First Public Display of the F-117 at Nellis AFB
April 21, 1990 - by Gregos

I remember they officially announced the the Stealth Fighter around 1989 when operation "Just Cause" kicked off in Panama. I was still pretty young and remember having the Testors model kit of the factious F-19 Stealth Fighter in my teens. I actually still have one unassembled that I found on ebay a few years back! Too funny. I remember only sketches of the F-117 on the news around that time.

Shortly after I arrived in Las Vegas to work at the Dunes, the USAF announced a static display of two aircraft for a one day open house at Nellis AFB. I wasn't going to miss that for all the tea in China! There were two articles on display, roped off by about 30 feet with armed guards with M-16s and German Shepherds. They also had a cover over the engine exhaust so you could not see them. I do Remember that very clearly! It was not an airshow just the two aircraft at the northern end of the flight line. I know this because I have another photo looking south of two B-52s with the 1990 Las Vegas skyline in the hazy distance. The Mirage and Excalibur were the only big ones back then. The Stratosphere was still under construction only halfway up the concrete tower!

The only souvenir I got other than the photos was a plastic beer cup with a picture of the F-117 and the date. God only knows what ever happen to that cup, probably still at my parents house back in Pennsylvania. Time has washed all the other details away but I'll never forget that day. I fell in love with that plane the first minute I saw it. On a final note, I saw the first reveal on April 21,1990 at Nellis and also had the privilege to see the final four officially retired to TTR on April 22, 2008. Almost 18 years to the day! Wow, and that's all I got to say about that!!!

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