Posted on: 17 May 2001
Updated on: 12 August 2001

56-6690, Art. #357, then #390

The caption says it all:

"First picture of a U-2A , a/c 56-6690, Later modified to U-2C with J-75 engine, Laughlin AFB, TX 1960"


#6690 being readed for flight in OL-3 Alaska, 1964


Another image of #6690 in Alsaka 1964


#6690 being readed for flight in OL-3 Alaska, 1964


U-2A "Hand Launch" at Laverton, Australia Dec. 64 - March 65

Glenn wrote me with a interesting story of a hand launch experience that one of his fellow maintenance folks had, I'll let Glenn tell it in his own words:

"Also notable on these three aircraft were the aileron counterbalances which had the top of the balancer as a part of the folddown on the wingtip and the folddown extended about an inch higher than the normal U-2s. All others had the counterbalances inside the folddown and could not be seen. The spare parts bird counterbalances could be seen as they moved upward and out of the top of the folddown when the ailerons were moved downward. In fact, Joe Kent, the "father of the hand launch," almost went for a flight during the Cuban Crisis when the cuff of his field jacket was caught in the moving counterbalance on a hand launch off one of these birds on a very cold morning at McCoy. He was able to yank it loose as the counterbalance moved upward and only suffered cuts and skin burns as he fell along the side of the runway. Scared hell out of all of us, especially him! You had to know Joe Kent, however; he chalked it up to just another launch, no big deal. After that, those who performed hand launches were not allowed to wear any garment that could easily be caught on the counterbalance." -© Glenn Chapman 2001

OL-11, Laverton, Australia from December 1964 thru March 1965

First Row, Left to Right: Robinson, Mr. Mason, Capt. Pierson, Maj. Perdue, Maj. Halloran, Capt. Bull, Burnes, Van Der Wage, Green

Second Row: Snider, Willson, Diliberto, Taylor, Swims, Turner, Fruzoli, Riddle, Wheeler, Word, Schmidt

Third Row: Tweehnes, Vire, Chapman, Rosegrant, Perkins, McCubey, Doran, McPherson, winters, Lesmiawski, Hurst

History of 56-6690

21 Sep 1956 U-2A #6690 delivered

19 December 1956, crashes on Indian Reservation, pilot Bob Erickson manages to bailout near minimum altitude, and survives.(TTU)

Then serial number 56-6690 was assigned to Art. #390, which at the time was being built, this was the last aircraft built under the first Air Force contract

18 Sept 1964 U-2 #6690 crashes at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ during landing killing USAF Pilot: Bob Primrose

8 Oct 1966 U-2 #6690 crashed near Bein Hoa AB, Vietnam; USAF Pilot: Maj. Leo Stewart survived

Crashed on 19 December 1956. Pilot: Bob Ericson survived.

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