The U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane is one of the most iconic aircraft in the Air Force’s fleet, but many people have never gotten a glimpse of it — until last night.
A U-2 conducted a flyover before Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
As Airshow News — which posted this great video of the flyover — noted on its Twitter feed, a low-altitude flyover by a Dragon Lady is a rare occurrence indeed. The U-2 typically flies at extremely high altitudes, sometimes near space, and has a ceiling of more than 70,000 feet. It flies so high that its pilots must wear full-pressure suits similar to astronaut suits.
The wide-winged U-2 carries an impressive variety of sensors, including an electro-optical infrared camera, an optical bar camera, and an advanced synthetic aperture radar. But not even the Dragon Lady could find any trace of Alabama’s defense Monday: The Crimson Tide got shellacked by the Clemson Tigers, 44-16.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.