U-2 Dragon Lady/Habu Updates Page

  • If you have U-2 stories or photos to share, send them to me HERE and I’ll include them on this page.


This page is dedicated to all Dragon Lady/Habu pilots and the maintenance crews that kept ’em flying.

Maybe no aircraft in history caught the public’s imagination like the U-2. From the initial leak of this super secret jet (in the form of Hawk’s 1/48 U-2A model!) to the Francis Gary Powers shoot-down to the Herulean work accomplished by the Habus during the two Gulf wars, the public, model builders, historians, and even military aviators have been mesmerized by this amazing product of the Lockheed Skunk Works.

We did a ton of Habu stuff at Meteor, including a bunch of decal sets (most sets are completely sold out but a couple are still available; see below), and some very cool resin sets that are unfortunately long gone.

This photo shows a couple of U-2Cs on the compass rose at Lockheed.


The U-2D was a seriously strange bird. It was the test bed for what was intended to be a completely new and very much larger U-2 variant intended to remain airborne 24-7/365 around the periphery of the Soviet Union with sensors (the "ash can" above the Q-Bay) to detect Soviet ICBM launches. It would have taken hundreds of these new versions to accomplish this mission, which was canceled due to both cost and the fact that the US developed satellites that could accomplish the mission better and much more cheaply. Worth reading up on if you’re interested!


The Pave Onyx Program. The UKgovernment in the 1970s and ’80s was strongly influenced by their anti-American "peace" movement, and required U-2s based there to be painted in this two-tone gray "Sabre scheme" camouflage scheme–apparently feeling the all-black airplane would offend tender sensibilities. Various sources each give different FS numbers for the grays used on these aircraft. These are listed in my decal set, along with our best estimates based on the color photos in our possession.

The Testors U-2C kit instructions list the colors as approximately FS 36375 and FS 36320. They claim better representations of the true colors are: Light Gray-1 part FS 35237 and 4.3 parts FS 36622, Dark Gray- 1 part FS 35237 and 1.6 parts FS 36320. Another Testors-provided mix is 1 part Testors 1163 paint to 7.5 parts Testors 1168 paint for the light gray and 1 part 1163 to 4 parts 1168 for the dark gray.

Another source lists the colors as FS 25630 and FS 27780. These appear too light to us to be the true colors. Based on the color photos in our possession, the colors appear close to FS 26440 and FS 26270.

Most of the Pave Onyx jets were equipped with the ALSS (Advanced Location Strike System) Q-Bay sensors. This system, which was ultimately unsuccessful, was flight tested in Europe starting in 1975.


The Air Force Flight Test Center at Edward AFB flew this U-2C in these colors.

asdfThe archetypical Dragon Lady: the TR-1A (U-2R) with the huge Senior Span and Senior Spur devices installed.

Joe Hanner sent me this funny story this morning:

"Dave, as a retired Center air traffic controller, I used to occasionally work U-2s, SR-71s and RB-57s that, unless transitioning for a landing or to hook up in a refueling track [SR-71s], would routinely file as their altitude ‘Above 600 [above 60,000 feet].’

"If you had a necessity to find out their exact altitude, they would give you a code word and a supervisor would have to go to the safe and get that day’s code book to find exact altitude. Normally you would never see one anywhere near another, if only because at those altitudes they only had a 5-10 knot difference between cruise speed and stall speed so they couldn’t do any rapid movements.

"However, one day when I was working a U-2, I called traffic to him "Opposite direction at 11 o’clock approximately 60 miles."

"In a really laid back voice the pilot said ‘I don’t think I have to worry about him, Center, I’m above Sixty.’

"I said ‘Roger. Be advised traffic is an RB-57 who is also above Sixty.’ In a lot more interested voice the pilot said ‘Where did you say he was again?’ They passed abeam about 35-40 miles apart." (Thus proving once again that all’s well that ends well, and you’re more likely to stay well when you pay attention to ATC!! (dk))


As noted, most of the several U-2 decal sets we did are completely gone, but I still have a few of these Cutting Edge sets available:


Early U-2s #2. FINAL TWO AVAILABLE–NO MORE AFTER THEY’RE GONE. U-2D AFFTC, 1967 Smoky Joe; U-2F Ram’s Horns 4080 SRW, Vietnam; U-2C N809X CIA; U-2A 4080 SRW overall gray; U-2A-1 HASP 4080 SRW, City of Sale.

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U-2A/U-2CT/ER-2 U-2A/U-2CT/ER-2 Decals. This MULTIPLE SHEET SET contains markings for the CIA U-2As with spoof NACA and NASA markings, ALL markings schemes for the U-2CTs (also called U-2C(T)) two-seat trainers used by the Air Force, and ALL markings carried by NASA ER-2s (U-2R/TR-1A) based at both NASA Ames and NASA Dryden!

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U-2 Dragon Ladies #3. Seven colorful and important Dragon Ladies are covered in this set. The first three all feature the USAF Pave Onyx jets in the “Sabre Scheme” of light and dark gray used on U-2s based in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s because of British leftist complaints about “black jets” based in England. All were assigned to the 100 SRW, with tail numbers 56-6692, -6700, and -6716. The CIA U-2A N803X wore an overall sea blue scheme during this perod, as did N800X, both of which can be modeled from this set. The sixth jet was an overall black U-2F assigned to the 4080th SRW at Laughlin AFB but assigned to combat duty in Vietnam. The final bird is U-2C, NASA 708, in the scheme she wore in August 1980.

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Jump To The Decal Catalog Pages
1/48 Allied
1/48 Axis
1/48 Postwar
Other Cool Stuff