New Photos of the F-117 Black Jet flying over Tonopah Test Range in 2014

Some new photos, taken few months ago, show the F-117 stealth fighter jet flying over Tonopah Test Range.

As explained in a previous post, the F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack plane, officially retired in 2008, is still flying at Tonopah Test Range, in Nevada, 6 years after the aircraft made its last flight with the U.S. Air Force.

At least a couple of “Black Jets” were sighted and photographed by local aviation enthusiasts and spotters during flights conducted over the TTR.


The reason for these flights is unknown: it may be used to support test and development of new radar or Infra Red Search and Track systems, SAM (surface to air missiles) batteries, 6th generation combat planes, next generation AEW (Airborne Early Warning) platforms or UAVs (unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

There is someone who speculate they are part of a secret USAF’s strike force reserve.

Anyway, the images in this post, taken mid-April 2014 from atop Brainwash Butte near TTR by Foster VS (who has explored Area 51 and its surroundings several times) prove that someone (not sure whether Lockheed Martin, another company, or the Air Force) has not only preserved the F-117, but it is still flying the first and most famous American stealth aircraft.

Click on the images to open the hi-rez version. EXIF data is available.


Image credit: Foster VS


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.