CARE Package

Posted 18 February 2013
Photo by SrA Shawn Nickel

Under a modification program called CARE, or Cockpit Altitude Reduction Effort, Lockheed Martin mechanics are beefing up the structure around the cockpit of U-2 Dragon Lady high altitude reconnaissance aircraft at Beale AFB, California, to improve environmental conditions for the pilots. The refit almost doubles the cockpit pressure from 3.88 to 7.65 pounds per square inch. The increased pressure reduces the strain on the pilot’s body that comes from flying above 70,000 feet and also reduces the chance for decompression sickness. The retrofit takes approximately thirty days. Structural maintenance technicians from the 9th Maintenance Squadron at Beale handle initial aircraft teardown and then the Lockheed Martin mechanics take over to complete the modification.