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Lockheed U-2S Dragonlady Optimized for the latest X-Plane version.

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It provides day and night, very high-altitude (70,000 feet / 21,000 meters), all-weather intelligence gathering. The aircraft is also used for electronic sensor research and development, satellite calibration, and satellite data validation.

Shade Tree Micro Aviation pushed the limits of X-Plane to make the U-2S as realistic as possible. When you read the owner’s manual you will see that we relied on a number of sources to complete the project. We acquired the best books available and researched every picture we could find to make the cockpit authentic. The principal modeler spent more than 2 years researching this plane and consolidating the information into the flight and 3D model. The skin textures are masterfully created to replicate two actual aircraft in service.

      U-2S Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)      

Our military-fighter-experienced CFII/MEI/ATP developer provided the model to a former U-2 pilot . The pilot reported that it was very close to the real plane except at very high altitude where X-Plane’s environment makes it a little more forgiving. The multi-function displays are modeled after the actual displays used for basic flight. That is as deep as we can go because the other information is simply not available. All of the other flight systems are as close as we can get you with the information we had to work with. Where information did not exist, we patterned the functions after known military aircraft systems.

To the extent we could, we made all switches function as they would in the real aircraft and placed all systems in the cockpit where they are actually located. Our code writer developed a good representation of the LOROP (long range optical) camera that the actual aircraft has aboard. If you have G2XPL (Win only) or scenery packs, the camera is a fun feature. The autopilot and damper systems function like the real U-2S. We have flight tested this bird for over 100 hours during development. It will become one of your favorite models for X-Plane and give you the most immersive experience of flying U-2 that you will find. We have added unique features to enhance the experience – ice crystal formation on the canopy at high altitude, and fogging if the canopy is not properly preheated for descent.

Our main objective for the flight model is to recreate the landing experience of the real aircraft in "bicycle" gear configuration. The fall-away gear on the wings known as "pogos" actually do fall away visually and functionally after takeoff. According to USAF lore, this is the hardest plane to land correctly in the inventory. If you follow our instructions, you will be able to master it and handle crosswinds up to maximum demonstrated capability of 10 knots. Once you come to a stop, the wing tip lowers to the ground until the "pogos" are replaced by the virtual ground crew one minute after landing or through the manual method in our unique control dock on the left side.

You will also note that the aircraft does not have a turn coordinator. Instead, like most high-aspect ratio gliders, it uses a yaw string on the upper canopy which we have modeled on the plane to respond like the real one. Like other high aspect ratio planes rolling takes a lot of leading rudder to counteract the adverse yaw. That makes the crosswind corrections and ground roll truly challenging!

We are also packaging an X-Adventure with the plane to fly a mission to photograph a target area and/or practice landings. Our adventure writer for that did a great job of providing the feel of an actual interview flight to join the U-2 program and of basic instruction in the U-2 once you are accepted to the program.


We hope you will try it out and enjoy! We have pulled together a lot of talent in the STMA team to make it look great and function realistically in flight. It is a fun and challenging aircraft to fly and the closest chance you will get to experience a U-2S in flight from the pilot's seat!

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