Pilot killed as U-2 spy plane crashes in California

U-2 spy planes came to the world’s attention during the Cold War, when one of the secret reconnaissance planes piloted by Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union.
A US Air Force Hazmat team inspects the wreckage of the U-2 spy plane that crashed in the Sutter Butte mountains. Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo
A US Air Force Hazmat team inspects the wreckage of the U-2 spy plane that crashed in the Sutter Butte mountains. Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

WASHINGTON // A US pilot was killed and another injured after they ejected from a U-2 spy plane on a training mission in rural California, the Air Force said on Tuesday.

The plane crashed around 9am local time shortly after takeoff in an unpopulated area in Sutter, north of state capital Sacramento, the Air Force said.

The service had initially said both pilots ejected safely, but later confirmed one was killed.

The plane was assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base, the facility said on Facebook.

Beale spokesman Airman Tristan Viglianco said it was not immediately known if the pilot had died during the dangerous eject procedure or after.

U-2 spy planes came to the world’s attention during the Cold War, when one of the secret reconnaissance planes piloted by Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union.

The Air Force still has 33 U-2s in service, five of which are two-seat trainers.

With a maximum altitude of 70,000 feet the U-2 was initially designed to fly out of reach of Soviet air defences.

* AFP

Published: September 21, 2016 04:00 AM

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