[Interesting Aviation Off-Topic]

Normally U-2 takes off with outboard pogo wheels on the wings for balance which are dropped on the runway once the plane is airborne. Here, the U-2 is being hand launched by the ground crew.This consisted of a mechanic physically holding the wing, and running with it as the Pilot took off. Not much speed required on this aircraft to accomplish lift This is sometimes done if the runway is too bumpy, etc. Some times on recovery, a pogo can’t be installed for various reasons. When that happened, a couple of mechanics would jump onto the wing which did have the pogo installed, and ride the aircraft in to prevent the other wing from hitting the ground. This looked really stupid, but at times was necessary.


  1. One Yellow “Chase Jeep” was always used at NAS Moffett Field Ca. when NASA Ames began flying ‘Scientific Ops Hops’, about 1971. the NASA white & Blue stripe U-2 was always recovered this way & sometimes launched the same way. Plane Capt. sat in the right seat of the Jeep & just held on to the port wing tip! Guess we were hi tech after-all!


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