Another F-117 On The Move – Castle Air Museum Adds a Nighthawk

Two specially painted F-117 Nighthawks fly on one of their last missions. The F-117s were 'officially' retired almost exactly ten years ago on March 11, 2008 in a farewell ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. However, persistent, credible rumors say that a handful of these charismatic jets still serve the U.S. as test vehicles for a variety of different endeavors. (Image Rich Cooper/COAP Media))

Following the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum, the Palm Springs Air Museum and Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, each receiving retired F-117 Nighthawks in recent months, the Castle Air Museum has had the good fortune to assigned their own example.

According to Air Force officials, the aircraft should be delivered to Castle Air Museum sometime in June. Once restored, it will be the only F-117 Nighthawk on display between Southern California and the Pacific Northwest. This Nighthawk  was in the air on the first night of Desert Storm over Baghdad, Iraq. The mission was to bomb Command and Control Centers by removing the ability for Iraqi Air Defenses to detect Allied aircraft.

The Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk, though long-since officially retired, still conjures the imagination, given its secretive nature and storied combat history as the world’s first true ‘stealth’ combat aircraft. While there are persistent rumors, and as recently proven by images, of a handful of the type still serving in secret as test airframes, most surviving examples are still mothballed in semi-dismantled storage, far from public view. Of the four Nighthawks currently on display, all are pre-preoduction YF-117s, which never saw combat.

The Castle Air Museum’s collection includes vintage military aircraft dating from pre-WWII to the present on approximately 25 acres of the Museum’s beautifully maintained grounds. For more information about the museum, visit www.castleairmuseum.org

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