U-2C, 56-6954, ARTICLE 394


U-2 "Dragon Lady" crash in southern, Arizona

Major Victor L. Milam flying U-2C, Article 394, departed Davis-Monthan at 7:29am for an upper air sampling equipment checkout mission. Approximately three hours later he was descending towards D-M when he encountered control problems with the aircraft.

"Roger, I'm in a turn to the left attempting to ease some of the pressure off the trim," Major Milam reported to Albuquerque Center. Moments later, Major Milam gave a quick follow-up, "four six zero (altitude 46,000 feet) and uh and I'm declaring emergency."

Anticipating the U-2C might break-up at any moment, Major Milam bailed out of the aircraft at 41,000 feet. The U-2C entered a flat spin until it impacted the desert 5 miles NW of Benson, AZ. After ejecting, Major Milam's seat didn't release and became tangled in the parachute shroud lines.  To prevent any further damage to the parachute, Major Milam was able to catch the spinning seat and hold on to it until contact with the ground. Major Milam suffered minor injuries.

In-flight photo of U-2 56-6954. Here’s another view of 56-6954 two years before the crash.


Diagram of "Comm Selector."

Knob from "Comm Selector."

Paper like material reading "HATCH NITROGEN."

Apparently this U-2 had an R2 unit onboard (bad attempt at Star Wars joke, but this part did say, "R2").

Lockheed Skunk Works inspection stamp on U-2 part.

Circuit board of some kind.

Small scattered debris from U-2.

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More scattered debris from U-2.

Several pieces retained their black paint.

U-2 56-6954 at Edwards AFB during an Open House in the 1960's.

U-2 56-6954 at Edwards AFB in 19966.  A slightly different paint job compared to the above version.