Original stealth aircraft, F-117 Nighthawk, coming to Michigan's Air Zoo museum

An F-117 Nighthawk flies over the Nevada desert in 2003.


By KAYLA MILLER | MLive.com | Published: July 29, 2020

PORTAGE, Mich. (Tribune News Service) — The Air Zoo is getting its own F-117 Nighthawk, the original stealth aircraft, later this year.

The Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Museum will be a “proud recipient” of one of the first Lockheed F-117 Nighthawks released for public display at a non-military institution, the Air Zoo said in a Facebook post Tuesday, July 28.

The plane is scheduled for arrival to the Portage-based museum later this year. It is nicknamed “Shaba,” a nod to the Arabic word for “ghost,” in connection to the F-117\u2032s use during Operation Desert Storm.

“This is huge for the Air Zoo and our community, and we need your help,” the Air Zoo said.

Aircraft enthusiasts can support the Air Zoo by “adopting” the aircraft and making donations to help cover transportation costs.

The aerospace and science museum reopened in mid-July after first closing its doors in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Museum staff implemented safety precautions such as requiring masks for all guests and doing temperature checks at the entry.

Air Zoo is encouraging staff and volunteers feeling ill to stay home, while increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces around the museum’s exhibits, as well as temporarily removing several of the science center’s hands-on learning stations. Mondays at the museum are now reserved for visitors who are members of more vulnerable populations.

The Air Zoo, which last year celebrated 40 years in the community, is located at 6151 Portage Road in Portage, near the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport.

Unique aviation exhibits include an SR-71B Blackbird stealth airplane, the only remaining example of the plane still in existence, as well as the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, an F-18 and the F-14 Tomcat. Interactive experiences include a variety of rides, ranging from simple carnival-type rides to a multiple flight simulators.

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