U-2 Spy Plane By Sabrina Pierce

Background Information

Kelly Johnson constructed the U-2 Spy Plane, a single-pilot plane. It was designed to fly up to 70,000 feet, for it can not be shot down or tracked. A lot of learning was to required to fly the plane because of the non-traditional landing gear causes less weight. It could take photos of the foreign countries. These pilots are closely related to astronauts because they have to breath pure oxygen, get food and drink from tubes, and wear pressurized suits. This is one of the few aircraft that has served over 50 years in the US Air Force.

U2 Spy Plane -Kelly Johnson -U2 Spy Plane Pilot

Francis Gary Powers

"I looked up, looked out, and just everything was orange, everywhere. I don't know whether it was the reflection in the canopy [of the aircraft] itself or just the whole sky. And I can remember saying to myself, 'By God, I've had it now'."

  • an American Spy Plane Pilot
  • 30 years old during his incident
  • Korean War Veteran
  • Awards- "The Distinguished Flying Cross" and "The Prisoner of War Medal"
  • Gravestone- "Francis Gary Powers, Capt US Air Force, Korea, Aug 17 1929, Aug 1 1977"
Gary Powers-Powers's Gravestone

The Incident

On May 1, 1960, pilot Francis Gary Powers disappeared from his mission. His U-2 spy plane was shot down above Russia. During this crisis, the pilot of the plane is suppose to kill himself with the self-destruct mechanisms, but Powers did not eject because his position was not quite right. He decided to free fall with a parachute. Powers was then captured and arrested by a Russian secret service, and his broken plane was searched by the Soviet Union. The reason American made for all of this is that Powers was "studying weather patterns for NASA and just went off course." Powers had ten years of prison and seven years of hard labour at the Vladimir Central Prison.

U-2 Spy Plane

The Exchange

  • Gary Powers for Rudolf Abel
  • Rudolf Abel- Soviet Spy that illegally went to America
  • exchanged at Glienicke Bridge in Berlin
Glienicke Bridge

Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • president at the time
  • 34th president
  • had to meet with Nikita Khrushchev (Soviet Union Leader) on May 16 (went horrible)
  • U-2 Spy Plane Incident- biggest failure of presidency
  • admitted that Gary Powers was flying a U.S. Spy Plane
Eisenhower-Khrushchev

The Aftermath

The newspapers said that Gary Powers landed plane intact, told Soviets everything, and did not follow American orders. The papers were half true and half made up. Although Powers was issued with a poisoned pin, the pin was used for decision and does not have to be used under any orders. Although Powers was arrested from his job, in 1962 he restored himself and received a $50,000 award. He was also in some interviews after being released from the Soviets saying "Not the first, the very first" while referring to when he got shot down.

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