were housed in Hangar 17 at Area 51.
July 1979 Article 1002 was lost due to an engine fire. Dyson noticed two hydraulic system warning lights while flying about 35 miles from Groom Lake. He ejected, and the last HAVE BLUE tumbled end over end to the desert floor. The wreckage was buried near Groom Lake.
April 1979 The CIA transferred control of the test site to the Air Force. AFFTC commander B/Gen. Philip J. Conley Jr. originally designated and activated the new unit as the 6516th Test Squadron, under the supervision of the 6510th Test Wing.
May 1979 The Special Order designating and activating the 6516th Test Squadron was revoked and the unit was activated as OL-AA, Detachment 3, AFFTC. Col. Larry D. McClain was assigned as commander of DET 3, AFFTC.
October 1979 The 4477th Test and Evaluation Flight sponsored Phase I construction of a new airfield and support facilities at Tonopah Test Range (TTR).
The $7 million project included construction of a maintenance hangar, a concrete apron, access taxiway, propane tank, a few permanent outbuildings, and 16 mobile homes. The original 6,000-foot runway was extended to 10,000 feet. It was laid out with the same heading as the main runway at Area 51.
May 1980 The 4477th TEF Red Eagles was upgraded to squadron status as the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron.
October 1980 Phase II construction, sponsored by the 4477th TES, began at TTR at a cost of $17 million. It included an expansion of the apron area, construction of a taxiway, fuel tanks, a dining hall, water tank, warehouse, support utilities, and a 42,000-square-foot hangar.
January 1981 The Lockheed test site at Groom Lake accepted delivery of the first SENIOR TREND Full- Scale Development prototype (designated YF-117A).
March 1981 In preparation for TAC operational test and evaluation of the F-117A, Phase III construction began at TTR. At a cost of $79 million, facilities were built for the 4450th Tactical Group, the unit that would operate the aircraft.
May 1981 Col. Charles "Pete" Winters became commander of DET 3, AFFTC. Winters had served as McClain's vice commander.
January 1981 Lockheed test pilot Hal Farley successfully completed the first YF-117A flight.
January 1982 Phase II construction at TTR was completed in January 1982. This provided a new home for the 4477th TES, and began the transition of TTR (also known as Area 52) from a bare base to a standard Air Force base.
TACIT BLUE, a stealth technology demonstrator built by Northrop, was trucked to the Groom Lake test site in several large crates for final assembly in Hangar 8.