Lt Col Rick Bishop (ret’d) recounts his odyssey within the top-secret world of the U-2 and his time as command offi cer of the only operational squadron of this unusual intelligence gathering aircraft.

Main photo: A U-2R with an ASARS II nose and Det 2 ‘Black Cat’logo on the tail just prior to touching down at Osan AB in South Korea. Peter R Foster
Inset: A 99th SRS patch worn by pilots on their standard issue flight suits. Author’s Archives

The U-2, nicknamed ‘Dragon Lady’, is steeped in intrigue – after three separate production runs it is still gathering intelligence more than six decades on from its first flight in 1955. It operates in direct support of national command authorities and was previously flown by the CIA and later the USAF. The work of this legendary aircraft is still mostly top secret.

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