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200,000th Flight Hour
Photo: Precision and stealth Brig. Gen. Marc "Buck" Rogers leads a formation of F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighters in a flyover of "The Canyon" the taxiway between Nighthawk hangars at Holloman Air Force Base Friday. The General clocked the 200,000th documented hour in an F-117A fighter jet during the routine sortie. (Photo by Ellis Neel/Daily News)
Nighthawks mark milestone flightsby By Ellis Neel
After untold millions of miles and more than 200,000 hours of flying time, the 21-year-old F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter, stationed at Holloman Force Base, is still going strong.
Brig. Gen. Marc "Buck" Rogers, commander, 49th Fighter Wing, and three of his pilots Maj. Chris "Shooter" Stratton, 49th FW commanders executive office; Col. Richard "T-Pup" Treadway, Operations Group commander; and Lt. Col. Tim "Happy" Auer, 49th FW director of staff flew down "The Canyon" (the taxiway between the Nighthawk hangars) Friday in formation while clocking the 200,000th documented hour in the Lockheed Martin F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter jet program.
Rogers attributed the success of the F-117A program to Lockheed Martins high maintenance standards and qualified crews.
"The airplanes been around a long time," Rogers said. "Its due to the hard work" of the maintenance crews. "Why not a million hours?
"The aircraft takes a little special attention, but it is essentially like other fighters."
Lockheed Martin officials Ron Hunter, System Program Director, Wright Patterson AFB; John Larson, Lockheed Martin F-117 Program Director; Gus Villanueva, Lockheed Martin F-117 Program; Bill Armstrong, Lockheed Martin Senior Manager for Support, Analysis and Integration; and Scott Ogden, F-117 TSPR Stealth sustainment contract visited the base Friday to present Rogers with a plaque for his part in the Nighthawk achievement.
The F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter first flew in June 1981 and Lockheed Martin began making production deliveries to the United States Air Force in 1982.Flown by pilots in the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman Air Force Base, the single-seat fighter is designed to penetrate dense threat environments at night and attack high-value targets with pinpoint accuracy.
The F-117 played a key role during Desert Storm in destroying Iraqs nuclear/biological/chemical weapons facilities, hardened aircraft shelters, command and control centers, and surface-to-air missile installations, with no combat losses.
"This aircraft is tremendously special," Rogers said. "This airplane is the only aircraft in the world that is precision and stealth.
"The public has a love affair with it."
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