LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — What was once a top-secret and classified military dark project involving stealth technology was seen parked in front of Whisky Pete’s Hotel and Casino Wednesday afternoon for all to see. The now not-so-secret F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet was being transported to a California museum.
The Nighthawk is being towed on a flatbed trailer behind a big rig to the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif. where it will be put on display. The wings of the Nighthawk have already been transported to the museum and will be re-united during extensive restoration.
Due to the slow driving of this wide-load, the jet will make another stop Wednesday night in Tehachapi, Calif. The final leg will happen Thursday evening at sunset as it makes its way to Castle Air Museum’s Restoration Hangar, where the aircraft will be offloaded Friday morning, July 29th.
According to Castle Air Museum Executive Director Joe Pruzzo this Nighthawk was one of the F-117s over Baghdad on the first night of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. It is being transported to California from the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.
The United States Air Force retired its fleet of Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jets 13 years ago but has recently appeared to come out of retirement. Most recently two of the mysterious jets were seen flying into the restricted airspace where Area 51 is located in the Nevada desert.
However, one year ago in July 2021 aviation enthusiast and webmaster of the Area 51-themed site dreamlandresort.com Joerg Arnu was buzzed by two Nighthawks flying at speed heading toward the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), home to the best-known secret air base known as Area 51 and the just as secretive Tonopah Test Range.
Several F-117 Nighthawk jets have also been photographed around the secretive Tonopah Test Range.
According to the museum, once restored the jet will be the only F-117 Nighthawk on display between Southern California and the Pacific Northwest.