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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: penroc3
The wingtips are reinforced, and curve down, like a skid. When they stop, which is extremely quickly, one wing drops onto that skid. Four guys run out with the pogos, one to position one to lock it on each wing, the fifth guy grabs the wing and pulls it level so they can attach the pogos.
On takeoff, two guys run out and pull the pins. About a hundred feet down the runway the wings start flying and the pogos detach. They drive out and pick them up and toss them in the truck.
High aspect ratio wings give the U-2 some glider-like characteristics, with an engine out glide ratio of about 23:1, comparable to gliders of the time. To maintain their operational ceiling of 70,000 feet (21,000 m), the early U-2A and U-2C models had to fly very near their never exceed speed (VNE). The margin between that maximum speed and the stall speed at that altitude was only 10 knots (12 mph; 19 km/h) below its maximum speed. This narrow window was referred to by the pilots as the "coffin corner", because breaching either limit would likely cause the wings or tail to separate. For 90% of the time on a typical mission the U-2 was flying less than five knots above stall speed. A stall would cause a decrease in altitude, possibly leading to detection and overstress of the airframe.