HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
Christmas came early for the Hill Aerospace Museum as a wrapped-up F-22 Raptor arrived at Hill Dec. 9 on a C-5 transport aircraft. The F-22 was previously assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and is slated to be added to the collection of aircraft on display at the museum.
The F-22, tail number 91-4002 and nicknamed “Old Reliable,” first flew June 29, 1998. The jet was used for flight testing and since 2006 had been used for ground instructional training. It was retired early this year.
Aaron Clark, Hill Aerospace Museum director, said the F-22 has been on the museum’s wish list for a long time and when they heard this one was available, they put a request for it.
Hill Air Force Base is home to the F-22 depot and program office. Clark said adding this aircraft will enable the museum to expose and educate the public on a critical Air Force mission that is supported by Hill personnel.
“It will help us tell the local and broader story of these fighter aircraft with the real thing, something most people would never have the opportunity of seeing in person,” said Clark.
Brandon Hedges, the museum’s restoration chief, said the planning process of transporting the Raptor from Florida to Hill began a year and a half ago as they deliberated every aspect of the transportation to ensure a smooth path.
“As with many aircraft moves there is a multitude of moving parts that require great trust in team members skills and abilities to accomplish each tasking,” said Hedges.
Hedges said coordination involved multiple entities, including from Hill: the F-22 System Program Office, the 309th Expeditionary Depot Maintenance Flight, and 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron and from Tyndall: 325th Maintenance Squadron and 325th Logistics Readiness Squadron. The C-5 and their air crew are assigned to 512th Airlift Wing from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
“Each of these entities played a vital role in accomplishing a transportation of this nature and delivered a great training opportunity for each entity,” said Hedges.
Restoration of the aircraft will take place over the next few months. Clark said the restoration will also become a unique learning opportunity for those who are training to enter the aircraft maintenance career field.
The F-22 will be displayed in the museum’s new 80,000 square-foot gallery expansion, which is estimated to be completed in the fall of 2023. The museum said they will provide restoration progress updates and photos on their social media pages.