Female U-2 pilot
Nowadays women in aviation is not a surprising fact. Here is an interesting article about the female U-2 pilot. Worth to read this unusual story!
As a little girl, Merryl Tengesdal dreamed of becoming an astronaut.
Although she never got the chance to suit up for NASA, flying at 70,000 feet in the cockpit of a U-2 spy plane, Tengesdal has come closer to the edge of the Earth's atmosphere than most people ever will.
Tengesdal is only one of eight female U-2 pilots, and she holds the distinction of being the only African-American female pilot in the history of the high-altitude recon aircraft program.
In 1994, she graduated from the University of New Heaven with a degree in engineering and then enrolled in the Navy's Officer Candidate School, followed by a stint at flight training.
Merryl Tengesdal started her career as a US Navy helicopter pilot before making the transition to the US Air Force in 2004. Over the past decade, she has logged 3,400 flight hours, 330 combat hours and served missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa, according to theUS Department of Defense.
One of her most memorable moments at the controls of her U-2 plane, affectionately nicknamed the Dragon Lady, happened stateside.
Think of how far you can go, because you can reach those. Because in America, we can pretty much do anything,’ she says.
Soaring at altitudes of about 13 miles above the Earth's surface, Tengesdal and her fellow U-2 pilots are required to wear full pressure suits and special helmets – not unlike NASA astronauts’ gear - and are allowed to fly only once every three days.
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