‘Flying With the Dragon Lady’

Cholene Espinoza, former U-2 pilot:

The trade-off of a plane built light enough to fly above 70,000 feet is that it is almost impossible to control. And 13 miles above the ground, the atmosphere is so thin that the “envelope” between stalling and “overspeed” — going so fast you lose control of the plane, resulting in an unrecoverable nose dive — is razor-thin, making minor disruptions, even turbulence, as deadly as a missile.

(Via Rich Siegel, who also pointed to this gorgeous photo of a U-2 in flight.)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010