HA6905 Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale Lockheed ER-2 “High Altitude Research Aircraft” 809, NASA, 1999. Buy online now at Flying Tigers.
In 1954 Lockheed received approval to produce a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The creation of this aircraft went to Lockheed’s Skunk Works and the famous Kelly Johnson. The aircraft, a single-engine jet that could provide images day or night over Soviet territory, was labeled U-2 (U=utility) and given the name “Dragon Lady”. The first test flight took place in 1955 and was used by the CIA and the USAF during the Cold War. The U-2 came to international notoriety in 1960 when one piloted by Gary Power was shot down over the Soviet Union.
A derivative of the U-2 known as the ER-2 (Earth Resources 2), in NASA’s white livery, is based at the Dryden Flight Research Center (now Armstrong Flight Research Center) and is used for high-altitude civilian research including Earth resources, celestial observations, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and oceanic processes. Programs using the aircraft include the Airborne Science Program, ERAST and Earth Science Enterprise. Landings are assisted by another pilot at speeds exceeding 120 miles per hour (190 km/h) in a chase car.