"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.