While a 'Silver Dragon' enters, another Dragon Lady bows out

Gepubliceerd op 27 april 2024 om 12:41


On 15 February 2024, Lockheed (Martin) TU-2S 'Silver Dragon', with serial number 80-1078, conducted its first flight after 1,030 days. Almost three years ago, on 21 April 2021, the TU-2S trainer was involved in a flightline accident at Beale AFB (CA) that left her wing damaged.

Although '078' could not be flown to USAF Plant- 42 in Palmdale (CA), where Lockheed Martin typically provides Programme Depot-level Maintenance (PDM) for these aircraft, the wing repair and all PDM work was carried out at Beale instead of Plant 42.

While it was stuck at Beale, '078' became the 'Silver Dragon'. After passing a series of tests, the aircraft was allowed to fly to Palmdale for a fresh coat of paint and became a Dragon Lady again. 

The rare TU-2S now serves with the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale again.

The other way around came U-2S with serial number 80-1085. On 5 April 2024, '085' touched down at Beale for the last time after having flown 17.882,3 hours. Having roared the skies for nearly 38 years, it is hoped that '085' will be preserved or placed as a gate guard. At this moment, an older U-2C variant, serial 56-6714, is preserved on a pedestal at Beale.

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