A Veteran Plane
U-2 spy planes have been in service for 70 years. A plane with such a long service life will experience more maintenance later on and the U-2 is no exception.
Easy Engine Access
The plane’s long cylindrical fuselage can be separated behind the wings. This gives the maintenance crews easier access to the U-2’s engine and engine compartment.
Since the U-2’s missions are mostly flown at very high altitudes, its components are subject to types of damages specific to the aircraft. In addition, it also has numerous unique components, so the U-2 has specific maintenance crews assigned to each part.
Generally, maintenance happens every 1,000 flight hours and takes twelve days to complete. Some of the work is done at different times to reduce distractions and interruptions from the other crews.
The aircraft isn’t the only one that needs maintenance. Helmets, parachutes, and the pilot’s spacesuit-like rig also undergo maintenance and repairs. A fully functional suit is vital to the pilot’s health since the U-2’s cabin is only partially pressurized.