According to anonymous sources close to the Pentagon the F-117 stealth fighter was not brought by a Yugoslav anti-aircraft missile. It fell victim to a crash of its on-board computer. That particular plane was one of eight experimental planes whose computer was running on Windows CE operating system. According to the pilot, he was returning back to base when he heard a familiar taah-tahm tune. The sound was very familiar but definitely did not belong to the cockpit environment. A second later the pilot realized where he heard it so many times before. It was a sound of Windows shutting down. Another second later the computer screen turned black and the plane began behaving erratically. The pilot attempted to reboot the computer while trying to keep the jet flying. The plane was barely responding to the controls -- a behaviour expected from a "fly-by-wire" aircraft. Unlike conventional planes that can be flown manually F-117 needs the computer just to maintain the straight course. If the on-board computer of F-117 is turned off the plane becomes aerodynamically unstable and even the best pilot cannot control it. Indeed, Windows was still loading when the jet began rapidly changing pitch angle, steeply climbing up and then plunging down. In a few seconds of a wild ride the wings began to flatter and eventually the right wing fractured and separated from the fuselage. The pilot pulled the ejection handles. Though the Pentagon declined to comment the evidence points to the allegations to be true. Air combat command grounded the remaining seven jets from the experimental Windows CE group immediately after the incident. According to an air force technician at Aviano air base in Italy who spoke on condition of anonymity the air force engineers believe that it was the recently discovered "50 days" glitch that brought down the plane. It was recently reported that Windows 98 crashes after 49.7 days of uninterrupted work because of the timer buffer overflow. Apparently, the same glitch was present in the version of Windows CE used in the crashed F-117. Indeed, the flying log shows that the plane was in continuous operation for 50 days. The 2 months preceding the crash the plane was used very extensively. It was never used so extensively before. Even when the plane was grounded for express maintenance and refuelling the computer was not powered down. Switching eight stealth fighters to Windows CE was a part of broader strategy by the Pentagon to control costs by relying on already developed civilian technology and off-the-shelf components. A similar mishap happened a couple of years ago when Windows NT crashed and paralyzed a Navy battleship for 2 hours. It is expected that senior Pentagon officials would hold a news conference on the 1st of April to announce whether or not the U.S. armed forces will continue relying on Windows operating system.
I bet his face was a picture when it dawned on him what the familiar noise was!