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David Clark S-1010A Full-Pressure Flying Suit

With the introduction of the larger U-2R in 1967, a roomier cockpit meant pilots could wear full-pressured suits. These new suits were more effective than partial-pressure suits in preventing the effects of exposure to the low pressure found at extreme altitudes. Full-pressure suits provide gas pressure around the entire body, and are bulkier, but more comfortable, than partial-pressure suits. 

The David Clark Company of Worcester, Mass., developed this model S-1010A suit especially for the U-2R. It came in 12 standard sizes, and could be fitted with a parachute harness and an automatic flotation device. This suit has redundant breathing and pressure control systems and thermal protection in multiple layers. Suits like this one are close relatives of the pressure suits used by SR-71 Blackbird pilots and later by Space Shuttle astronauts during launch and re-entry.

Click here to return to the U-2 Overview.