WGBH Openvault

American Experience; Spy in the Sky

License Clip

More material is available from this program at the WGBH Archive. If you are a researcher interested in accessing the collection at WGBH, please email archive_requests@wgbh.org.

Undigitized item: Request Digitization

Untranscribed item: Request Transcription

American Experience
Spy in the Sky
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

In 1960, a CIA spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. Overnight, the plane, the U-2, became the most famous aircraft in the world, and Francis Gary Powers, its pilot, achieved a notoriety that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Behind the dramatic incident is the incredible tale of a team of creative engineers and courageous pilots who raced against the clock to design, perfect and deploy the U-2, which, for a while, provided a high-tech peek behind the Iron Curtain. From the beginning, the U-2 project was controversial, but even after the political fallout of the failed Powers mission, the U-2 spy plane continued to play a key role in the perilous years of the Cold War.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Spy in the Sky,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 22, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D45AF1DF4DE342198994128EAFC65074.
MLA: “American Experience; Spy in the Sky.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 22, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D45AF1DF4DE342198994128EAFC65074>.
APA: American Experience; Spy in the Sky. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D45AF1DF4DE342198994128EAFC65074
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.