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Stealth Fighter: A Year in the Life of an F-117 Pilot Hardcover – April 16, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Zenith Press; First edition (April 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760341354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760341353
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"For a personal account of flying the F-117, you'll need O'Connor's book." - Air & Space Smithsonian

From the Inside Flap

Stealth fighter. Nighthawk. The Black Jet. Each name for the F-117 is ominous and the feeling is intensified by its strange futuristic appearance, all flat surfaces and sharp edges. Those odd angles scatter radar waves to effectively render the aircraft undetectable. All other design considerations came second to radar invisibility, even aerodynamics. As a result, the F-117 is wildly unstable; four separate computer systems continuously monitor and adjust its flight path to keep it from tumbling out of control. What fighter pilot wouldn’t want to fly such a machine into a war zone?
 
Lt. Col. William B. O’Connor, USAF (ret.), began his F-117 training in May 1998 and Stealth Fighter focuses on the following year of his life as he completes his training and enters combat when continuing turmoil in the former republics of Yugoslavia leads to a NATO bombing campaign. Some thirty-seven-thousand sorties were flown over Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War with only two jet losses. But a pilot was two and a half times more likely to have been shot at with surface-to-air missiles during Kosovo than pilots over Iraq in Desert Storm.
 
O’Connor, a fighter pilot who had often felt left out of the fight earlier in his career, earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the Kosovo War. The citation reads, in part, “On [14 April 1999], Colonel O’Connor executed one of several coordinated strike missions deep into the heart of the Serbian integrated air defense system. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Colonel O’Connor prosecuted his attack and braved a barrage of surface-to-air missile launches and anti-aircraft artillery fire . . . resulting in the precision-guided weapon destroying the target. Colonel O'Connor's flawless aerial skill and coolness under pressure while attacking a key Serbian military facility directly contributed to the historic success of the Operation Allied Force air campaign.”
 
Stealth Fighter is an engaging look into the culture of those who fly high-tech fighters and bombers and an exciting personal account of the pinnacle of one pilot’s career in the cockpit.


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Customer Reviews

My son gave me this book as a gift.
Abbey
The author has a very "every-man" writing style that is easy to follow and fun to read.
reiththestud
Great read for aviation enthusiasts.
Erik Gilg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kaman on May 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First off, I have to thank the author for his service to the cause of peace and freedom. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and learned quite a lot about the marvelous F-117 stealth fighter, its operational history, its heritage and its dedicated crews (pilots, maintainers). This is a very easy read for aviation laymen like myself. The author even provides a bit of political commentary regarding the US/NATO involvement in 'Ops Allied Force' in 1999 over Kosovo which was refreshing, unexpected and candid. I liked that a lot. The technical stuff are also explained in a very interesting manner by which any one could understand the characteristics of this magnificent airplane and missions it was capable of doing. Having said that, I have one critical thing to say about the book or how parts of it were written. And it is that the book at times read like a log book and not a memoir. It seemed the author had pulled his log book or travel journal from his drawer and had decided to merely copy his entries on the pages of this books with little or no editing. Example: "At 7am I went to sleep and woke up at 5pm and went to shower or eat... then went to briefing room to..." (Not exactly these words but you get the point). It does not damage the book but it does provide for a few very boring pages that could easily be skipped or left out of the book. All in all, this is a decent read for most aviation enthusiast as, like I said, the author provides more than just combat stories. I really enjoyed reading his views about the 1999 Balkans conflict, his view of President Clinton and Gen. Clark. I am glad he did and they are rare for military servicemen (retired or active) to say such things about their higher ups. 4/5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul F Crickmore on October 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In the history of military aviation, there are few aircraft types that can lay credit to fundamentally changing the way air combat is fought; Lockheed's F-117, the world's first stealth interdictor however, is certainly one of them. Despite the aircraft's amazing accomplishments, there are relatively few books in the market place that have recorded the 1-17's legacy. Thankfully Lt. Col. William `Brad' O'Connor has stepped into the breach. It's difficult to believe that "Stealth Fighter a year in the life of an F-117 pilot" is O'Connor's first book. It's articulate, has an easy flowing style and it's detailed narrative provides the reader with a wealth of information about what it was actually like to fly Lockheed's masterpiece in combat during Operation Allied Force. Despite the tight-rope that O'Connor undoubtedly had to tread in order to get this important piece of work cleared for publication, it is extremely insightful and he rightly pulls no punches when it comes to analysing the strategy forced upon the USAF by US Army General Wes. Clarke. On a minor point of criticism, I believe it's a shame that O'Connor uses crew nick-names, instead of their actual names, but that aside, this book really is a must-have for all students of contemporary military aviation history and F-117 enthusiasts alike - I couldn't put the book down and hope that O'Connor puts pen to paper again in the near future. Buy this book - you won't be disappointed!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sven Bravo on May 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Not often do you find a military pilot that is also a good written story teller (Yes, all pilots seem to excel at verbal story telling!) O'Connor is a rare exception. Reading this book you get an appreciation of the Black Jets and the discipline, training, and dedication of the pilots that fly them.

The technical information allows a glimpse into stealth technology developed thirty-five years ago. I can't wait to read about the aerospace technology we are developing today!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Green on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's almost impossible to find a worthwhile book on the F-117 and its mission. This one reads better than a novel. Much technical detail but not too much that it gets boring. This excellent aircraft was retired too soon and this book demonstrates how effective it accomplished its mission. It's too bad the Lockheed Martin Skunkworks can't duplicate the F-117 development with it's overpriced, behind schedule, underperforming turkey called the F-35.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Boots on August 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by others but I really found that I was disappointed in the "jock fighter" role the author seemed to play. In my many four decade experience with the USAF I was disappointed by all the macho drinking that the author described in detail. That isn't the AF I have been associated with. Lots of waiting around for missions...factual but true. Training is the routine...actual missions are rare and for most pilots a combination of terror and thrill. Needed more discriptions of that combination of feelings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven Meade on June 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting look behind the scenes.
Be prepared for a lot of opinion and heavy handed oratory but overall entertaining.
The best sequences are about the jet itself and the training and flight procedures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Norm on April 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had hoped that the book would cover more of the design philosophy and details rather than the politics of its operation. The airplane is a technical breakthrough but the book did not mention much in the way of research or testing of radar reflectivity as affected by surface angularity- which could have been very interesting even to layman.
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