Taking a spin in a U-2 spy plane isn’t like hopping on a regional trip to grandma’s house — pilots cruise at a staggering 70,000 feet (21,366m). How high is that? High enough to require a spacesuit.
U-2 pilots like these at California’s Beale Air Force Base are strapped in to a pressurised suit and begin breathing pure oxygen up to an hour before they even hop in the cockpit. But they’re probably in no hurry to don the spectacularly cool-looking duds — totally reminiscent of Mercury-era spacesuits — as they might be up there for over 12 hours. That’s a lot of spying. [USAF]