EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (April 23, 2007) - The Lockheed U-2, an aircraft that grabbed headlines and imaginations during the height of the Cold War and still is a key "eye in the sky" for the U.S. military, is the latest major aircraft to join the long list of featured airplanes at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007, "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration."
EAA AirVenture, the 55th annual edition of the Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention, will take place July 23-29 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
This year's arrival of the U-2 marks the first appearance at Oshkosh since 1997 for the sleek aircraft, which has been in use in various configurations since August 1955. The U-2 is currently scheduled to be at EAA AirVenture on July 26-29 and will be parked on the event's showcase AeroShell Square. In addition, a U.S. Air Force's T-38 used in support of U-2 missions will also be part of the display.
"We look forward to welcoming the U-2 back to Oshkosh this year, as we commemorate the U.S. Air Force's 60th anniversary," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "The airplane's unique shape and flying capabilities, not to mention its history and rarity for up-close viewing, makes it a popular draw. Only at EAA AirVenture can one see the U-2 and scores of other airplanes that have made history in one location."
A U-2 aircraft was involved in one of the most suspenseful episodes of the Cold War, when one piloted by the late Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the then-Soviet Union in 1960. An exhibit of some of Powers' memorabilia, including that from a Soviet prison, was on display at the EAA AirVenture Museum in 2002 and 2003.
The U-2 that will fly to EAA AirVenture 2007 is based at Beale Air Force Base in California, and is one of just 33 that exist - including five two-seat trainers and two ER-2 models operated by NASA. The single-seat models flown by the U.S. Air Force provide continuous day or night, high-altitude, all-weather surveillance. The aircraft provide critical intelligence for both combat and peacetime operations.
Long, wide, straight wings give the U-2 glider-like characteristics. It can carry a variety of sensors and cameras, is an extremely reliable reconnaissance aircraft, and enjoys a high mission completion rate. Because of its high altitude mission, the pilot must wear a full pressure suit. The U-2 is capable of collecting multi-sensor photo, electro-optic, infrared and radar imagery, as well as performing other types of reconnaissance functions.
Along with the U-2, a number of other Air Force aircraft will participate in the 60th anniversary commemoration activities at EAA AirVenture. Those aircraft will be announced as their appearances are finalized.
EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. EAA AirVenture information is also available through the World Wide Web at www.airventure.org.