The U-2 Dragon Lady will forever exist in the highest rungs of aviation lore, both spiritually as well as physically. The brainchild of Skunkworks’ maverick leader Kelly Johnson, the U-2 was built to give the United States the cutting-edge lead on intelligence gathering. Gone were the days of learning about the outbreak of war when enemy tanks rolled over a frontier, the Second World War and its associated carnage made information lags simply untenable. With the Third Reich still smoldering, the Soviet Union took the place of the West’s public enemy #1. Early attempts at keeping tabs with B-47 Stratojet and B-57 Canberra overflights proved too risky, their speed and altitude put them within range of Soviet Migs and unacknowledged air combat took place on several occasions. By the mid-1950s, the U-2 took over high-altitude reconnaissance duty and reigned supreme in that role until the Soviet’s revealed their new surface-to-air missile technology when they shot down CIA U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers in May of 1960.
This incident and the continued development of interceptor and missile technology mandated higher and faster aircraft, culminating in the SR-71 Blackbird. However, the versatility of the Dragon Lady was and is undeniable. Flying from remote locations across the globe and even from the deck of an aircraft carrier, the U-2 continues to fly to this day, long after its replacement, the Blackbird, has been decommissioned. America’s first true spy plane was a landmark in aerospace and is one of the most iconic aircraft to ever go airborne. – A.T. Roberts
The U-2A tags were cut from a canopy that made its way back from the UK decades ago. It was given to a close friend and fellow pilot who passed on its history to me as having belonged to aircraft 56-6692. In 1956, 56-6692 was the 19th U-2 to roll off the assembly line. It was immediately put to good use, and was forward deployed to Giebelstadt, Germany where she began flying photo-reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union. After direct overflight in Russian skies was canceled, this airframe was relocated to Taoyuan, Taiwan, where she began intelligence gathering missions over communist China in the 1960s. It was given several upgrades throughout its life, from a U-2A to a C model, and eventually winding up as a two-seat U-2CT pilot trainer. Finishing up her operational service career in England, 56-6692 was finally retired but remains aloft; it now hangs from the ceiling of the American Air Museum in Duxford, England.
Tags from this canopy were originally released in 2021. The first edition was offered in several variants but only 2 remain: Clear and Black. Both variants got a reboot and feature the original design that was modified prior to the original production in 2021. Like the original Clear tags, the new Clear tags get an original Cuban Missile Crisis photo with a U-2A flying overhead. These tags are stunning. The Black tags are laser etched to reveal a white layer that was painted over at some point in its life.
These tags come with a new cardback by BVR that depicts an original El Camino SS chase vehicle screaming down the runway as a U-2 approaches to land.
There were only 250 of these tags cut when we released this tag in 2021. All of the remaining tags are now offered with this new design and there are not many left!
top of page
bottom of page