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Lockheed U-2C
"High Altitude Research Platform"

Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady
Aircraft serial number 56-6741
9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing,
99th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron
United States Air Force
Beale AFB, California
August 1981.

Acadamy Minicraft

This model added to on January 23, 1999
Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C
The U-2 was conceived by Kelly Johnson, chief engineer of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation and founder of the famous Lockheed "Skunk Works". Becoming the chief engineer at Lockheed would be a dream job for any student with an online engineering degree. Kelly Johnson was one of the most talented and prolific aircraft design engineers in aviation history.
Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C
The U-2C features a Pratt and Whitney J75 engine delivering 17,000 pounds of thrust, coupled with an 80 foot wingspan, allowing the U-2 to cruise at 80,000 feet for over 4,000 miles un-refueled.
Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C
All U-2 variants have main landing gear that retract into wells in the fuselage and twin wheel "pogo" landing gear in the outrigger position.
Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C
The "pogo" is secured with a locking pin that is removed just before take off, allowing the wheels to fall free. After landing using the wingtip skids, the "pogos" are re-attached for taxiing.

Operation Overflight: The world learned about the U-2 on May 1st 1960, when CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down while attempting the first overflight to completely cross the Soviet Union. The objective was to photograph the Soviet ICBM sites at Plesetsk and Sverdlovsk. Soviet forces have since claimed that they had planned to destroy the U-2 at all costs. As Powers reached Sverdlovsk, as many as 14 SA-2 SAM missiles were launched simultaneously and exploded near the aircraft. The shockwaves overstressed the U-2 and Powers bailed out before it broke apart. Powers was captured, taken to trial, and sentenced to 10 years for spying. After one year and nine months, Powers was released to the U.S. in exchange for a KGB agent captured in 1958.

Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C
The U-2C was modified with a short scoop fairing, nicknamed the "Sugar Scoop", under the exhaust in order to lower infrared signature visible to SAMs below. The kit was missing this detail, so I made one out of thin sheet styrene.
Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C
The optic protruding from the underside of the fuselage below the cockpit is the drift sight, giving the pilot a panoramic view below the aircraft. The optic in front of the cockpit is probably an astro-inertial navigation star tracker similar to that of the SR-71. (I can't find a reference)
Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C
This kit is loaded with options for U-2 variants A through D. I chose to add the Slipper tanks on the wings, bulged air intakes and dorsal electronics fairing - all common to most C models.
Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C
I'm very proud to have completed this rarely seen model in my collection. I can only hope that when the last Me-109 variant ever conceived has finally been released, some manufacturer will produce a 72nd scale U-2R.
Academy Minicraft Lockheed U-2C and Lockheed SR-71
My U-2 is sharing tarmac with it's other partner in crime, my SR-71A Blackbird. Both are legendary for providing intelligence in areas where they are not necessarily welcome.

Academy 1:72 scale Lockheed U-2C
Acadamy Minicraft
Kit: Acadamy Minicraft #1653
1/72 Scale
Scale: 1/72
Decals: The kit decals aren't bad, but I chose SuperScale Sheet # 72-462 instead. I wanted a more modern all-black paint job instead of the early natural metal U-2.
After Market Parts: None
Customizations: I reshaped the seat and created harnesses and buckles out of masking tape and wire. I Added the taxiing/landing lights, the nosewheel door retractors, and the "Sugar Scoop" infra-red deflector under the exhaust. (designed to lower the U-2s heat signature).
Cost: I paid $8.00 for this kit at MAL Hobby Shop in Irving, TX in 1998. The box came with a nice thick protective coat of dust on it. This was a great value for an excellent rare kit.
Comments: This is a great kit with crisp recessed panel lines. The fit was excellent with the exception of the wing to fuselage joint. I ended up sanding off the tabs on the wings and then sanding the stubs on the fuselage to match. Then a little filler to finish hiding the seams. My "pogos" were a little too short to drag the ground properly, so I made some new ones from scratch. Tons of options include two different intakes, slipper tanks, two different Q-bay covers, two different dorsal electronic canoes, single canopy or second canopy with the pickle barrel air scoop. It took me a while to decide which one to build. Cockpit is light on detail, but fine since the canopy is closed.
Research: Squadron/Signal Publications "U-2 Spyplane in action".

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