Thursday, June 5, 2014

Climb unrestricted to FL600.


We had an unusual motorglider visit yesterday: its best glide ratio is 28:1, approximately that of a Blanik L-13 glider.  I mean the U-2.  The pilot was on his last military flight and did a low pass at his new home airport, where he will be flying a Shrike Commander on wildfire duty.

The U-2 requires a lot of infrastructure to land, so he did not touch down, but he was definitely in ground effect.

The departure clearance was "Break right, climb unrestricted to FL600."  FL600!  I've never heard that clearance before.  I lost sight of him just a couple of minutes later as he reported through FL324.

Someone remarked "I wonder how he'll like flying the Commander after that?"

I think he'll be right at home: both aircraft are from the same era.

[Note added later: Barry Schiff got to fly the U-2, and wrote up his experiences here.  It's good reading.]

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