U-2 DragonladySpy Plane Crashes in California.

The U-2 Dragon Lady crashed about 9:05 a.m. near West
Butte and Pass roads shortly after takeoff, Beale Air Force Base officials
said.The crash caused several grass fires in the nearby peaks.Those have been contained.

The aircraft was assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base and was on a training mission, officials said.

Witnesses said they saw two parachutes carrying people and a third carrying equipment.

The pilots' identities have not been released.

The incident is under investigation. Col. Larry Broadwell said everything about the flight was routine until moments before the crash.

No additional information has been released.

According to Lockheed Martin, this two-seater U-2 is only used for training and is one of only five such aircraft in operation. The U-2 has a wingspan of 103 feet and is 63 feet inlength. It can reach cruising speeds of 475 mph. Most of the current fleet of U-2s were built in the late 1980s, according to Lockeed Martin.

A U-2 plane from Beale Air Force Base crashed in August 1996 into the parking lot of the Oroville Mercury Register after declaring an inflight emergency 15 minutes after take off.

Capt. Randy Roby ejected before the crash, but was found dead in his ejection seat two blocks away. One civilian was killed and two other people on the ground were hurt.

A fire broke out in the plane's air conditioning unit, but no one knew why. Investigators said the U-2 technicians made no errors during the flight.


By: curzon09 (730.16)

Tags: U-2, Spy Plane, California, Butte County, Crash, Fatal

Location: United States