F117 Shaba

Get Shaba

Be part of something big & stealthy

Project: Get Shaba (817) Home

First and foremost, we hope that you are well and that you are adjusting to whatever defines your "new normal." COVID-19 has done more than impact every industry; it has changed our very way of life right now. Please know that you, our community and our entire Air Zoo family are in our thoughts constantly. 

Given that, we thought that now is the perfect time to share some truly exciting and positive news. Last year, we were notified that the Air Zoo would be the proud recipient of one of the first Lockheed F-117 Nighthawks released for public display! The plane represents the U.S. Air Force’s first active military stealth aircraft, and we couldn’t be more excited to be chosen for this honor.

The highly decorated Shaba (tail number 817) is scheduled to begin her trip to the Air Zoo on December 2, 2020! Once received, the Air Zoo is expected to be the first non-governmental facility in the country – and the only museum in the state of Michigan – to display an F-117. This is HUGE for the Air Zoo and our community, but we need your help!

More than ever we need help funding the transportation and partial restoration of this amazing modern marvel and invite you to join us as part of Shaba’s special journey to Kalamazoo.

Will you be one of the first to adopt Shaba? Your tax-deductible donation will help the Air Zoo cover the cost of transporting this amazing aircraft to Kalamazoo, where we will restore it to pristine condition at our renowned Restoration Center. Not only are there some amazing perks to your adoption, but as part of the federal CARES Act, your gift will be refunded to you dollar-for-dollar up to $300 per household when you file your 2020 taxes next year and take the standard deduction (there are other benefits if you itemize your deductions). Be sure to scout your tax professional for more information on this generous charitable program.  I want to help now!!! 

About the F-117

In the early 1970s, the United States found itself vulnerable to new, advanced air-defense missile systems that integrated radar-guided surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and air-launched radar-guided missiles. To mitigate the threat, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a program to develop the technology and strategies necessary to reduce radar detectability in U.S. aircraft.

In 1975, DARPA held a “pole-off” competition between aircraft manufacturers, wherein the design produced by the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works demonstrated unmatched low observability and won the company the contract to produce Have Blue, the stealth demonstrator that would ultimately lead to the F-117. By December 1977, Have Blue took its first (and only) flight over Nevada.

Based on the results of the test flights, the Skunk Works was awarded the contract to produce the F-117 in November 1978. Just 31 months later, in June 1981, the first F-117 Nighthawk took flight. Produced in true Skunk Works fashion – that is to say, in the utmost secrecy – the Nighthawk went on to play an important role in six operational missions, including Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Between 1989 and 2008, it flew an impressive 1,271 sorties with 80% mission success. Only one F-117 was ever lost in combat.

The secret to the Nighthawk’s success lies in its unique design. Unlike the sleek designs of many of the aircraft previously produced by Lockheed Martin, the design of the F-117 is full of strategically designed angular panels. The very specific combination of shaping and radar absorbent materials reduce radar cross section on the aircraft and make it nearly invisible to radar detection.

ADOPT SHABA - are you familiar with our Adopt-a-Plane program?

Not only are  there some amazing perks to sponsoring or adopting Shaba (817), but as part of the federal CARES Act, your gift will be refunded to you dollar-for-dollar up to $300 per household when you file your 2020 taxes next year and take the standard deduction.*

*Be sure to scout your tax professional for more info on this very generous charitable program. To learn more about how to support this very special aircraft and make your gift online visit airzoo.org/support!

As always, we thank you for your support! We also understand that now may not be the right time for you to give a gift, and that is ok. We hope you can enjoy this piece of good news with us at a time when good news can be hard to come by! Stay well until we meet again!

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