THE RAPTOR RISES

One of the oldest F-22s is back to the sky after about 6 years of grounding.

Oldest F-22 Raptor takes sky again
Oldest F-22 Raptor takes to sky again.

On August 27, 2018, the Hangar 1635 at the Edwards Air Base hosted a ceremony to celebrate the rebirth of one of the original F-22 Raptors ever built. It's the Raptor #91-4006, which has been on the ground for almost six years.

The fifth-generation fighter was one of the first F-22 Raptors to have avionics installed for testing and has been at the 411th FLTS since it arrived in May 2001.

However, in November 2012, Raptor 4006 needed costly upgrades and the decision was made to put it into storage, possibly never to fly again due to the budget sequestration at the time, according to Lt. Col. Lee Bryant, 411th FLTS commander and F-22 CTF director.

After eventually getting approval and funding from the Air Force to overhaul the Raptor, a team composed of personnel from Air Force, Lockheed and Boeing worked for 27 months at Edwards to restore the jet back to flying status. This included 25,000 man-hours and almost 11,000 individual fixes/parts. The completed refurbishment extends the Raptor’s life from 2,000 flight hours to 4,000 FH and gives it newer avionics systems for testing.

Raptor 4006 is currently the oldest flying F-22. It will now be used as a flight sciences aircraft, which will be an integral part of F-22 fleet modernization.

Today, the U.S. Air Force has 183 Raptors in its inventory and boasts that the F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.

Source, Image: USAF