AREA 51 The Groom Dry Lake area of the Nellis Air Force Range and Nuclear Test Site in the Nevada desert, about 80 miles NNW of Las Vegas. It is here that the US government is test-flying highly secret BLACK PROJECT aircraft, including UFOs, for a number of years.
One of the most secret places on earth.
Nevada Desert, Area 51, S4 (houses UFO's) (Area 51 is the most protected base on the planet.)
U2 pilot training in the 50's
The SR-71 was developed here.
The Groom Dry Lake area of the Nellis Air Force Range and Nuclear Test Site in the Nevada desert, about 80 miles NNW of Las Vegas. It is here that the US government is test-flying highly secret BLACK PROJECT aircraft, including UFOs, for a number of years.
Probably the most famous of all UFO-related locations, Area 51 has earned a place in both the UFOLOGY community and the pubic imagination. Also called "Dreamland" (for Data Repository Establishment and Maintenance), Area 51 is a top-secret U.S. base conducting highly classified defense projects. There have been many claims that there are alien spacecraft hidden at the site and that the U.S. government is testing aircraft reverse-engineered from those craft.
Area 51: Known by many other names such as Dreamland, the box, the dark side of the moon and the ranch, Area 51 is a secret military base located 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas Nevada. It has been in existence since the 1950s, however only recently has the government and military admitted that the base exists at all. What transpires there is some of the highest security work in the United States, some of which includes testing of new type aircraft, radioactive research, etc.
It has been reported that extraterrestrial craft and possibly alien bodies are housed at this installation in an area known as S-4. Reports of 22 levels below ground have also been noted. Security is some of the highest in the country with signs at the perimeter of the base that warn trespassers that, “the use of deadly force is authorized.” I don’t want our military development secrets revealed to our adversaries, however if alien craft or bodies are kept there, I am interested in that for the future of our children and grandchildren.
Area 51, Groom Lake, Dreamland, Nevada Test Site, Nellis Test Range, Paradise Ranch, the Ranch, Watertown Strip, the Box, the Pig Farm... For a place that doesn't officially exist, it's had a lot of names. Its mailing address is "Pittman Station, Henderson, Nevada." Area 51 has seen a lot of history, as well:
Before World War II, America had very little intelligence gathering capability, a fact which contributed greatly to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. During the war, however, this was remedied quickly, and allied intelligence activities were coordinated by the American OSS (Office of Strategic Services).
After the war, the OSS was disbanded, but the memory of Pearl Harbor, plus the growing threat of the Soviet Union, led President Truman to sign the National Security Act of 1947, which set up both the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency, with a Director of Central Intelligence answering directly to the President.
At first, the Central Intelligence Agency's main function was that of collecting and analyzing the vast amount of information gathered by other agencies, such as those of the various branches of the military. However, as the Cold War escalated, the Agency began to perform more operational functions and to perform intelligence gathering on its own. In 1949, the CIA Act was passed, which stipulated that not only the CIA's activities would be classified, but that its budget would also be classified. In addition, any other government agency could transfer funds to the CIA "without regard to any provisions of law." Also part of this Act was a stipulation that if the CIA's activities were exposed, the U.S. government could "plausibly deny" any responsibility for the CIA's actions.
Immediately after World War II, the most important military questions in the world became: "Have the Soviets developed a nuclear weapon?" and "What is the extent of the Soviet military build-up in Eastern Europe?" Several methods were used to try to answer these questions. The celebrated "Project Mogul" balloon trains were one that failed. In another, pilots were ordered to fly bombers over Soviet military installations to take reconnaissance photographs. Of course, many of them were shot down, because these aircraft flew too low and slow and thus were easy targets for the Russians.
In 1953, Major John Seaberg, an aerospace development engineer at Wright-Patterson AFB, came up with an idea for a very fast jet that could overfly the USSR at 70,000 feet, high enough that the Soviet weapons of the day could not shoot it down. Such a jet, using the latest cameras and films, could take extraordinarily detailed photos from such an altitude. The idea was approved, but the administration of the project was given to the CIA instead of to the Air Force. Seaberg wanted to bypass the major aerospace companies for some reason, so he offered the contract for such a plane to three smaller companies, but he was outsmarted by Lockheed's Kelly Johnson. Johnson took his design of an F-104 body with a seventy-foot wingspan and a Pratt and Whitney J57 engine and went directly to the CIA with it, promising delivery in eight months. He got the contract.
The customary test site for such aircraft at the time was Edwards AFB, but for a project as top-secret as this one, security at Edwards was thought to be inadequate. Johnson told his top test-pilot, Tony LeVier, to go and find a secure site somewhere in the Southwest from which to test fly the plane, which was being called Aquatone by the CIA, and Angel by Lockheed.
LeVier and Dorsey Kammerier, another Lockheed employee, took off in a Beech Bonanza looking for dry lakes, which provided a ready surface for landing. They checked a dozen or so before they came to Groom Lake, Nevada. It was northeast of Las Vegas and adjacent to the Atomic Energy Commission Proving Grounds (later renamed the "Nevada Test Site"), and had been used for target practice during World War II. The area was unpopulated, which was good because it had been sprayed regularly with radioactive fallout from the atomic tests at the Proving Grounds. There was a lead mine operated by the Sheahan family in the mountains near the dry lake, but work there was sporadic due to the nuclear tests.
The location seems like a bad choice for an air base because of the fallout. One wonders about cancer rates among those who have worked there, particularly in the early days of the base. But the fallout was part of the attraction. The security of the Proving Grounds was tight, and the fallout helped keep people away. The area controlled by the AEC was expanded to include Groom Lake, and by July, 1955 the CIA had its secret base. A fake construction firm, "CLJ", was invented to oversee the construction, which was mostly done by sub-contractors. Hangars, a mile-long runway, a concrete ramp, a control tower, a mess hall, and other amenities were constructed. In official records, the base was referred to as Watertown Strip, but it was called "Paradise Ranch" or just "the Ranch" by the pilots and ground crews.
The first prototype of the top secret Aquatone was called "Article 341," and it was flown out to Groom on a transport plane from Lockheed's Burbank, California facility on 7/24/55. It arrived disassembled and wrapped in cloth. The plane had only two landing wheels; it was like landing a bicycle. On its maiden flight, LeVier wanted to touch the rear wheel first, but Johnson insisted the best way was to touch the nose wheel down first. After two failed attempts at doing it Johnson's way, Levier landed it perfectly, rear wheel first, just before a rainstorm flooded the "dry" lake to a depth of two inches. Legend has it that when LeVier got out of the cockpit, he saluted Johnson with a "one-fingered" salute for nearly getting him killed with his insistence on a nose-first landing. Johnson is supposed to have returned the "one-fingered" salute and yelled "You, too!" The story was widely told among the pilots, and the plane itself became known as the "You, too!" or U-2.
The thing to remember about all this is that the "Ranch" was not a U.S. Air Force Base. Lockheed and the CIA were in charge here, not the military. To be sure, U-2 pilots were recruited from among F-84 pilots with top-secret clearances from SAC bases. If they took the job, however, they resigned from the Air Force and became CIA employees. The production U-2's were flown in from a small Lockheed factory at Oildale, California on board C-124 transport planes. The C-124 pilots weren't even told their destinations, but were told to fly (at night) to a certain point on the California-Nevada border, and from there they were directed by radio into their unknown landing site. Everyone turned in their regular I.D.s on arrival at Groom and used aliases while on duty.
The first actual mission over the USSR took place on 7/4/56, followed quickly by two more. The planes, with their plain, unpainted aluminum skin, were easily detected by Soviet radar, but weren't so easily shot down at high altitudes and speed. Until May 1, 1960, that is. That day, Francis Gary Powers was shot down by a Soviet missile, captured, forced to confess to spying, and sentenced to ten years in a Soviet prison.
The same day that Powers was shot down, film was retrieved from the first American spy satellite that revealed more information about the Soviet military build-up than had all the U-2 missions combined. But there was still a need for a plane that could fly over selected spots at selected times. Satellites just couldn't do that; once they were in orbit, they were basically unmaneuverable. So the U-2 continued to be used, and is still used today. Just recently it has been used to overfly Iraq and verify the location of Hussein's weapons storage sites. But the U-2 was moved to other bases to make room for its successor at Groom, a successor called Archangel by Lockheed.
At first it was thought that the project would have to be located elsewhere, because Archangel, or Project Oxcart as the CIA called it, required a runway over half again as long as Groom's mile long one. Other bases were considered, but none could match the security at Groom, so the Groom runway was extended to 8500 feet of concrete and a small town was built for the support personnel, including a movie theater, a saloon, and a baseball field. The base also acquired a new name. On government documents it began to be referred to as Area 51.
In 1962, the base was ready, and the new plane, called the A-12 was ready as well. The restricted airspace above the base was extended to 600 square miles with Groom in the center. Nellis AFB personnel began referring to Groom by the the call sign of its control tower: Dreamland.
The A-12 was originally designed as an interceptor, but Lockheed made a modified version to be used as a high altitude reconnaissance plane. This version was called the RS-71, for "reconnaissance strike". According to another legend, an aide to President Lyndon Johnson incorrectly told him that the plane was called "strike reconnaissance", and so he announced it as the SR-71. Rather than correct the President, the name was changed to SR-71. The plane incorporated some of the first "stealth" type technology, being coated with radar-absorbing ferrites and plastics and painted black (hence SR-71 "Blackbird").
After the SR-71 was retired, the next vehicle to take off from Dreamland was an unmanned drone called the D-21 Tagboard. It was hoped that such unmanned drones could overfly the USSR and China and take reconnaissance photographs without endangering a pilot. It was not to be, and the drone was a dismal failure.
The reflection of radio waves from different shapes had been predicted by scientists back in the nineteenth century, and it was inevitable that someone would think of using this reflection to detect approaching war planes. Since some shapes can reflect radar waves better and some not as well, it was perhaps also inevitable that someone would realize that by changing the shape of an airplane's fuselage, they could reduce its detectability by radar.
The stealth project was born in 1973, and was called Project Harvey after the invisible rabbit of the same name. Once again, Lockheed won the race. They broke the surface of the airplane down into a collection of flat surfaces, each of which would reflect radar waves away from their source, rather than back at it. Because all of these flat surfaces looked like the facets of a diamond, the project became known within Lockheed as Hopeless Diamond. When the design was first tested, a radar operator could not detect the plane at all, but he could detect a crow which landed on it. Flying it was the difficult thing, impossible without an array of computers to continually correct the control surfaces. Renamed Have Blue the prototypes arrived at Area 51 in 1977 for testing.
Area 51 has been used for test flights of captured foreign aircraft, such as the MIG-21, and for testing the Stealth B-2 bomber, but what is being tested there now? There are rumors of craft like the TR-3A Black Manta, the Pumpkin Seed, and something called the Aurora. Some kind of aircraft (maybe the Aurora, maybe not) has been seen that leaves a trail that looks like "doughnuts on a rope".
What about UFOs? Before Area 51 came into prominence, the crashed "saucer" from Roswell was said to have been taken to Wright-Patterson. Now it's said to be at Area 51, being readied for flight-testing! Gosh! That saucer was wrecked when we "got" it, and it's over 50 years old now. I sure hope those things don't wear out! Those who talk about underground bases say that the base at Groom Lake is just surface window-dressing. The REAL base there is underground, and it's full of aliens!
Area 51 was brought to prominence in UFOlogy mainly by a fellow named Robert Lazar, who claimed to have been hired to reverse-engineer a UFO propulsion system there, or rather down the road at Papoose Lake. No real evidence of a facility at Papoose Lake has come to light, though.
Rumors have circulated in recent years that the Groom Lake base was being phased out, but it seems to be going as strongly as ever. Recent information is that "daytime stealth" using something called "electrochromatic panels" is being tested there. If it works, this technology would make the surface of an aircraft like the skin of a chameleon, able to become invisible by taking on the appearance of the background.
Some people feel so threatened by the idea of a secret government base that they have demanded that the base be opened to the public. Me, I feel safer knowing that America might have an ace in the hole...
Research - Mysterious Bases
News Item: How to peek into Area 51 using Google Maps
This page was last updated on: 1/21/2011
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