U-2 flights in and out of Beale Air Force Base will resume Friday, three days after one of the $400 million spy planes crashed in the Sutter Buttes shortly after takeoff Tuesday.
Lt. Col Ira S. Eadie, a Florida native and father of six, was killed after ejecting from the crash plane. A second pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is recovering at a local hospital.
The Air Force has offered no explanation for the crash, which remains under investigation. The base put a hold on flying training missions locally in order to respond to the incident, but base officials stressed in a news release that the plane continues to play a vital role in national security.
“Our ability to fly missions in support of commanders has not been impacted by the recent crash. We continue to carry out our mission of providing high altitude (surveillance),” said Col. Larry Broadwell.
The deceased pilot’s family is asking for support through a Youcaring.com crowdfunding campaign. The campaign had been shared 6,500 times and raised $52,470 of its $100,000 goal.
Eadie, who went by the nickname “Shooter,” had recently become a grandfather.
“Funds from this effort will go directly to the family to help with travel expenses, unforeseen funeral cost and the children’s college funds,” the donation page says. “Supporting the Eadie family with your generous donation will ease the short and long term financial burdens his family now faces.”
Air Force officials said the military will support the family, but were unable to provide details.