Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane

    The Lockheed U2 spy plane was an ultra light glider-like plane designed by the Lockheed Skunk Works for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.  It's mission was to photography soviet military installations.  Originally, it was hoped that the plane could fly so high that the Russians could not even detect it.  As it turned out, although the Russians could see the U2 on radar, it flew so high that it was out of range of their missiles and aircraft.  There was nothing they could do about it. 
      Because the Russians could not shoot it down, the U2 flew freely over all of Russia for four years taking pictures of all the Russians' high security military equipment. Finally, after four years of providing the US with the most valuable information during the entire Cold War, one was lost to Soviet action.  Surprisingly, it was not actually shot down by the Russians. The Russians sent up a plane to shoot down the U-2.  It couldn't reach it, so it shot straight up.  At the same time the Russians were also firing missiles at the U2. None of them could hit the U2 but one did hit a Russian plane!  It exploded and the shock waves broke off the U2's fragile wings. The Russians captured the pilot and plane ending the missions over Russia for the U2. 
     The loss of the U-2 resulted in an international conflict.  In the wake of it, the controversial aircraft were assigned to the Air Force.  Today it is used for high altitude research.
See the display models of the U2 at Aviation-Central.com