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Long time MCT, technical trainer and consultant. I freelance for clients big and small. Consulting and teaching my way round the world

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The Dragonlady

Slightly off topic post from technical news and computing for today. If you have ever attended one of my classes you may know that one of my interests outside of Microsoft and all things computing is 20th century history focused on the periods between the end of the second world war and December 25th 1990. Commonly known as the cold war.

One of the most interesting technical achievements of the time was the Lockheed U-2 spyplane codename 'DragonLady' It made its maiden flight in 1955 and was designed to over fly the then Soviet Union at an altitude so high that it could not be intercepted by any Soviet intercept aircraft or AA missiles.

Developed at 'Skunkworks' plant for top secret designs and headed up by Kelly Johnson the U-2 was like nothing anyone had ever seen before, and required a few special slightly over the top elements of support to keep it operational on a day to day basis. For example, to land ond of these planes since the wings are so wide requires another U-2 pilot on the runway in a high powered corvette to guide the plane to a safe landing without scraping the wings on the tarmac.

So why am I posting about this today? Mainly because the CIA have released to the public the previously secret U-2 flight manual for the public to peruse at their pleasure. The CIA don't declassify information like this on a regular basis, but if you are interested in then cutting edge technology or even could be argued still cutting edge technology (the U-2 is still in active service) it is a great insight into the history of a time when the world was on edge. Communism on one side and capitalism on the other, back in 1955 it was not so clear cut as to who was going to come out on top.So here you go, the full 1959 version of the Dragonlady flight manual.


Utility Flight Hb 1 Mar 1959 by Jason Torchinsky

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