The U-2 was originally designed as a high altitude reconnaissance platform to penetrate the airspace of the Soviet Union in the mid-1950s. Most of the U-2 fleet today was made in the mid-late 1980s. The U-2 was built to operate at altitudes above 70,000 feet. This caused the aircraft to be made with long wings (today's U-2 has about a 104' wingspan) and configured with a bicycle (tandem) type landing gear.
The U-2 pilot is integrated into a full pressure suit, similar to what an astronaut wears because of the hazardous physiological regime of the high altitude flight. The pilot must prebreathe 100% oxygen for 60 minutes prior to takeoff to avoid getting the bends. The pressure suit would be needed if the pilot were exposed to the atmosphere from a rapid decompression or having to eject from the aircraft. If the pilot were exposed to the environment at 70,000 feet, the gases in his body would rapidly expand causing a disastrous burst.
This Elite Force U-2 Pilot "Bob Chapman" was released by BBI in 2003 and is one of the finest pilots/fly boys ever released, perhaps second only to the ultimate astronaut ever by Dragon.
One of the amazing things of this set is the GNS-1031 helmet with movable protective and sun visors, and snoopy cap with comlink