U-2 Spy Plane Lands with Help from a Pontiac G8 GT and Ford F-150 Truck

U-2 Spy Plane Lands with Help from a Pontiac G8 GT and Ford F-150 Truck

The war to end all wars” failed miserably, with countless of them following after over just the course of a century. One of them, in particular, has to be credited with a lot of the tech we have today: the Cold War.

As the United States of America and the Soviet Union went head to head in a technological conflict fought from a distance that spanned nearly half a century, both parties came up with wonderful innovations that can only make you think of what could have been achieved if they had worked together, instead of against each other.

The American U-2 spy plane is one such example. Its great design and unique abilities are what kept it in service for over 50 years, and that’s despite the fact that it’s probably the most difficult airplane to take off and land in.

To make matters worse, the nature of U-2’s missions make it so that the pilots are extremely tired when returning, and tired minds are prone to mistakes. The cost of a U-2 is classified, but you can imagine nobody wants to be the guy that tells the commanding officers they’ve crashed one.

Which is why cars are employed to help with the tricky maneuvers.

The weapon of choice for the USAF at the moment is the Pontiac G8 GT, a V8-powered model that makes do with 370 hp from its six-liter engine.

Not the most economical vehicle out there, sure, but when fuelling the U-2 costs in the millions each year, gasoline expenditure is peanut money.

Crashing a U-2 isn’t, which is why these drivers are needed to keep in permanent radio contact with the pilots and guide their approach or departure. With just two wheels in tandem, the spy plane is unable to maintain balance once it lands and loses speed, so it topples over on one side.

Not exactly the pinnacle of modern technology, but a few technicians have to get out of their vehicle, balance the plane using their own strength and install a pair of wheels on each wing manually. The U-2 is like a genius trapped in a baby’s body: it can do some pretty amazing stuff, but it can’t handle the basics.

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