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Air Force Identifies Pilot Killed in U-2 Crash

  • The pilot killed in a U-2 Dragon Lady crash on Sept. 20th, 2016, was identified as Lt. Col. Ira S. Eadie. (U.S. Air Force photo) The pilot killed in a U-2 Dragon Lady crash on Sept. 20th, 2016, was identified as Lt. Col. Ira S. Eadie. (U.S. Air Force photo)
  • Smoke rises from the wreckage of a U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane that crashed in the Sutter Butte mountains, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, near Yuba City, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) Smoke rises from the wreckage of a U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane that crashed in the Sutter Butte mountains, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, near Yuba City, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The U.S. Air Force has identified the pilot who was killed in U-2 crash on Tuesday in northern California.

The officer was Lt. Col. Ira S. Eadie, according to a statement from Beale Air Force Base. He was assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, part of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing.

News 4 Jax, a local news organization in Jacksonville, Florida, reported Eadie was a Lake City native, 20-year military veteran and devoted husband who left behind his wife and six children, ranging in age from 6 to 25 years old.

Another pilot who remains unidentified was injured in the accident, but sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to the statement. He was removed from the scene in a ground utility vehicle and is listed in "good condition" at a local medical facility, according to a base official.

The cause of the mishap remains under investigation. Both pilots ejected from the two-seater trainer around 9:05 a.m., shortly after taking off from the installation, which is located in a rural area in the north-central part of the state.

In a video sent to KCRA, a local NBC affiliate in Sacramento, parachutes can be seen in the sky while the aircraft, a trainer designated a TU-2S, spins uncontrollably toward the ground. Photos show smoke billowing from the scene and wreckage strewn across the crash site near the Sutter Buttes mountain range.

The U-2 Dragon Lady is a Cold War-era surveillance plane based at Beale. The single-engine jet made by Lockheed Martin Corp. flies as high as 70,000 feet, has a range of 7,000 miles and dates to the 1950s.

The Air Force as of this year had 33 of the aircraft in inventory, including five trainers, according to a fact sheet. Trainer models of the aircraft hold two crew members.

The service had planned to retire the aircraft in 2019 and replace it with a high-altitude drone, the RQ-4 Global Hawk, made by Northrop Grumman Corp.

--Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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