The Gipper gets an Unexpected Guest
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works recently partnered with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Insitute and National Museum of the USAF by reconfiguring F-117 Nighthawk 82-0803, nicknamed “Unexpected Guest” for permanent display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Just 64 (5 YF-117As, 59 F-117As) Nighthawks were produced with one, 82-0806 Something Wicked, shot down over Serbia.
Of interest, four of the early YF-117A Scorpion prototypes are on public display with Unexpected Guest being the first production Nighthawk put on a pedestal. The aircraft formerly flew 78 combat missions with the USAF 8th FS during Operation Allied Force over Kosovo in 1999 and Operation Enduring Freedom over Iraq in 2003 and was last spotted in the air in 2007 at Nellis.
Retired in 2008, Unexpected Guest has been in climate-controlled storage since then with the rest of the F-117 fleet, which is still seen in the air over Tonopah from time to time.
“The F-117 Nighthawk reminds us of our country’s ability to rapidly develop disruptive technology critical to national security,” said Michele Evans, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with the Air Force and the Reagan Foundation to install a permanent symbol of American innovation at the Reagan Library for all to see.”