Spy Plane Pilots Look Like Badass Retro Astronauts

Illustration for article titled Spy Plane Pilots Look Like Badass Retro Astronauts

Taking a spin in a U-2 spy plane isn't like hopping on a regional trip to grandma's house—pilots cruise at a staggering 70,000 feet. How high is that? High enough to require a spacesuit.


U-2 pilots like these at California's Beale Air Force Base are strapped in to a pressurized suit and begin breathing pure oxygen up to an hour before they even hop in the cockpit. But they're probably in no hurry to don the spectacularly-cool looking duds—totally reminiscent of Mercury-era spacesuits—as they might be up there for over 12 hours. That's a lot of spying. [USAF]



Someone educate me here, please: Is that 'spy-plane-piloting' thing still en vogue? I thought there are drones (for reachable areas) now, or high-resolution space imagery (for the not-so-reachable areas)?