Re: U2 spy plane & chase cars
funny story... a couple years ago, we were at a location (won't bother tellin ya where cause I can't) on the way home from a deployment to afghanistan. Suffice it to say it was somewhere in the civilized world. I have a friend that does structural maintenance (sheetmetal) on U2's that I was stationed with at another base previously. I ran into her on base and asked what she was doing there. she was with the U2's that were there at the time. Cool. even for me, being in the USAF, we don't get to get up close to them unless we are escorted by someone that has the clearance. so she gave me and the boys a tour.
now the funny part of the story. she told me about going to get a rental car to use for the chase vehicle. she said the conversation went something like this: "so we need a convertible with a back seat. what is the fastest one you have? can it do over 130mph?... uh why ma'am? are you planning to drive it that fast? No, just curious." they ended up renting an AMG mercedes. NICE. now the other funny part. when they were getting their flightline driver's licence (you have to get one and take the test at each different location. they don't really transfer from one base to the next)... there was a question about the max speed on the flightline. 25mph. so they asked if they would be allowed to do 130 down the active runway?... a very surprised and loud NO was the answer. they replied well, we have to... what do we need to do to get permission. In the end they were granted what they needed, but it was not easy working with a foreign government and their airfield rules. being that I speak the given language for that country, I found it all the more entertaining hearing the local guys complaining about "The Americans just do what they want on our airfield!". the local workers were obviously not given the whole story.