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History Chasing The U-2

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Ryan, Apr 20, 2020.

  1. Arominus
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 391


    Ha I do, i grew up right by it, Im a little more downtown these days but i can see the mountain from my front yard.
    kidcampbell71 and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  2. corncobcoupe
    Joined: May 26, 2001
    Posts: 4,947

    Staff Member

    Clear as mud.
    This is the type of stuff that made history cool.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  3. mgermca
    Joined: Mar 2, 2008
    Posts: 205


    James May (Top Gear) went on a guest flight. How they do it today...pretty cool

    kidcampbell71 and J_J2 like this.
  4. J_J2
    Joined: Jan 15, 2020
    Posts: 154


    You are absolutely correct, they got the turbines spinning enough to self sustain. Then they would use a shot of a chemical called TEB (triethylborane) which ignites when exposed to air. The first start carts had nailheads, then changed to BBC (454)

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
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  5. J_J2
    Joined: Jan 15, 2020
    Posts: 154


    I love Edwards! I own a little piece of land in N. Edwards about 5 mi from the base, because I like it so much, a lot of history there. It was originally called Muroc dry lake and they held races there.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    jnaki, stillrunners and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  6. Kevin Ardinger
    Joined: Aug 31, 2019
    Posts: 174

    Kevin Ardinger

    That’s where my father-in-law work. After his stent with the government he went to work for NASA/Ames at Moffett Field as director of the U2 division.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Jeff34 and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  7. Have the 1957 Ford motor brochure some where which has all the offerings including that supercharged 312...kinda why I bought it.
    J_J2 likes this.
  8. Dedsoto
    Joined: Jan 7, 2014
    Posts: 49

    from Australia
    1. Aussie HAMBers

    Dare say this would be one of the wagons at 16:44
  9. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    from SW Wyoming

    Didn't Pete DePaolo have a shop of sorts for the Ford factory stock car program down there in Florida? He was the competition director for Ford during that time, like Mauri Rose was for Chevrolet.
  10. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,055


    Kurtis built start carts for F100 Super Sabers. There are several pictures of them in Ed Hite's book , the Kurtis Story. A good friend worked at North American t that time and helped negotiate with Kurtis as contractor for them.
    Special Ed likes this.
  11. Okie Pete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2008
    Posts: 3,188

    Okie Pete

    Amazing story and history . Thank you for sharing .
  12. earlymopar
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,173


    My brother was in the Air Force and stationed at an airbase in Viet Nam in 1966-67 which was a base for U-2s. He used to mention they used Chevy El Camino's w-327s and 4-speeds with airmen in the back for holding the wing tips for take-off and grabbing them for landings. He said that once the wingtips were released, the El Caminos would peel-off. At that point the U-2 would lift off and go vertical almost immediately.

    - EM
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  13. hrm2k
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 3,688


    I saw a few U2's while stationed at Hickam AFB in Honolulu in the late 60's. Early Mopar is correct. Landing U2's required a person on each side once down to taxi speed. They held the wingtip during the taxi in . Each of those guys were in a jeep ish vehicle strapped in the back. Both jeep drivers and follow me truck were in radio contact with pilot. They taxied the plane right into the hanger. All ground crew members involved in the taxiing of the plane were " arrested " and held in a room with food and drinks until the plane left. It was always a quick service turnaround of 2 or 3 hours. At least that is how Hickam handled it.
    There are small wheel dollies that fit under the wings once stopped. These drop off when the plane leaves and it goes straight up ….instantly
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  14. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,055

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Go to around the 17:00 mark to see the wagons in question.
    Special Ed likes this.
  15. earlymopar
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,173


    Thanks HRM. You are correct about the wingtip wheels. I had forgotten about those. Ah yes Hickam AFB. I was right next door at Pearl Harbor. Take care.

    - EM

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  16. If you want to see a couple of U-2s and an SR-71, go to the Strategic Air Command museum in Ashland, Ne. Its about half way between Omaha and Lincoln off of I-80. I've been there twice. Mahoney State Park is nearby, and a great place for lunch, camping or lodging, but reservations are hard to get. I'm sure Covid-19 has put a stop on everything for awhile.
    das858 and Malcolm like this.
  17. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 343


    Never got to see anything like the spy planes, but we had a lot of the fighter jets when I was stationed at Clark AFB Philippines back in the late 1980's. One of the things I got to do was work with the Navy when they came to Clark to practice carrier landings. We would stretch the cable across the runway and get behind a wall to watch them come in and snag the cable. The Navy crew would disconnect the cable, and it was my job to rewind it and reset the mechanism for the next jet.
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  18. earlymopar
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,173


    I spent a lot of time at the Subic Bay Naval Base so did get around to Clark as well. It's just so hard to fathom all of that area being "industrial" now or at least non-military.

    - EM
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  19. Moffat was where I saw a U-2 takeoff. With all that wing, it seemed to have the takeoff roll of a STOL aircraft, and then assumed a 30 degree climb angle and kept it until it disappeared from sight.
    I also saw the pieces in Beijing military museum, from the U-2 that was shot down over China. It doesn't look much like a F-104, but the design was based on the F-104 fuselage. The design using fuselage gear and wing riders, was to save weight.
    Here are a couple of excellent videos on the U-2.

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  20. Steves46
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 397

    from Florida

    Thanks for posting. I supported the U2 for 8 years while assigned at Beale AFB and enjoyed every moment. On a few occasions I got to drive the chase car (85 El-Camino) during overseas deployments. Very cool aircraft and the only one I know of with a rear view mirror which the pilot watched at altitude to be sure he wasn’t leaving a vapor trail.
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  21. Crankshaft
    Joined: Dec 4, 2004
    Posts: 35


    I spent time with U2s from 1973 to 1976. Back then all the planes were assigned to 100th Strategic Recon Wing based at Davis Monthan AFB Tucson AZ. At that time the chase cars were 1968-69 Chevy El Caminos SS396. The local Chevy dealer took care of the maintenance; Motor Pool couldn’t touch them. I deployed with them a few times to Utapao Thailand and had the same kind of cars there. In 1976, the 100th was retired and all the planes went to Beale AFB to join the SR71 wing, 9th SRW.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  22. k32t
    Joined: Jan 2, 2011
    Posts: 292

    from Hog town

    FYI to add a little Canadian content when the U2 was spying on Russia the plane was stationed in Prince Edward Island. Summer side air force base. when the plane took off or landed after a flight the personnel on base were confined to quarters and light out nobody new why until years after the missions.
    s55mercury66 likes this.
  23. Alaska Jim
    Joined: Dec 1, 2012
    Posts: 286

    Alaska Jim

    the El Camino's with 396's were used in Tailand in '70'-'72
    s55mercury66 likes this.
  24. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 343


    Definitely not kept as nice these days as when the Air Force had it! I was in 3rd Civil Engineering Squadron metal shop from '85 to '88, and got to see a lot of places on the base through my job. Three years there and I still didn't know where some buildings were located, it was a huge place.
  25. john worden
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,598

    john worden
    from iowa

    The U2 hanger was across a set of RR tracks from my plumbing shop (803rd Civil Engineering Squadron) at Davis Monthan AFB 1970-73
    El Caminos were used as chase cars. It was interesting to see, from a distance of course, the planes disassembled into sections for maintenance. They were all flat black.
    It was fun to watch them take off. Launch is a better description as it was near vertical.
  26. The only pic of the El Camino I could come up with.

  27. Shamus
    Joined: Jul 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,152

    from NC

    On my 1st trip to VN I was stationed near Bien Hoa AB in '65. The U2 would take off over us in the early morning while still dark & return late when dark again. The unit joke was "There are no Coors in VN!" I knew of the U2, but never heard of Coors beer. Never heard of it growing up in Boston nor in NC where I was stationed at Ft Bragg (still here). A Coors aficionado explained to me that since there were no U2s in VN, that rational applied to Coors. It was his & others way of trying to keep the limited amount of Coors our unit received to themselves. I do have a heavy duty 9" w/3:50 out of a '57 wagon I pulled from a wagon that a friend of my late wife asked me to get rid of over 25 years ago.

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