TheBlaze has brought you footage of some harrowing plane landings and fast cars, separately. But now there’s a combination of the two: a U-2 spy plane is seen coming in for a landing as its chased by a Chevy Camaro (more on why this is needed in a bit).
Check it out:
This video was taken by Airman 1st Class Andrew Buchanan at the Beale Air Force Base in California as part of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing. But why does the Air Force have some of the fastest cars chasing down U-2 spy planes? Turns out they’re not drag racing.
Chase cars, and the military pilots inside the cars (yes, inside the car too), provide an important function to help land this type of plane. The Air Force’s fact sheet on the U-2 explains:
A second U-2 pilot normally “chases” each landing in a high-performance vehicle, assisting the pilot by providing radio inputs for altitude and runway alignment. These characteristics combine to earn the U-2 a widely accepted title as the most difficult aircraft in the world to fly.
Carbuzz explains further the challenge for the pilot that requires instruction from a chase car to land the lightweight plane:
The car carries another trained U-2 pilot who guides the aviator in the plane’s cockpit when taking off (with “pogo” landing gear attached to the wings), but the trickiest part is the landing. Because of the plane’s unique design, the pilot (wearing an enclosed, helmeted flight suit similar to an astronaut’s that limits visibility) has to basically fly the aircraft at 140 mph just two feet off the ground, then cut the engine, deploy the flaps and essentially drop out of the sky. Once on the ground and at a full stop, the pilot drops one of the wingtips onto its titanium skid plate, the pogo wheels (which drop off after take-off) are reattached and the plane taxis off the runway.
Carbuzz goes on to state that the first chase cars were V-8 Ford station wagons, which were later surpassed by Ford Mustangs, the Camaro Z/28s and Pontiac GTos and G8s