Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work, as I take no advertisements nor accept any sponsors in order to keep the website clean, easy to read, and to avoid any accusations of conflict of interest. Your support leaves me entirely independent, able to say whatever I think while being free from censorship or reprisals.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Ben Rich, Skunk Works, & the F117 Stealth fighter

An evening pause: As one commenter at the youtube page said, “Every once in a while 60 minutes comes up with a great story.”

Hat tip Mike Nelson.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Jay

    Great book. I encourage everyone to read it. It is not only about the F-117, but the history of the organization, the U-2 and the SR-71 as well. While in college I had to take a business class and we had to read a book about a business and give a speech about it. Of course I read this book. The business majors in the class were horrified that engineers ran the Skunkworks and not the typical management.

  • Jeff Wright

    That’s as it should be. Stealth helped ruin the beauty of military aviation…and the advantage is slipping. I didn’t mind the paint spec’ …show the flag. That paint may have a spinoff use.

  • Alton

    Another Rich story I heard:
    When they were working on the B2 the radar cross section tests were not down to the level wanted . Rich showed it to his Boss a
    With the off hand Comments from one of the engineers that What they needed a Klingon Cloaking device.

    His Boss looked him straight in the Eye and said…then go build one…..then added I mean it come back when it’s ready…..

    Thus the coating on the outside of the bird was invented… And became the maintenance headache to this day.
    Just posted are pictures of the F35s launching in the Pacific, with (looks like) mold growing in their current (great grand child) generation coatings…….

  • George C

    Many years ago, living under the flight path off one of the runways of Hanscom Field, my after midnight TV watching could be modified by multipath interference as the analog TV signal bounced off moving aircraft. Then one moonless night I heard something in the air but saw no TV signal changes. I ran outside, no lights in the sky and no light from the airfield either. Being ready for the next moonless night and recognizing the particular sound and lack of electro magnetic wave signal changes, the only thing I ever saw was the pattern of blocked stars as the thing flew overhead.

    If I had a suitable software defined radio and the spare time I could still observe those multipath effects. And I suppose that with enough Starlink nodes and ground nodes cooperating one would have other ways to detect some hidden things.

  • wayne

    “Tony Stark Was Able To Build This In A Cave! With A Box Of Scraps!”

  • Andrew_W

    Ben Rich once told a story about when they had a model of the F117 mounted upside down on a stand testing it’s radar reflection using a radar on a neighboring hill.

    The radar operator asked him to check if the model had fallen off the stand because he wasn’t getting any return, Ben had a look, just then a bird landed on the model – “no it’s ok, I’ve got a return now”.

  • Phil Berardelli

    This country has been blessed over the years by practical geniuses such as Ben Rich and Kelly Johnston — who designed the SR-71 using only slide rules. Heaven help us if the country squelches such gifted individuals, as our so-called woke military seems to be doing now.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *