The U-2’s worldwide flying operations were not disrupted by Tuesday’s crash near Beale AFB, Calif., the Air Force announced Friday. Beale temporarily stopped flying training missions after the fatal crash that claimed the life of Lt. Col. Ira S. Eadie. A second pilot safely ejected and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. However, a Dragon Lady took off from the base at 9:01 Friday morning—a time representative of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, which Eadie was assigned to, according to a base spokesman. “Our ability to fly missions in support of commanders has not been impacted by the recent crash,” said Col. Larry Broadwell, commander of the 9th RW, according to the release. “We continue to carry out our mission of providing high altitude ISR and delivering that decision advantage to combatant commanders.” (Watch video of Friday’s flight.) (See also: Reconnaissance Never Sleeps from the August 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.