He was called down from Hawkins to service The Phoenix, a F-117 stealth fighter, when he detected a faulty strut pin. Before he could report the problem to the chief mechanic, he was questioned by Mitch Anderson, who had infiltrated the base while posing as the plane's pilot John Hansen. The mechanic informed Mitch that the rear assembly would disintegrate upon landing, so the plane must be grounded until the replacement part could arrive. Lenkov told him the plane wouldn't be ready until the next morning, after which Lenkov was planning to head up to Ventura for some R&R. After the mechanic was excused by Anderson to go report the problem, Anderson shot him with a sound-suppressed pistol and hid the body.
Mitch, who never intended on landing the plane after his planned attack on Air Force One, then took Lenkov's clothes and posed as him as he reported to the chief mechanic. He lied, saying the plane was in perfect condition, and was cleared for take-off.