Lockheed U-2D
S/N 56-6721

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed “Dragon Lady,” is a single engine, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The aircraft on display at the Blackbird Airpark is the last surviving U-2D model. It sports a second cockpit for an observer operating sensitive infrared radiation detectors in support of the Missile Detection and Alarm System (MIDAS) satellite program (Project Low Card, and later, Project Smokey Joe). The system was intended to provide early warning of a Soviet nuclear attack by detecting and tracking rocket plumes from a missile’s boost phase. This plane was retired in 1980.