U-2 crash kills pilot

Spy plane goes down near Sutter Buttes

A U.S. Air Force plane crashed near the Sutter Buttes Tuesday (Sept. 20), killing one pilot and injuring another.

The plane was a U-2 Dragon Lady assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base. It crashed at about 9:05 a.m., shortly after taking off for a training mission, according to statements from Air Force officials. Eyewitnesses reported that both pilots ejected from the plane before impact, but the Air Force later confirmed that one of the pilots died.

The U2 (pictured) is primarily used for surveillance and can operate at altitudes above 70,000 feet—twice as high as commercial airliners.

Another Beale AFB-based U2 crashed into the parking lot of the Oroville Mercury-Register on Aug. 7, 1996. That crash killed the pilot and a woman on the ground.