All of the USA military's U-2 planes are stationed at Beale Air Force Base.
The U2 crash took place in Norther California on Tuesday morning near a small mountain range known as Sutter Buttes.
Col. Larry Broadwell, Commander of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale, gave tribute to the U-2 program at a press conference at the base Tuesday afternoon.
According to initial reports, one of the airmen died and the other one was injured upon using the aircraft's ejection mechanism. One pilot was killed and another injured whe.
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September 20-A pilot from Beale Air Force Base was killed and a second was injured Tuesday after a U-2 spy plane, one of the most famous aircraft of the Cold War era, crashed Tuesday morning near the Sutter Buttes. Hours later, Sgt. Charity Barrett of Beale Air Force Base confirmed one pilot's death. The conditions of the pilots were unclear.
The second pilot on board the U-2 when it crashed has not been identified but is expected to recover.
Barnes said Air Force personnel are still at the crash site and preparing to start the investigation phase. There's no timeline for investigators to conclude their probe.
The identities of the Air Force members involved in the crash are not releasable at this time, Barnes said. The crash sparked a fire on the grassy terrain, which was quickly extinguished.
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Pilots wear pressurized suits like those used by astronauts to survive in the low-pressure, low-oxygen environment in the upper reaches of the atmosphere.
While the military says the cost of a U-2 is classified, the military information site GlobalSecurity.org puts the price tag of the current model at $400 million.
Beale spokesman Airman Tristan Viglianco said it was not immediately known if the pilot had died during the unsafe eject procedure or after.
The U-2 planes aren't used almost as much today. The U-2 also gained fame for uncovering secretive Soviet launch site in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Powers was imprisoned for two years before being released in a prisoner exchange. The U-2 spy planes will reportedly cease operations in 2019 because of the military's preference for unmanned aircraft for collecting intelligence.
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