Beale’s Perfect Lady

Maintainers of the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron achieved the first zero discrepancy status on a U-2 Dragonlady in 13 years of flying operations at Beale AFB, Calif. “This was a 1980 model,” 9th AMXS Superintendent CMSgt. John Pinksaw said in a base release. “A 35-year-old airplane scored zero defects. Try to find that on a 35-year-old car.” The “black letter” status indicates an aircraft is free of even minor, flyable, defects and has no required upgrades or modifications pending. “When they handed me this form, I almost fell down,” Pinksaw said. “We were high-fiving, hugging, and all smiles,” SSgt. Stefan Watkins-Krukowski, dedicated crew chief of U-2 serial number 80-1067. “There was nothing that was going to bring us down that day.” The aircraft attained black-letter status July 13, according to the unit.