The F-117 Nighthawk
Yes, the plane that Steven Seagal died in in Executive Decision. Glad we were both thinking about that scene when you read the title.
It first flew 41 years ago, on June 18th, 1981. Or at least that's when they told us it first flew. Before it was the F-117, it was "Have Blue" and it spent a lot of time in some lake in Nevada for testing. Not sure where that is, but I'm sure someone knows. The project was built on the theory of a soviet mathematician who wrote a paper called Method of Edge Waves in the Physical Theory of Diffraction. You haven't read that? Me either, but someone did otherwise we probably wouldn't have a plane as funky looking at as the F-117.
As a young kid growing up in the 90s, man I loved this plane. All military planes I guess.... Yeah, I was that kid that always went over to buddies houses to watch 80s action movies on TV and shoot toy guns all over the house for hours and hours. Most badass movies and video games back then usually had either the F-117 or YF-22 in some form or fashion. It was untouchable, totally stealthy, and looked like something out of a Sci-Fi movie. It's hard to even imagine it could fly.
Looking at the plane now still gives off futuristic vibes, but you take one look at the cockpit and you realize how old it is, especially compared to a newer plane like the F-35. It still has that aura and mystique for myself and those of my age group. Was it one of those "UFOs" that people spotted out West in the 80s? Maybe, maybe not. It seems the government was always working on something crazy back then, when manned flight was the best way to handle air to air and air to ground combat. It's debatable if drones have overtaken the need for manned flight for combat missions, and I'm far from an expert. This is just random rambling about a plane I've only seen pictures and video of, sadly.
Executive Decision, yeah that was a decent movie alright.