Rare ‘Silver Dragon’ TU-2S sighted

After almost three years of extensive maintenance by the USAF’s 9th Maintenance Group in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, TU-2S Dragon Lady, (80-1078/‘BB’), graced the skies once more.

February 15, 2024 was the first time in 1,030 days the aircraft had taken to the air following a flightline accident at Beale AFB, California, in April 2021.

While the aircraft completed its first post-resurrection flight in February, the USAF did not announce the milestone until March 22, after the TU-2S had passed all the required tests, had been repainted with a fresh coat of black paint and was returned to operational service at Beale for the twilight years of the type’s USAF career on March 21. Before arriving at US Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, to be repainted on February 29 (pictured), the TU-2S was affectionately dubbed the Silver Dragon as it was the first silver U-2 to take to the skies since 2014.

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