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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 155905
Last updated: 8 October 2019
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Type:Lockheed U-2A
Owner/operator:Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Registration: 341
C/n / msn: 341
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Pioche, Nevada -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Groom Lake, Nevada
Destination airport:
On 4 April 1957, Robert Sieker took Article 341 up for a Project RAINBOW test flight against radar operated by EG&G, Inc., near Indian Springs. Airframe heat build-up caused a flameout at 72,000 feet, and Sieker's pressure suit inflated when cabin pressure was lost. The clasp on his faceplate failed, however, causing him to lose consciousness. Article 341 stalled and entered a flat spin at 65,000 feet. Sieker regained his senses at a lower altitude and attempted to bail out. He released the canopy and jumped, but was struck by the aircraft's tail and killed. The aircraft impacted on its belly and caught fire.

It took search teams several days to locate the wreckage. It was spotted by Lockheed test pilot Herman "Fish" Salmon and Ray Crandall while flying a borrowed Beechcraft Bonanza. The silver airplane, shattered, but recognizable, lay in sagebrush on level ground. Its tail remained upright and the wings were partly intact. The engine was exposed amidst the burnt out center section of the fuselage. The cockpit was broken up, but had not burned. Sieker's body lay just 200 feet away.

NOTE: As stated above, this aircraft never carried any military serial or civil registration. Logically, as the first U-2A, it should have been allocated the military serial 56-6674, but that serial was already allocated to a Sikorsky H-19B-SI Chickasaw. In the absence of any other identity, this aircraft was known as "341" after its article number


"Skunk Works" by Ben Rich, published by Little, Brown & Company, 1994.

Revision history:

12-May-2013 14:54 Dr. John Smith Added
13-May-2013 04:40 Anon. Updated [Embed code]
13-May-2013 09:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
13-May-2013 10:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Embed code]

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