One pilot was killed and another injured after ejecting from a Lockheed Martin TU-2S Dragon Lady training aircraft in California on 20 September, the US Air Force confirms.
An unconfirmed mobile phone video showed the TU-2S descending to the ground while two parachutes opened. The incident occurred near Sutter Buttes, a geologic formation near a U-2S unit’s base at Beale AFB, California.
The 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, Col Larry Broadwell, confirmed the TU-2S crash that occurred after 9am, but offered no details other than referring to the flight as a training mission.
The lost TU-2S was one of five two-seat versions of the high-altitude surveillance aircraft in the USAF fleet. Another 28 single-seat U-2S aircraft are used for operational missions.
The USAF plans to retire the U-2S fleet after 2019, replacing the aircraft with the unmanned Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.