NAME: LOCKHEED YF-117A – S/N 79-10783
ACTIVE DUTY: 1981-PRESENT
The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth ground-attack aircraft operated by the United States Air Force. A product of Lockheed Skunk Works and an offshoot of the Have Blue technology demonstrator, the F- 117 was the first operational aircraft to be designed around stealth technology.
The museum’s YF-117A serial number 79-10783 is the fourth full-scale development (FSD) aircraft and was first put into service on 5 December 1981. The airframe was used for various testing including weapons fit checks and to test new stealth coatings. It became the first aircraft in history to be operationally stealthy, and the most significant test aircraft in the F-117 fleet. In October 1984, two navy pilots used #783 to conduct a performance review to evaluate the F-117a for carrier suitability. In April 2004, the airplane was used to evaluate a two-tone grey camouflage paint scheme. Tail #783 was retired in march 2007 with 2,464.6 flight hours.
JAMES “JB” BROWN:
Jim “JB” Brown completed A.F. pilot training in 1978 and following two European tours flying the F-4 and F-5 he was selected to attend the USAF Test Pilot School where he graduated with Class 86A in December 1986. In the A.F., he tested the F-7 and F-15 Eagle. In 1994 he went to work for Lockheed Skunk Works testing the F-117 Stealth Fighter. While on the F-117, he tested software, avionics, and weapons improvements.
As the Chief Test Pilot after flying the F-117 for eight years with over 900 flight hours, he joined the F-22 program, eventually becoming the Raptor Chief Test Pilot. In 2013, JB assumed the role of Chief of Operations at LMCO’s Skunk Works and retired from Lockheed in January 2016 to become V.P., C.O.O., and Instructor at National Test Pilot School (NTPS). Currently, JB is President of the NTPS. JB is a Fellow and Past President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and an Eagle of the Flight Test Historical Foundation. He has logged over 9,800 flight hours in 154 different models of aircraft and is the world’s highest-time Stealth Fighter test pilot.
TOM “SQUID” MORGENFELD:
Thomas Morgenfeld, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, served as a Navy fighter pilot in the Vietnam War and flew the F-8 Crusader in 90 combat missions amassing over 500 carrier landings. After graduating from Empire Test Pilot School in 1975, he participated in several classified test programs in addition to serving as the F-18 Project Pilot. In 1979, Tom went onto USAF exchange duty with the 4477th Test and Evaluation Flight where he was responsible for all USN involvement with the then top secret flying of MiG airplanes. His final active-duty role was as commander of the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake reserve unit in 1989.
Tom joined Lockheed’s Skunk Works 1979 as a F-117 test pilot. After a decade and over 1300 hours in the F-117, Tom was named Chief Test Pilot (CTP) for the YF-22A. In 1991 he was named CTP for the Skunk Works and in 1999 was promoted to Director of Flight Operations as well. Tom was then assigned CTP on the Joint Strike Fighter program where he performed the first flight on the X-35 and continued testing until 2004. He served as an Engineering Technical Fellow of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. until his retirement in 2004. Tom worked over three years as a Test Pilot Instructor at the National Test Pilot School and is now Chairman of the Board of Trustees at that school. Over the years he has accumulated over 7,000 hours in more than 80 different aircraft.
BILL “EVIL” GRAY:
William “Evil” Gray is the Chief Test Pilot of the USAF Test Pilot School. He instructs in the T-38, F-16, and is the chief pilot for the X-62A VISTA. In the Air Force, his assignments included operational instructor pilot in the T-37 and FB-111A, test pilot in the F-15, F-15E, and F-117 (Bandit 118). He was also the Chief Test Pilot for the source selection flight test campaign that led to the selection of the T-6A. Gray’s last active-duty assignment was providing safety oversight for hundreds of USAF flight test programs including the F-22, the CV-22, the X-32, the X-35, the Global Hawk, and the YAL-1A Airborne Laser.
Gray has logged over 6,000 flight hours in over 100 aircraft types from hang gliders to the AV-8B Harrier. Gray is a recipient of the AIAA Chanute Flight Test Award, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) J. H. Doolittle and Ray E. Tenhoff Awards, and is a Distinguished Alumnus of the USAF TPS. He is a Fellow of SETP and past president of its Board of Directors, and an Eagle of the Flight Test Historical Foundation.