The Nighthawk Arrives At Castle

TIMES PHOTO BY JOHN MILLER
A crew member gets a close look at the F-117 Nighthawk Stealth aircraft after it arrived at the restoration hanger of the Castle Air Museum last Friday, July 29.

A crowd of aviation enthusiasts gathered outside of the restoration hanger at Castle Air Museum on an early Friday morning to witness the arrival of the long-awaited Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk Stealth aircraft. Crews carefully offloaded the nearly 20-foot-wide aircraft from a big rig that made its way to the museum via Highway Patrol escorts from Nevada.

With the arrival of the Nighthawk, Castle Air Museum now holds the distinction of being the only air museum in Northern California to receive an F-117, and one of a few museums across the nation with this distinction. The stealth aircraft and its 58 sister aircraft did not exist as far as the general public was concerned for over seven years after its introduction. Additionally, many of the advancements made on the F-117 remain cloaked in secrecy to this day, with a number of those stealthy features having been removed from the one that will call Castle home.

Castle’s Nighthawk was one of the first to fight in the night skies over Baghdad, Iraq on the first night of the air offensive during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Transportation and restoration of the Nighthawk, as well as the other historical aircraft made available to the public at Castle Air Museum, is made possible through contributions and donations to the Castle Air Museum. To donate to Castle Air Museum, residents can reach out by phone by calling (209) 723-2178 ext. 304; or by logging onto castleairmuseum.org, and clicking on the donate button to donate through PayPal.

AtwaterCastle Air MuseumMerced County
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