The Way U-2 Pilots Eat While Flying Near Space Explained
The U-2 Dragonlady has been a staple of the United States Air Force for over 50 years and continues to excel in recon missions. Missions in a U-2 can be quite lengthy so a pilot’s appetite may get the better of them after a while. Yet, these pilots can’t take off their pressurized suits being so close to space, so how do they eat?
The short and simple answer is a product known as Tube Food, which is manufactured by the Combat Feeding Directorate at the U.S. Army Natick Laboratories. Because even high-altitude pilots need to eat, but their process is a little trickier.
The feeding tubes are inserted into the help helmet while the pilot is flying. Tube food comes in 19 different flavors and actually mimics textures of its source so it doesn’t taste like baby food.
It is an interesting process to refine real foods for the pilots. The process can be seen in this video from Great Big Story.