- The Aviationist blog reports that U.S. military aircraft are using “Star Wars Canyon” for training again.
- The location was closed following a deadly 2109 accident that claimed the life of a naval aviator.
- One aircraft sighted over the canyon is the retired F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter.
A new report at The Aviationist blog claims that the U.S. military has reopened a world-famous low-level training site in California’s Mojave Desert. Rainbow Canyon, nicknamed “Star Wars Canyon,” was closed in 2019 after a fatal accident involving the crash of a F/A-18 Super Hornet. The canyon is famous with aviation enthusiasts as a place to watch fighter jets and even large transport planes twist and turn their way through the narrow, high-walled pass.
According to the blog, aircraft spotter Toshihiko Shimizu spotted a F-117A stealth fighter over Star Wars Canyon. Shimizu was able to snap several clear photos of the jet, which he then posted to his Instagram account. The canyon is located in Death Valley National Park, and is known as a place where plane watchers can actually look down on jets such as the F-22 Raptor and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as their pilots skillfully thread the tight canyon walls.
In July 2019, a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed inside the canyon, killing the pilot and injuring seven spectators nearby. The armed services apparently placed the location off-limits—until now. The Aviationist states there are reports on social media of F/A-18 Super Hornet sightings in Star Wars Canyon, indicating it is being used for training again.
Here's older footage from February 2019 of another F-117A flying through the canyon.
The sighting of a F-117A Nighthawk is consistent with other sightings over the years. The stealthy attack jet was retired from U.S. Air Force service in 2008, and jets were disassembled and placed in storage. The U.S. government disposes of a handful every year, but a small number is understood to be flown by contractor pilots throughout the American Southwest. The purpose of the flights is unknown but is almost certainly related to the F-117A’s low observable abilities.
Source: The Aviationist
You Might Also Like