Photographer Chris McGreevy Captures Interesting Photos Of “Retired” Stealth Fighter.
California based aviation expert and photographer Chris McGreevy struck gold in the desert on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at 4:09 PM when he was on Columbia Way (Ave. M) near the joint military/civilian use Palmdale Regional Airport outside Palmdale, California.
McGreevy, who is very experienced with aviation scanners, aircraft photography and knows the most interesting aviation spotting areas of the American west well, saw a large flatbed truck hauling what is almost certainly the fuselage of a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk.
“It was just outside USAF Plant 42 in Palmdale Ca. I’m guessing they trucked it down from Tonopah to Palmdale so it can be demilitarized and eventually be put on display somewhere. Removing all the avionics, internals, RAM and hollowing her out. Given it is disassembled, I’m guessing this airframe is one of the ones that have been stored in the climate controlled hangars at Tonopah,” McGreevy told TheAviationist.com.
The F-117 was “officially” retired back in April, 2008. However, some isolated accounts suggested the aircraft may have participated in advanced testing in the classified test ranges north of Las Vegas in the American west. Some stories claim the aircraft was actually re-introduced to combat in Syria and Iraq in 2017, although these claims have never been substantiated.
Most recently aviation spotters in the right place at the right time have actually seen the F-117 in flight in some celebrated sightings. Earlier this year, on February 26, 2019, photographer Richard VanderMeulen shot remarkable photos of a single, unmarked, F-117A that was flying over the restricted air space R-2508 range complex near Death Valley in southern California. The photos, first published in “Combat Aircraft”, were remarkably good. They showed an F-117 with partially worn or obscured markings flying at low altitude around the desert hillocks and mountains. The aircraft made another brief appearance the next day.
In another noteworthy sighting, an F-117 fuselage being transported on a truck trailer was seen back on November 14, 2017. Stills from a video shot by Randy Williams and made available to The Aviationist by Brett Wyman, who first posted them in a Facebook group focused on Nellis AFB, were published by TheAviationist. This writer saw that same aircraft later that night on US-95 between Creech AFB and Beatty, Nevada. It was two years later that the famous Richard VanderMeulen inflight photos of the F-117 were shot and caused considerable sensation in the aviation community.
These new photos from Chris McGreevy, likely of an F-117 being transported to a facility for preparation before being placed on static display, add more interest to the story surrounding the still mysterious “black jet”.