Lieutenant Colonel Rick Bishop
99 Spring Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012
9781910809099 $24.95 hc amazon.com
Synopsis: At the very edge of the atmosphere, invisible against the deep indigo sky, lurks a spy plane so sophisticated that it replaced the SR-71 Blackbird some 30 years ago. Its flat black shark-like skin deflects and absorbs all but the most advanced radars, leaving it to roam undetected while silently gathering detailed intelligence. Considered a 'National Asset' the U-2 Dragon Lady, in its various forms, has been in continuous military service for over six decades. Indeed she is deemed so important that she has enjoyed three separate production runs at the super-secret Lockheed 'Skunk Works', each time emerging with new and highly classified intelligence gathering capabilities.
Rick Bishop, a former U-2 pilot, takes the reader deep into the Black World of 'air-breathing' (non-satellite) reconnaissance, with a revealing and detailed account of the trials and challenges of flying a machine widely acknowledged as 'the most dangerous aircraft in the world', as well as revealing the personalities and adventures of some of the elite cadre of hand-selected pilots who have the right stuff to tame the Dragon Lady. From the grueling two-week interview process, through early training flights to many exploits flying top-secret missions around the world, and his eventual rise to Commander, the author sheds new light on a world that is largely unknown outside the tight fraternity of U-2 pilots and support personnel.
Critique: Shady Lady: 1,500 Hours Flying the U-2 Spy Plane vividly recounts author and former U-2 pilot Rick Bishop's personal experience handling this highly specialized aircraft in high-altitude recon missions. A handful of color photographs, a glossary of terms, and an index round out this viscerally descriptive, "you-are-there" experience. Thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Shady Lady is highly recommended, especially for public and college library military and aviation history collections.