The U-2 spy plane has been famous to push its pilot’s endurance to the limits. This plane could fly slow at high altitudes for up to nine hours in a go. It hosted a single pilot guiding the aircraft, taking pictures and dodging missiles. Being stuck in a place for nine hours straight without a bathroom or ventilation is not a pleasant experience. To cope up with this problem, CIA gave the pilots such diet so that they don’t need to poop or pass gas.
CIA’s U-2 program was launched in the 1950s for secret surveillance over China, Soviet Russia, and other countries. It took off from neighboring countries and took thousands of pictures of the ground below. It helped the US in following Russian and Chinese progress in nuclear and conventional weapons. The agency even had strict living guidelines for the pilots before and after missions.
The spy plane was equipped with a ‘relief tube’ for urination as no human can hold his bladder for that long. However, no system was installed for defecation. CIA recommended a ‘high protein, low residue’ diet for its pilots. Muckrock, a Freedom of Information Act website, recently posted a formerly top-secret manual for the U-2 pilots.
The manual contains points like; “Controlled feeding of a high protein, low residue diet for mission pilots should begin twenty-four hours before take-off. The objective of this controlled die is to provide foods which can be almost completely absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, thereby leaving a minimum of residue for the formation of feces and intestinal gases.”
The website further explained, “This obviates the need for frequent defecation and decreases the likelihood of significant gaseous expansion in the intestinal tract.” Recommended foods consisted of coffee, tea, rice, eggs, meat, cottage cheese, noodles, sweets, soups, and vegetables. Meals not included are milk, bread, fried and fatty foods, fruits, pies and pastries, pickles, nuts, and spicy foods.