SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley will soon be getting a permanent resident in the form of a restored F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter.
The 35-year-old combat aircraft will go on public display on Dec. 7 at an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, according to Library officials. The jet will live outdoors near the Library's F-14 aircraft.
"The Reagan Library will now be one of two places in the nation where the general public can visit an F-117 Stealth Fighter on permanent display," said John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. "We are deeply grateful to Lockheed Martin for their outstanding assistance in restoring the aircraft for such a meaningful display and to the U.S. Air Force for making it possible for the Reagan Library to exhibit the plane for millions of visitors to enjoy for years to come."
"I was privileged to fly the airplane when the program was classified," said Lt. Col Scott Stimpert, USAF (ret), a pilot for the F-117 going on display at the Library. "It was an exciting time, and a vitally important capability, but not something you could share with friends or family. I'm glad the airplane can come out of the dark to take its rightful place in the light, somewhere it can be seen and appreciated by the people it helped to protect."
Aerial video from SkyFOX Tuesday night captured the aircraft arriving in Simi Valley separated into several sections.
The F-117A entered service in May 1984 during the Reagan Administration. It flew 78 combat sorties, more than any other Nighthawk stealth fighter, according to the Reagan Library. The aircraft wasn't publicly acknowledged by the military until 1988.
The unusual design of the F-117A helped evade radar detection by the enemy, which resulted in the ability to better attack high-value targets.
The Reagan Library says the F-117A will be clearly visible from inside the Library's famous auditorium.