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On page 6 of the September Muscle Car Review post exchange a guy wrote in about Air Force SS 396 El Caminos. He said they were blue with white tops and had AF numbers on the doors. They were used to chase down U2 reconnaissance planes to install the landing wheels before the plane stopped on the runway. This sounds so wild it may be true! Does anyone know anything about or have pictures of these SS AF El Caminos ?
 

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I have heard at one point along the way in the U2 business the Air Force did something like that, i.e. chasing down those planes while they still had enough speed/control to keep the wings off the ground. Using 396 El Caminos makes the story even more interesting. I have some friends still in the Air Force and I'll check and see what they know about this.

If they really used El Caminos, they are certainly long gone. Where did you hear about this?
 

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On the Discovery channel, the WINGS program is an hour long documentry about different aircraft from past and present. When the U2 show was on (these programs are repeated from time to time), they did in fact show and tell about the late model (at that time) Z-28s that L6571SS mentioned. They got up to speed (had to be damn fast) with the landing U2 to help guide the pilot in. That had to be a trip! Therefore, I can very easily believe that these SSElkys probably did exist. The Z-28s were (are) fitted with a radio which would transmit/receive the same as the aircraft/tower and maybe other AF equipment. I work for the AF in the division that manages Billy's plane (AF-1). All I can say is that I have seen a number of things that most, if not all, of the world may never know about. It is very possible that I have waved at one of the guys at this site at 25,000ft from about 30ft away. Right Mat?

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When I was on Active duty I was at Beale AFB in California, which is where they have alot of the U2's stationed. When I was there (1992) they were using 5.0 mustangs, But in talking to they guys who drove the cars, yes they did use ElCaminos before that. Now that I am in the Air Guard we were stationed at the same base as the U2's for this little Kosovo thing and they are now using Z-28's to do the same purpose. Most of them have the front passenger seat taken out so the the guy with the pogo stick wheels for the U2 can get out easily. Not only do they carry the landing wheels for the U2, but since the visibility is so poor on landing in a U2 the guy driving the car also has to tell the landing pilot how far he is off of the ground, and if he is in the center of the runway or not. I would imagine that any of the ElCaminos are long gone, since watching the way they were driven, I have to think that they were probably sold for junk to the wrecking yards. And yep you are right DZAUTO just did the E-4 the other night as a matter of fact. Mat ACES #2424

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[This message has been edited by ELLI (edited 07-08-99).]
 

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YES, I saw one in Thailand 1972-73. There is a mention of this at Dan Carrs Strange Siteings page for el caminos. You can access it from the front page of Team Chevelle. Honestly don't remember what color it was, but it wasn't white/blue. War time rules you know.

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Rick Schaefer
72 El Camino
TPI 350/700r4
Aces #00140
TEAM CHEVELLE #00038
NCOA #16197
 
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