Watch Technicians Take Apart And Rebuild A U-2 Spy Plane

Stuck in a repair cycle it can’t get out of

No spy plane in history is as long-serving as the venerable U-2. First flown in 1955, the plane was a major part of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and continues to serve to this day. While U-2 makers Lockheed Martin contemplate turning it into a drone and building a sucessor, the plane is still scheduled to stay in American service until at least 2019. Keeping an old plane flying requires a lot of maintenance, and in the U-2’s case, that means taking it apart and rebuilding it after every 4,700 hours of flight time.

Captured by Sploid, this video shows a timelapse of the process, from disassembly to reconstruction, that happens every repair cycle. Most striking is the paint removal, which clocks in at about 1:13.

Watch the full process below: