51
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JD,

As wclark1238 has pointed out the U-2s can route in over the north west of the UK from the Atlantic.

The enthusiasts like to keep track of them. See following.

SBS-1 Mode-S / ADSB Virtual Radar : User Forum • View topic - Non Mode-S U2 in UK airpasce...tracked...how?

On Wednesday a U2 entered UK airspace from the north west , coming in off the Atlantic , bound for Fairford.

SBS-1 Mode-S / ADSB Virtual Radar : User Forum • View topic - U2 80-1070

Dragon 51 was tracked on Planeplotter from about 0800 when he first popped up off the west coast of Scotland at "above" FL600 He came down heading SSE and passed east abeam Wallasey around 0835 Descent was commenced over the N Lancs coast
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Old 8th Dec 2011, 11:34
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Don't they transit through Fairford every so often?
There have certainly been pictures on the spotters websites of this happening
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