This F-22 Raptor model is prominently displayed at the main entrance of Pratt & Whitney’s North Berwick, Maine facility. It is approximately one-quarter scale and the canopy, intakes, exhaust and joints are obviously paint. Is it less than 200 feet from Route 9.
On the way to a photo shoot in Dover, New Hampshire Friday I stopped to take a few photographs of this display. In order to get the sky and flags in the background–as opposed to the building–I drove in the Pratt & Whitney entrance. I then walked right up to the display, crouched down in the knee-deep snow, and proceeded to quickly snap four exposures. This activity caught the attention of Pratt & Whitney Security and a young officer was dispatched to see what I was doing.
“Taking a picture”, I replied when asked about my activity. “Why”, came his response. “Because I like airplanes.”
He said I wasn’t allowed to photograph it because it was a military aircraft. I suppose he thought that would be intimidating to me. I was in the Air Force for 11 years and have been to numerous military and civilian air shows. I’ve photographed many “military aircraft”. But this, obviously, is not an aircraft of any kind. It’s just shaped like an aircraft. In response to my “you’ve got to be kidding me” look, he said it’s an aircraft prototype. “No”, I said, “it isn’t”. As I was returning to my vehicle he told me not to leave. I told him that to stop me he’d have to arrest me and that I was pretty sure he didn’t have the authority to do that. He said I wouldn’t be permitted to leave because I might have to delete the photos I’d taken. I said I’d give him one minute to figure out what he was going to do. I put my camera in the car and closed the door. Then I stood there and waited as I had promised.
After a few more seconds of talking on the radio to his supervisor he said he’d need to see some identification. I laughed and refused. Then I asked if he’d ever read the Constitution of the United States of America. He got back on the radio to tell his supervisor I had refused to show him my I.D. Sure, I was being a dick, but this guy was annoying and was beginning to piss me off. I got in my vehicle and left. He did not attempt to stop me.
Don’t they teach The Constitution at the Mall Cop Academy? I was on private property, I know. He could have simply asked me to leave. If their display is so secret they should put it inside the building or cover it in a shroud.
The F-22 Raptor has been flying for more than 18 years. It has been photographed at air shows countless times. A real Raptor is currently on static display at the National Museum of the Air Force. There’s nothing secret about its shape or number of engines.
The F-22 is produced jointly by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. Pratt & Whitney provides dual afterburning F119-PW-100 turbofans that incorporate pitch axis thrust vectoring.