EDGE OF SPACE !!! Cockpit View in US Air Force U-2 High Altitude Aircraft

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Fly to the edge of space in a US Air Force high altitude aircraft. SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Maj. Thomas Ryan of the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron has just reached 2,000 flying hours, a rare milestone in the career of a U-2 Dragon Lady pilot.

The 99th ERS mission pilot is only the 25th U-2 pilot in history to reach that mark, with more than 1,000 of those hours in direct support of combat operations.

Maj. Ryan returned from his flight looking a little flushed, but happy.

"After that last flight, my bum hurts, my back is sore, I feel tired and fatigued," he said. "But I feel great!"

The achievement marks a major step in his storied Air Force career, which began in 2001 after a 12-year stint in the U.S. Coast Guard. Since then, Maj. Ryan has deployed 14 times in support of current operations and also served a one-year remote tour. Ten of those deployments have been to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and he will return at least once more before retiring.

Maj. Ryan is also the only U-2 pilot to make the transition from the Coast Guard. With his addition, there is now a U-2 pilot from every branch of the U.S. military in service at this time.

A reception committee greeted Maj. Ryan after his 10-hour flight. The group included the maintenance support personnel as well has his squadron and wing leaders.
Brig. Gen. H.D. Polumbo, Jr., commander of the 380th AEW, noted the personal and professional significance of his accomplishment.

"When you have an officer who has flown as long as Maj. Ryan has in the U-2, it gives me plenty of confidence to report back to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander that we can do the tough missions" said Gen. Polumbo.

Not only does that experience have operational value here, Maj. Ryan uses his experience to mentor new pilots at his home station of Beale Air Force Base, Calif., as an instructor pilot.

"He's provided me with some tips that I've incorporated into my skill set, improving my understanding of the jet and enhancing my ability to continue flying the U-2 in a combat environment," said Gen. Polumbo.

A U-2 pilot's mission typically involves flying to approximately 70,000 feet while wearing a full pressure suit, much like an astronaut. The missions are typically in excess of 9 hours long and are used to gather intelligence information essential to wartime operations.

In light of all this, achieving the 2,000 flying-hour mark takes not only dedication and focus, but great discipline, judgment, and stamina, said Gen. Polumbo.

In light of technological improvements to the U-2 systems and the speed at which imagery can be sent to analysts, the aircraft has seen an increase in sorties at deployed locations. This requires the pilots to log more hours to support the mission.

"I couldn't be more proud of Tom," said Lt. Col. Vincent Catich, the 99th ERS commander. "He flies for 10 hours a day every four days. That is absolutely incredible. He is a true asset and American hero."

Reaching such a career milestone can mean much more when it is in support of combat missions in the operational theater while surrounded by fellow Airmen, all working toward the same mission.

"When you see him around, go ahead and shake his hand and congratulate him," said Gen. Polumbo.

Video Description Credit: Staff Sgt. Mike Andriacco

Video Credit: Airman 1st Class Andrew Buchanan

Thumbnail Credit: Airman 1st Class Andrew Buchanan Modified by ArmedForcesUpdate

Comments

teebosaurusyou says:

Interesting job – chase car for U-2 spy planes. The race to catch up, then the pilot goes – see yah – and disappears!
The second half – making cool home videos while you are at work. Damn my desk job!
Sun visor is a neat design!

Eduardo Fernandez says:

@11:07 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

NOTABOOS says:

First 10 min is bullshit.

LAMASIN X says:

Why is that black plane keep coming back just to land and ride in front of the plane?

Flat Earth Data says:

Thanks for the flat earth proof ..

Zubair Shaikh says:

From a certain distance above a sphere given the size ratio of man vs the Earth one can see only the circumference of the globe / sphere and not the curvature that would visually appear to be noticeable only if one can see beyond the horizon and that is possible only if one gets in a position to see the Earth from a very far off distance.
Take an Orange and consider your vantage point to be at the center and very low at any point above the surface. Turn your eyes in 360° and all you will see is the circumference and not the dropping away curvature. Its simple physics.

Donksplat123 says:

keep flying to other side of planet and you'll be upside down…..our kids know this simple fact

Beto Lazo says:

Looks flat to me

Gio Salazar says:

It does show some curvature but what do you expect a flat square earth were all the edges are flat

kanjitard says:

17:32 I'd smashed the window and climbed out to remove that wiggly thing

rahul sinha says:

Haters will still say earth is not round

Reality NotFiction says:

Nice and flat, if you think its a ball send me a pick of someone upside in Antarctica. USMC

Levi Brennan says:

An A1C got to film this?!?

Elbert Bass says:

How freaking awesome is that??

Best job in the world.

Anita Vag says:

I was this high last night

JonnyBlaze2006 says:

I have a question. If the curve is coming from the curved cockpit, why the hell is the wing outside straight and the horizon is curved. You guys are idiots!!

Ermir Kadija says:

Great video. Thnx for posting

Brian Mauk says:

Or there can be the appearance of curvature because…… Check this out….. The earth is round… I'm a rebel I know! Lol. I find it hilarious that any pic or vid showing curvature of the earth… It cannot be curved, it MUST and HAS TO be as a result of a fisheye lens, CGI or its the glass that's giving it shape. FE is far from an unbiased movement and is predicated on conspirisy first and any counter proof or evidence is rejected by the assumption of trickery (paranoia). So call me a fool for believing modern science but being a conspiritard and thinking behind every blade of grass lurks a conspiracy is none the wiser.

Chad Snow says:

13 miles up is NOT even remotely close to the edge of space. If he were twice as high, still not half way to the lowest edge of space.

86Magn says:

Beautiful video! One of these days I wished I was a pilot!

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