Quark Likes Getting High
4 GETTING HIGH – is a bit better than Being Low
Lockheed U-2 Flight – 70,000ft (2 Seat TU-2 Trainer)
Yes, it’s James May, aka, Captain Slow of Top Gear fame.
– No, this isn’t from an episode of Top Gear. This was from a TV special called “James May On The Moon”, which was made to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landings. James May has made several series that are completely unrelated to Top Gear.
– The music is called “Flight” performed by Ty Unwin especially for this show.
I’m sad to say that it is not currently available on its own.
– The chase cars on take off and landing are a standard part of U-2 operations. They are there to assist the pilot, especially on landing.
A combination of fragile and unstable rear landing gear, the aircrafts reluctance to descend and a high approach attitude that gives the pilot poor visibility of the ground has made the U-2 very difficult to land and so another U-2 pilot follows behind in the chase car to quite literally talk them down for the last few feet.
Surely the most amazing and humbling views to be seen by any human on a regular basis. The view from a U-2 cruising at 70,000ft as the sky above turns black and the curvature of the Earth is visible.
Despite first flying over 50 years ago, the U-2 continues to serve in the USAF, having outlasted its Mach 3 replacement, the SR-71 (also from Lockheed).
The only people to have gone gone higher on any sort of regular, day-to-day basis were SR-71 pilots.
Emphasis on the day-to-day part.
Astronauts have, of course, gone higher still, but their missions are few and far between.
Same goes for special one-off record setting flights such as those by the MiG-25 prototype, F-15 Streak Eagle or any other zoom climb that exceeded 70,000ft.
There is a special message at the end of the video that I hope can be taken to heart by all.