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Area 51

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the U.S. Air Force installation in Nevada. For other uses, see Area 51 (disambiguation).

Area 51

A satellite image of Area 51 from 2000 shows dryGroom Lake just northeast of the site.



Airport type



U.S. ederal Go!ernment


United States Air or"e


Southern #e!ada$ U.S.

Elevation AMSL %$%&2 ft ' 1$(&0 m ()*1%+0&,# 115*%-+%0,./oordinates0 Coor inate! (

)*1%+0&,# 115*%-+%0,. Map

KXTA Lo"ation of Area 51 Airfield

1show2Map o" all coor inate! "rom #oo$le Map o" up to %&& coor inate! "rom 'in$

Area 51, also officially known as Groom Lake[1] or Homey Airport (ICAO KXTA! is a remote detachment of "dwards Air Force #ase$ Accordin% to the Central Intelli%ence A%ency (CIA!, the correct names for the Area 51 facility are the &e'ada (est and (rainin% )an%e and *room +ake,[,]tho-%h the name Area 51 has .een -sed in official CIA doc-mentation$ [/] Other names -sed for the facility incl-de Dreamland,[0] aradise !anch,[5][1] "ome #ase, $aterto%n Stri&,[2] and most recently "ome' Air&ort$[3] (he area aro-nd the field is referred to as ()40353&!$ [6] It is located in the so-thern portion of &e'ada in the western 7nited 8tates, 3/ miles (1// km! north4northwest of +as 9e%as$ 8it-ated at its center, on the so-thern shore of *room +ake, is a lar%e military airfield$ (he .ase:s c-rrent primary p-rpose is officially -ndetermined; howe'er, .ased on historical e'idence, it most likely s-pports de'elopment and testin% of e<perimental aircraft and weapons systems$[15] (he intense secrecy s-rro-ndin% the .ase has made it the fre=-ent s-.>ect of conspiracy theories and a central component to -nidentified flyin% o.>ect (7FO! folklore$[1][11] Altho-%h the .ase has ne'er .een declared a secret .ase, all research and occ-rin%s in Area 51 are (op 8ecret?8ensiti'e Compartmented Information ((8?8CI!$[1]

1 *eo%raphy 1$1 Area 51

o o o o o o o o o
, @istory

1$, *room +ake

,$1 *room +ake ,$, World War II ,$/ 74, pro%ram ,$0 OACA)( pro%ram ,$5 B4,1 (a%.oard ,$1 Forei%n technolo%y e'al-ation ,$2 @a'e #l-e?F4112 pro%ram ,$3 +ater operations / 7$8$ %o'ernment:s positions on Area 51 0 8ec-rity and operations 5 Ci'il A'iation identification 1 "n'ironmental laws-it 2 1620 8kyla. photo%raphy 3 7FO and other conspiracy theories 6 In pop-lar c-lt-re 15 8ee also 11 )eferences 1, "<ternal links

Area 51

Cap showin% Area 51, &AF), and the&(8

(he ori%inal rectan%-lar .ase of 1 .y 15 miles (6$2 .y 11 km! is now part of the so4called D*room .o<D, a rectan%-lar area meas-rin% ,/ .y ,5 miles (/2 .y 05 km!, of restricted airspace$ (he area is connected to the internal &e'ada (est 8ite (&(8! road network, with pa'ed roads leadin% so-th to Cerc-ry and west to E-cca Flat$ +eadin% northeast from the lake, the wide and well4maintained *room +ake )oad r-ns thro-%h a pass in the F-m.led @ills$ (he road formerly led to mines in the *room .asin, .-t has .een impro'ed since their clos-re$ Its windin% co-rse r-ns past a sec-rity checkpoint, .-t the restricted area aro-nd the .ase e<tends f-rther east$ After lea'in% the restricted area, *room +ake )oad descends eastward to the floor of the (ika.oo 9alley, passin% the dirt4road entrances to se'eral small ranches, .efore con'er%in% with 8tate )o-te /25, the D"<traterrestrial @i%hwayD,[1,] so-th of )achel$ Area 51 shares a .order with the E-cca Flat re%ion of the &e'ada (est 8ite, the location of 2/6 of the 6,3 n-clear tests cond-cted .y the 7nited 8tates Bepartment of "ner%y at &(8$[1/][10][15] (he E-cca Co-ntain n-clear waste repository is 00 miles (21 km! so-thwest of *room +ake$

Groom Lake

&e'ada (est )an%e topo%raphic chart centered on *room +ake

Groom Lake is a salt flat in &e'ada -sed for r-nways of the &ellis #om.in% )an%e (est 8ite airport (GA(A! on the north of the Area 51 78AFmilitary installation$ (he lake at 0,056 ft (1,/00 m![11] ele'ation is appro<imately /$2 miles (1$5 km! from north to so-th and / miles (0$3 km! from east to west at its widest point$ +ocated within the namesake *room +ake 9alley portion of the (onopah #asin, the lake is ,5 mi (05 km! so-th of)achel, &e'ada$

(he ori%in of the Area 51 name is -nclear$ (he most accepted comes from a %rid n-m.erin% system of the area .y the Atomic "ner%y Commission(A"C!; while Area 51 isn:t part of this system it is ad>acent to Area 15$ Another e<planation is that 51 was -sed .eca-se it was -nlikely that the A"C wo-ld -se the n-m.er$ [12]

Groom Lake

(ain article) Silver mining in Nevada +ead and sil'er were disco'ered in the so-thern part of the *room )an%e in 1310, [13] and the "n%lish *roome +ead (ines +imited company financed the Conception Cines in the 1325s, %i'in% the district its name (near.y mines incl-ded Caria, Willow and White +ake!$ Also, the historical town of )osswell was located here -ntil e'ac-ation of the 78 Cilitary$ [16] (he interests in *room were ac=-ired .y F$ #$ Os.orne and partners and patented in 1321, and his son ac=-ired the interests in the 1365s$

Claims were incorporated as two 1611 companies with minin% contin-in% -ntil 1613 and res-min% after World War II -ntil the

early 1655s$[16]

World War II
(he airfield on the *room +ake site .e%an ser'ice in 160, as Indian 8prin%s Air Force A-<iliary Field, [,5] and consisted of two dirt 5555: r-nways ali%ned &"?8W, &W?8" /2H11I/5J& 115H05I,5JW$ (he airfield may ha'e .een -sed for .om.in% and artillery practice; .om. craters are still 'isi.le in the 'icinity$ [,1]

U-2 program
(ain article) +oc,heed U-. (he *room +ake test facility was esta.lished .y the Central Intelli%ence A%ency (CIA! for ro/ect A0uatone, the de'elopment of the +ockheed 74, strate%ic reconnaissance aircraft in April 1655$ As part of the pro>ect, the director, )ichard C$ #issell, Fr$, -nderstood that, %i'en the e<treme secrecy en'elopin% the pro>ect, the fli%ht test and pilot trainin% pro%rams co-ld not .e cond-cted at"dwards Air Force #ase or +ockheed:s Kalmdale facility$ A search for a s-ita.le testin% site for the 74, was cond-cted -nder the same e<treme sec-rity as the rest of the pro>ect$ [,,] @e notified +ockheed, who sent an inspection team o-t to *room +ake$ Accordin% to +ockheed:s 74, desi%ner Gelly Fohnson [,,] $$$ We flew o'er it and within thirty seconds, yo- knew that was the place $$$ it was ri%ht .y a dry lake$ Can ali'e, we looked at that lake, and we all looked at each other$ It was another "dwards, so we wheeled aro-nd, landed on that lake, ta<ied -p to one end of it$ It was a perfect nat-ral landin% field $$$ as smooth as a .illiard ta.le witho-t anythin% .ein% done to itD$ Fohnson -sed a compass to lay o-t the direction of the first r-nway$ (he place was called D*room +akeD$ (he lake.ed made an ideal strip from which they co-ld test aircraft, and the "mi%rant 9alley:s mo-ntain ran%es and the &(8 perimeter, a.o-t 155 miles north of +as 9e%as, protected the test site from 'isitors$ [,/] (he CIA asked the A"C to ac=-ire the land, desi%nated DArea 51D on the map, and add it to the &e'ada (est 8ite$ [,0] 51452 Fohnson named the area DKaradise )anchD to enco-ra%e workers to mo'e to a place that the CIA:s official history of the 74, pro>ect wo-ld later descri.e as Dthe new facility in the middle of nowhereD; the name .ecame shortened to Dthe )anchD$ [,0] 52 On 0 Cay 1655, a s-r'ey team arri'ed at *room +ake and laid o-t a 5,5554foot (1,555 m!, north4so-th r-nway on the so-thwest corner of the lake.ed and desi%nated a site for a .ase s-pport facility$ D(he )anchD, also known as 8ite II, initially consisted of little more than a few shelters, workshops and trailer homes in which to ho-se its small team$ [,/] In a little o'er three months, the .ase consisted of a sin%le, pa'ed r-nway, three han%ars, a control tower, and r-dimentary accommodations for test personnel$ (he .ase:s few amenities incl-ded a mo'ie theatre and 'olley.all co-rt$ Additionally, there was a mess hall, se'eral water wells, and f-el stora%e tanks$ #y F-ly 1655, CIA, Air Force, and +ockheed personnel .e%an arri'in%$ (he )anch recei'ed its first 74, deli'ery on ,0 F-ly 1655 from #-r.ank on a C41,0 *lo.emaster II car%o plane, accompanied .y +ockheed technicians on aBo-%las BC4/$[,/] )e%-lar Cilitary Air (ransport 8er'ice fli%hts were set -p .etween Area 51 and +ockheed:s #-r.ank,

California offices$ (o preser'e secrecy, personnel flew to &e'ada on Conday mornin%s and ret-rned to California on Friday e'enin%s$[,0] 2,

XCA!T program
(ain articles) +oc,heed A-1. and S!-11 #lac,bird

A41, d-rin% radar testin% at *room +ake

"'en .efore 74, de'elopment was complete, +ockheed .e%an work on its s-ccessor as part of the CIA:s 234A!T pro>ect, in'ol'in% the A41,, a Cach4/ hi%h4altit-de reconnaissance aircraft L a later 'ariant of which .ecame the famed 78AF 8)421 #lack.ird$

(he second EF41,A Interceptor prototype at *room +ake, &e'ada (78AF Khoto%raph!

+ockheed EF41,A 15416/0 in Air Befense Command markin%s 161/$ (he only EF41,A in ABC markin%s, its first test fli%ht occ-rred on 2 A-%-st 161/ at *room +ake, &e'ada$ It was e<tensi'ely tested at "dwards Air Force .ase$ (his aircraft was dama%ed .eyond repair .y fire at "dwards d-rin% a landin% mishap on 10 A-%-st 1611; its rear half was sal'a%ed and com.ined with the front half of a +ockheed static test airframe to create the one and only 8)421C 10412631$

As with the pre'io-s 74, pro%ram, sec-rity re=-irements of the O<cart pro>ect necessitated an o.sc-re, secret location for A41, testin%$ Bespite the s-ccess of the 74, fli%ht tests and the OACA)( mock4-p radar tests, *room +ake was not initially considered$ It was a DWild WestD o-tpost, with primiti'e facilities for only 155 people$ (he A41, test pro%ram wo-ld re=-ire more

than ten times that n-m.er$ *room +ake:s fi'e4tho-sand foot asphalt r-nway was .oth too short and -na.le to s-pport the wei%ht of the O<cart$ (he f-el s-pply, han%ar space, and shop space were all inade=-ate$ [,,] (en Air Force .ases pro%rammed for clos-re were considered, .-t all were re>ected$ (he site had to .e away from any cities and military or ci'ilian airways to pre'ent si%htin%s$ It also had to ha'e %ood weather, the necessary ho-sin% and f-el s-pplies, and an ei%hty4fi'e4h-ndred4foot r-nway$ &one of the air force .ases met the sec-rity re=-irements, altho-%h, for a time, "dwards Air Force #ase was considered$ In the end, *room +ake was the only possi.ility from the standpoint of sec-rity .-t its short r-nway and a-stere facilities meant a ma>or -p%rade wo-ld .e re=-ired .efore O<cart A41, testin% co-ld commence$ *room +ake had also, .y this time, recei'ed a new official name$ (he &e'ada n-clear test site was di'ided into se'eral n-m.ered areas$ (o .lend in, *room +ake .ecame DArea 51D$ [,,] (his aircraft fli%ht characteristics and maintenance re=-irements forced a massi'e e<pansion of facilities and r-nways at *room +ake$ On 1 Octo.er 1615, )eynolds "lectrical and "n%ineerin% Company ()""Co! .e%an work on the site, referred to as DKro>ect 51D$ Workers en%a%ed in do-.le4shift constr-ction sched-les for the ne<t fo-r years to o'erha-l and -p%rade .ase facilities, and also e<pand the e<istin% r-nway to 3,5554foot (,,155 m! as well as harden the e<istin% r-nway to s-pport the hea'ier A41,$ In addition, a new 15,5554foot r-nway was constr-cted (10?/,! dia%onally across the so-thwest corner of the lake.ed$ An Archimedes c-r'e appro<imately two miles across was marked on the dry lake so that an A41, pilot approachin% the end of the o'err-n co-ld a.ort to the playa instead of pl-n%in% the aircraft into the sa%e.r-sh$ Area 51 pilots called it D(he @ookD$ For crosswind landin%s two -npa'ed airstrips (r-nways 6?,2 and 5/?,1! were marked on the dry lake.ed$ [,5] #y A-%-st 1611, constr-ction of the essential facilities was completed$ (he 7nited 8tates &a'y s-pplied three s-rpl-s han%ars which were erected on the .ase:s north side$ (hey were desi%nated as @an%ar 0, 5, and 1$ A fo-rth, @an%ar 2, was new constr-ction$ (he ori%inal 74, han%ars were con'erted to maintenance and machine shops$ Facilities in the main cantonment area incl-ded workshops and .-ildin%s for stora%e and administration, a commissary, control tower, fire station, and ho-sin%$ (he &a'y also contri.-ted more than 1/5 s-rpl-s #a..itt d-ple< ho-sin% -nits for lon%4term occ-pancy facilities$ Older .-ildin%s were repaired, and additional facilities were constr-cted as necessary$ A reser'oir pond, s-rro-nded .y trees, ser'ed as a recreational area one mile north of the .ase$ Other recreational facilities incl-ded a %ymnasi-m, mo'ie theatre, and a .ase.all diamond$[,5]A permanent aircraft f-el tank farm was constr-cted .y early 161, for the special FK42 f-el re=-ired .y the A41,$ 8e'en tanks were constr-cted, with a total capacity of 1,/,5,5554%allons$ Kreparations .e%an for the arri'al of OACA)(; sec-rity was %reatly enhanced, and the small ci'ilian mine in the *room .asin was closed$ In Fan-ary 161,, the Federal A'iation Administration (FAA! e<panded the restricted airspace in the 'icinity of *room +ake$ (he lake.ed .ecame the center of a 1554s=-are4mile addition to restricted area )40353&$ )estricted contin-o-sly at all altit-des, the airspace occ-pies the center of the &ellis Air Force )an%e$ [,5] Altho-%h remainin% -nder the >-risdiction of the CIA, the facility recei'ed ei%ht 78AF F4151 9oodoos for trainin%, two (4// 8hootin% 8tar trainers for proficiency flyin%, a C41/5 @erc-les for car%o transport, a 74/A for administrati'e p-rposes, a helicopter for search and resc-e, and a Cessna 135 for liaison -se; and +ockheed pro'ided an F4150 8tarfi%hter for -se as a chase plane$[,5] (he first OACA)( was co'ertly tr-cked to the .ase in Fe.r-ary 161,, assem.led, and made its first fli%ht ,1 April 161,$ At the time, the .ase .oasted a complement of o'er 1,555 personnel$ (he A41, was a lar%e, lo-d, and distincti'e4lookin% aircraft$ B-rin% the early test fli%hts, the CIA tried to limit the n-m.er of people who saw the aircraft$ All those at *room +ake not

connected with the O<cart pro%ram were herded into the mess hall .efore each takeoff$ (his was soon dropped as it disr-pted acti'ities and was impractical with the lar%e n-m.er of fli%hts$ [,,] Altho-%h the airspace a.o'e *room +ake was closed, it was near .-sy &ellis Air Force #ase$ Ine'ita.ly, there were si%htin%s$ 8ome &ellis pilots saw the A41, se'eral times$ At least one &A8A test pilot from "dwards AF# saw an A41,$ @e radioed the "dwards tower and asked what it was$ @e was c-rtly told to halt transmissions and to land$ After landin%, he was told what he had seen was 'ital to 7$8$ sec-rity$ @e also si%ned a secrecy a%reement$ (he ma>or so-rce of A41, si%htin%s was airline pilots$ It is .elie'ed that ,5 to /5 airline si%htin%s were made$ One American Airlines pilot saw an A41, twice$ B-rin% one si%htin%, a pilot saw an A41, and two chase planes; he radioed, DI see a %oose and two %oslin%s$D [,,] *room saw the first fli%ht of most ma>or #lack.ird 'ariants A41,, the a.orti'e EF41,A interceptor 'ariant desi%ned to intercept 8o'iet manned .om.ers, and the B4,1 #lack.ird4.ased dronepro>ect$ #y the end of 161/, nine A41,s were at Area 51, assi%ned to the CIA operated D11,6th 8pecial Acti'ities 8=-adronD$ [,1] A mock4-p of the D)econnaissance 8trike421D ()8421! was inspected .y the Air Force on 0 F-ne 161,$ (he concept of a strike A41, with strate%ic .om.in% capa.ilities ran into political pro.lems from .oth the Air Force, which was in'ol'ed with the A#425 9alkyrie pro%ram at the time and a lack of enth-siasm from Befense 8ecretary )o.ert 8$ Cc&amara$ Cc&amara and his DwhiM kidsD saw no need for additional manned .om.ers in the a%e ofIC#Cs$ In addition Cc&amara was phasin% down Air Befense Command and saw no -se for the EF41,A Interceptor$ Accordin%ly, only the reconnaissance 'ersion of the )8421 remained (it kept the DstrikeD part of the name, howe'er!$ Where the A41, was desi%ned for clandestine o'erfli%hts of 8o'iet territory, the )8421 carried additional side4lookin% cameras and other sensors which %a'e it m-ch %reater capa.ilities$ On ,2L,3 Becem.er 161,, a contract was iss-ed to +ockheed to .-ild si< test )8421s$[,,] Accordin% to le%end, Kresident +yndon #$ Fohnson asked an aide soon -pon takin% office after the Gennedy Assassination what the )8421 was for$ (he aide responded, Dstrate%ic reconnaissanceD$ (h-s, when Fohnson anno-nced the e<istence of a new reconnaissance aircraft, on ,0 F-ly 1610, Kresident Fohnson called it the D8)421D$ Kresident Fohnson:s anno-ncements created an -n-s-al sec-rity sit-ation$ While the 78AF 8)421 pro>ect was a DWhiteD or open pro>ect, the CIA:s A41, was not$ Its e<istence wo-ld remain a secret -ntil 1631$ (o maintain the secret, all those in'ol'ed were told of the comin% 8)421 anno-ncement and warned to keep the A41, separate$ [,,] (he 8)421 first flew at the +ockheed facilities at Kalmdale, California in Becem.er 1610, and Kalmdale and "dwards AF# ser'ed as the primary operation sites for that model$ (he 0,55th 8trate%ic )econnaissance Win% acti'ated at #eale AF# on 1 Fan-ary 1615, howe'er the first 8)421 did not arri'e -ntil 2 Fan-ary 1611$ 8tartin% in &o'em.er 1615, e'en as the A41, was declared operational for -se .y the CIA and plannin% was made for its -se, do-.ts were e<pressed a.o-t the cost of operatin% the two separate %ro-ps of A41,s and 8)421s$ After a year or more of de.ate, it was decided on 15 Fan-ary 1612, to phase o-t the CIA A41, pro%ram$ Altho-%h the O<cart was %one, its 78AF descendant, the 8)421, wo-ld contin-e to fly intelli%ence missions for the ne<t ,, years$ Finally, in 1665, the 8)421 was retired$

(he A41,s wo-ld remain at *room +ake -ntil 1613 and occasionally were deployed to Gadena A#, Okinawa$[/][,1] (he CIA:s nine remainin% A41,s were placed in stora%e at Kalmdale in F-ne 1613 and the 11,6th 8A8 was inacti'ated$ [,1] All s-r'i'in% aircraft remained there for nearly ,5 years .efore .ein% sent to m-se-ms aro-nd the 7nited 8tates$

"-21 Tag#oard

(ain article) +oc,heed D-.1

(he B4,1 mo-nted on the .ack of the C4,1$ &ote the intake co'er on the drone, which was -sed on early fli%hts$

Followin% the loss of *ary Kowers: 74, o'er the 8o'iet 7nion, there were se'eral disc-ssions a.o-t -sin% the A41, OACA)( as an -npiloted drone aircraft$ Altho-%h Gelly Fohnson had come to s-pport the idea of drone reconnaissance, he opposed the de'elopment of an A41, drone, contendin% that the aircraft was too lar%e and comple< for s-ch a con'ersion$ @owe'er, the Air Force a%reed to f-nd the st-dy of a hi%h4speed, hi%h4altit-de drone aircraft in Octo.er 161,$ (he air force interest seems to ha'e mo'ed the CIA to take action, the pro>ect desi%nated DN41,D$ #y Octo.er 161/, the drone:s desi%n had .een finaliMed$ At the same time, the N41, -nderwent a name chan%e$ (o separate it from the other A41,4.ased pro>ects, it was renamed the DB4 ,1D$ ((he D1,D was re'ersed to D,1D!$ D(a%.oardD was the pro>ect:s code name$ [,,] (he first B4,1 was completed in the sprin% of 1610 .y +ockheed$ After fo-r more months of checko-ts and static tests, the aircraft was shipped to *room +ake and reassem.led$ It was to .e carried .y a two4seat deri'ati'e of the A41,, desi%nated the DC4,1D$ When the B4,1?C4,1 reached the la-nch point, the first step wo-ld .e to .low off the B4,1:s inlet and e<ha-st co'ers$ With the B4,1?C4,1 at the correct speed and altit-de, the +CO wo-ld start the ram>et and the other systems of the B4,1$ With the B4,1:s systems acti'ated and r-nnin%, and the la-nch aircraft at the correct point, the C4,1 wo-ld .e%in a sli%ht p-sho'er, the +CO wo-ld p-sh a final .-tton, and the B4,1 wo-ld come off the pylonD$ [,,] Biffic-lties were addressed thro-%ho-t 1610 and 1615 at *room +ake with 'ario-s technical iss-es$ Capti'e fli%hts showed -nforeseen aerodynamic diffic-lties$ #y late Fan-ary 1611, more than a year after the first capti'e fli%ht, e'erythin% seemed ready$ (he first B4,1 la-nch was made on 5 Carch 1611 with a s-ccessf-l fli%ht, with the B4,1 flyin% 1,5 miles with limited f-el$ A second B41, fli%ht was s-ccessf-l in April 1611 with the drone flyin% 1,,55 miles, reachin% Cach /$/ and 65,555 feet$ An accident on /5 F-ly 1611 with a f-lly f-eled B4,1, on a planned checko-t fli%ht s-ffered from a non4start of the drone after its separation, ca-sin% it to collide with the C4,1 la-nch aircraft$ (he two crewmen e>ected and landed in the ocean 155 miles offshore$ One crew mem.er was picked -p .y a helicopter, .-t the other, ha'in% s-r'i'ed the aircraft .reak-p and e>ection, drowned when sea water entered his press-re s-it$ Gelly Fohnson personally cancelled the entire pro%ram, ha'in% had serio-s do-.ts from the start of the feasi.ility$ A n-m.er of B4,1s had already .een prod-ced, and rather than scrappin% the whole effort, Fohnson a%ain proposed to the Air Force that they .e la-nched from a #45,@ .om.er$[,,] #y late s-mmer of 1612, the modification work to .oth the B4,1 (now desi%nated B4,1#! and the #45,@s were complete$ (he test pro%ram co-ld now res-me$ (he test missions were flown o-t of *room +ake, with the act-al la-nches o'er the Kacific$ (he first B4,1# to .e flown was Article 551, the prototype$ (he first attempt was made on ,3 8eptem.er 1612, and ended in complete fail-re$ As the #45, was flyin% toward the la-nch point, the B4,1# fell off the pylon$ (he #45,@ %a'e a sharp l-rch as the drone fell free$ (he .ooster fired and was D=-ite a si%ht from the %ro-ndD$ (he fail-re was traced to a stripped n-t on the forward ri%ht attachment point on the pylon$ 8e'eral more tests were made, none of which met with s-ccess$ @owe'er, the fact

is that the res-mptions of B4,1 tests took place a%ainst a chan%in% reconnaissance .ack%ro-nd$ (he A41, had finally .een allowed to deploy, and the 8)421 was soon to replace it$ At the same time, new de'elopments in reconnaissance satellite technolo%y were nearin% operation$ 7p to this point, the limited n-m.er of satellites a'aila.le restricted co'era%e to the 8o'iet 7nion$ A new %eneration of reconnaissance satellites co-ld soon co'er tar%ets anywhere in the world$ (he satellites: resol-tion wo-ld .e compara.le to that of aircraft, .-t witho-t the sli%htest political risk$ (ime was r-nnin% o-t for the (a%.oard$ [,,] 8e'eral more test fli%hts, incl-din% two o'er China, were made from #eale AF#, California, in 1616 and 1625, to 'aryin% de%rees of s-ccess$ On 15 F-ly 1621, Gelly Fohnson recei'ed a wire cancelin% the B4,1# pro%ram$ (he remainin% drones were transferred .y a C45A and placed in dead stora%e$ (he toolin% -sed to .-ild the B4,1#s was ordered destroyed$ +ike the A41, O<cart, the B4,1# (a%.oard drones remained a #lack airplane, e'en in retirement$ (heir e<istence was not s-spected -ntil A-%-st 1621, when the first %ro-p was placed in stora%e at the Ba'is4Conthan AF# Cilitary 8tora%e and Bisposition Center$ A second %ro-p arri'ed in 1622$ (hey were la.eled D*(B4,1#sD (*( stood for %ro-nd trainin%!$ [,,] Ba'is4Conthan is an open .ase, with p-.lic to-rs of the stora%e area at the time, so the odd4lookin% drones were soon spotted and photos .e%an appearin% in ma%aMines$ 8pec-lation a.o-t the B4,1#s circ-lated within a'iation circles for years, and it was not -ntil 163, that details of the (a%.oard pro%ram were released$ @owe'er, it was not -ntil 166/ that the #45,?B4,1# pro%ram was made p-.lic$ (hat same year, the s-r'i'in% B4,1#s were released to m-se-ms$ [,,]

$oreign te%&nology e'al(ation

(ain article) Tono&ah Test !ange Air&ort

@A9" F"))E, the second of two Ci*412F DFrescoDs loaned to the 7nited 8tates .yIsrael in 1616$

@A9" BO7*@&7(, (Ci*4,1F41/! flown .y 7nited 8tates &a'y and Air Force 8ystems Command d-rin% its 1613 e<ploitation$

B-rin% the Cold War, one of the missions carried o-t .y the 7nited 8tates was the test and e'al-ation of capt-red 8o'iet fi%hter aircraft$ #e%innin% in the late 1615s, and for se'eral decades, Area 51 played host to an assortment of 8o'iet4.-ilt aircraft$ 7nder the "A56 D2U*"NUT, "A56 D!7++ and"A56 F6!!8 pro%rams, the first Ci*s flown in the 7nited 8tates were -sed to e'al-ate the aircraft in performance, technical, and operational capa.ilities, pittin% the types a%ainst 7$8$ fi%hters$ [,2] (his was not a new mission, as testin% of forei%n technolo%y .y the 78AF .e%an d-rin% World War II$ After the war, testin% of ac=-ired forei%n technolo%y was performed .y the Air (echnical Intelli%ence Center (A(IC, which .ecame 'ery infl-ential d-rin%

the Gorean War!, -nder the direct command of the Air Cateriel Control Bepartment$ In 1611 A(IC .ecame the Forei%n (echnolo%y Bi'ision (F(B!, and was reassi%ned to Air Force 8ystems Command$ A(IC personnel were sent anywhere where forei%n aircraft co-ld .e fo-nd$ (he foc-s of Air Force 8ystems Command limited the -se of the fi%hter as a tool with which to train the front line tactical fi%hter pilots$[,2] Air Force 8ystems Command recr-ited its pilots from the Air Force Fli%ht (est Center at "dwards Air Force #ase, California, who were -s-ally %rad-ates from 'ario-s test pilot schools$ (actical Air Command selected its pilots primarily from the ranks of the Weapons 8chool %rad-ates$[,2] In A-%-st 1611, Ira=i Air Force fi%hter pilot Captain C-nir )edfa defected, flyin% his Ci*4,1 to Israel after .ein% ordered to attack Ira=i G-rd 'illa%es with napalm$ @is aircraft was transferred to the *room +ake within a month to st-dy$ In 1613 the 78 Air Force and &a'y >ointly formed a pro>ect known as "ave Doughnut in which Air Force 8ystems Command, (actical Air Command, and the 7$8$ &a'y:s Air (est and "'al-ation 8=-adron Fo-r (9A40! flew this ac=-ired 8o'iet made aircraft in sim-lated air com.at trainin%$[,2] #eca-se 7$8$ possession of the 8o'iet Ci*4,1 was, itself, secret, it was tested at *room +ake$ A >oint air force4na'y team was assem.led for a series of do%fi%ht tests$ [,,] Comparisons .etween the F40 and the Ci*4,1 indicated that, on the s-rface, they were e'enly matched$ #-t air com.at was not >-st a.o-t technolo%y$ In the final analysis, it was the skill of the man in the cockpit$ (he @a'e Bo-%hn-t tests showed this most stron%ly$ When the &a'y or Air Force pilots flew the Ci*4,1, the res-lts were a draw; the F40 wo-ld win some fi%hts, the Ci*4,1 wo-ld win others$ (here were no clear ad'anta%es$ (he pro.lem was not with the planes, .-t with the pilots flyin% them$ (he pilots wo-ld not fly either plane to its limits$ One of the &a'y pilots was Carland W$ DBocD (ownsend, then commander of 9F4 1,1, the F40 trainin% s=-adron at &A8 Ciramar$ @e was an en%ineer and a Gorean War 'eteran and had flown almost e'ery na'y aircraft$ When he flew a%ainst the Ci*4,1, he wo-ld o-tmane-'er it e'ery time$ (he Air Force pilots wo-ld not %o 'ertical in the Ci*4,1$ (he @a'e Bo-%hn-t pro>ect officer was (om Cassidy, a pilot with 9A40, the &a'y:s Air Be'elopment 8=-adron at Koint C-%-$ @e had .een watchin% as (ownsend Dwa<edD the air force Ci*4,1 pilots$ Cassidy clim.ed into the Ci*4,1 and went -p a%ainst (ownsend:s F40$ (his time the res-lt was far different$ Cassidy was willin% to fi%ht in the 'ertical, flyin% the plane to the point where it was .-ffetin%, >-st a.o'e the stall$ Cassidy was a.le to %et on the F40:s tail$ After the fli%ht, they realiMed the Ci*4,1 t-rned .etter than the F40 at lower speeds$ (he key was for the F40 to keep its speed -p$ What had happened in the sky a.o'e *room +ake was remarka.le$ An F40 had defeated the Ci*4,1; the weakness of the 8o'iet plane had .een fo-nd$ F-rther test fli%hts confirmed what was learned$ It was also clear that the Ci*4,1 was a formida.le enemy$ 7nited 8tates pilots wo-ld ha'e to fly m-ch .etter than they had .een to .eat it$ (his wo-ld re=-ire a special school to teach ad'anced air com.at techni=-es$[,,] On 1, A-%-st 1613, two 8yrian air force lie-tenants, Walid Adham and )adfan )ifai, took off in a pair of Ci*412Fs on a trainin% mission$ (hey lost their way and, .elie'in% they were o'er +e.anon, landed at the #eset +andin% Field in northern Israel$ (One 'ersion has it that they were led astray .y an Ara.ic4speakin% Israeli!$ [,,] Krior to the end of 1613 these Ci*412s were transferred from Israeli stocks and added to the Area 51 test fleet$ (he aircraft were %i'en 78AF desi%nations and fake serial n-m.ers so that they co-ld .e identified in BOB standard fli%ht lo%s$ As in the earlier pro%ram, a small %ro-p of Air Force and &a'y pilots cond-cted mock do%fi%hts with the Ci*412s$ 8elected instr-ctors from the &a'y:s (op *-n school at &A8 Ciramar, California, were chosen to fly a%ainst the Ci*s for familiariMation p-rposes$ 9ery soon, the Ci*412:s shortcomin%s .ecame clear$ It had an e<tremely simple, e'en cr-de, control system which lacked the power4.oosted controls of American aircraft$ (he F40:s twin en%ines were so powerf-l it co-ld accelerate o-t of ran%e of the Ci*412:s %-ns in thirty seconds$ It was important for the F40 to

keep its distance from the Ci*412$ As lon% as the F40 was one and a half miles from the Ci*412, it was o-tside the reach of the 8o'iet fi%hter:s %-ns, .-t the Ci* was within reach of the F40:s missiles$ [,,] (he data from the @a'e Bo-%hn-t and @a'e Brill tests were pro'ided to the newly formed (op *-n school at &A8 Ciramar$ #y 1625, the @a'e Brill pro%ram was e<panded; a few selected fleet F40 crews were %i'en the chance to fi%ht the Ci*s$ (he most important res-lt of Kro>ect @a'e Brill is that no &a'y pilot who flew in the pro>ect defeated the Ci*412 Fresco in the first en%a%ement$ (he @a'e Brill do%fi%hts were .y in'itation only$ (he other pilots .ased at &ellis Air Force #ase were not to know a.o-t the 7$8$4operated Ci*s$ (o pre'ent any si%htin%s, the airspace a.o'e the *room +ake ran%e was closed$ On aerona-tical maps, the e<ercise area was marked in red ink$ (he for.idden Mone .ecame known as D)ed 8=-areD$ [,,] B-rin% the remainder of the 9ietnam War, the &a'y kill ratio clim.ed to 3$// to 1$ In contrast, the Air Force rate impro'ed only sli%htly to ,$3/ to 1$ (he reason for this difference was (op *-n$ (he &a'y had re'italiMed its air com.at trainin%, while the Air Force had stayed sta%nant$ Cost of the &a'y Ci* kills were .y (op *-n %rad-ates$ In Cay 162/, Kro>ect "ave 7dea was formed which took o'er from the older @a'e Bo-%hn-t, @a'e Ferry and @a'e Brill pro>ects and the pro>ect was transferred to the (onopah (est )an%e Airport$ At (onopah testin% of forei%n technolo%y aircraft contin-ed and e<panded thro-%ho-t the 1625s and 1635s$ [,2] Area 51 also hosted another forei%n materiel e'al-ation pro%ram called @A9" *+I#$ (his in'ol'ed testin% 8o'iet trackin% and missile control radar systems$ A comple< of act-al and replica 8o'iet4type threat systems .e%an to %row aro-nd D8later +akeD, a mile northwest of the main .ase, alon% with an ac=-ired 8o'iet D#arlockD search radar placed at (onopah Air Force 8tation$ (hey were arran%ed to sim-late a 8o'iet4style air defense comple<$ (he Air Force .e%an f-ndin% impro'ements to Area 51 in 1622 -nder pro>ect 8CO)" "9"&($ In 1626, the CIA transferred >-risdiction of the Area 51 site to the Air Force Fli%ht (est Center at "dwards AF#, California$ Cr$ 8am Citchell, the last CIA commander of Area 51, relin=-ished command to 78AF +t$ Col$ +arry B$ CcClain$

Ha'e )l(e*$-11+ program

(ain articles) +oc,heed "ave #lue, +oc,heed F-111 Nightha%,, and Tono&ah Test !ange Air&ort

7nderside 'iew of "ave #lue

F4112 flyin% o'er mo-ntains

(he +ockheed @a'e #l-e prototype stealth fi%hter (a smaller proof4of4concept model of the F4112 &i%hthawk! first flew at *room in Becem.er 1622$[,3] In 1623, the Air Force awarded a f-ll4scale de'elopment contract for the F4112 to +ockheed Corporation:s Ad'anced Be'elopment Kro>ects$ On 12 Fan-ary 1631 the +ockheed test team at Area 51 accepted deli'ery of the first f-ll 8cale Be'elopment (F8B! prototype 19:1;<, desi%nated EF4112A$ At 1 55 am on 13 F-ne 1631 +ockheed 8k-nk Works test pilot @al Farley lifted the nose of EF4112A 19:1;<= off the r-nway of Area 51$[,6] Ceanwhile, (actical Air Command ((AC! decided to set -p a %ro-p4le'el or%aniMation to %-ide the F4112A to an initial operatin% capa.ility$ (hat or%aniMation .ecame the 0055th (actical *ro-p (Initially desi%nated DA 7nitD!, which officially acti'ated on 15 Octo.er 1626 at &ellis AF#, &e'ada, altho-%h the %ro-p was physically located at Area 51$ (he 0055th (* also operated the A4 2B Corsair II as a s-rro%ate trainer for the F4112A, and these operations contin-ed -ntil 15 Octo.er 163, -nder the %-ise of an a'ionics test mission$[,6] Flyin% s=-adrons of the 0055th (* were the 0055th (actical 8=-adron (Initially desi%nated DI 7nitD! acti'ated on 11 F-ne 1631, and 0051st (actical 8=-adron (Initially desi%nated DK 7nitD! on 15 Fan-ary 163/$ (he 0055th (8, stationed at Area 51, was the first F4112A s=-adron, while the 0051st (8 was stationed at &ellis AF# and was e=-ipped with A42B Corsair IIs painted in a dark motif, tail coded D+9D$ +ockheed test pilots p-t the EF4112 thro-%h its early paces$ A42Bs was -sed for pilot trainin% .efore any F4112A:s had .een deli'ered .y +ockheed to Area 51, later the A42B:s were -sed for F4112A chase testin% and other weapon tests at the &ellis )an%e$ 15 Octo.er 163, is important to the pro%ram .eca-se on that date Ca>or Alton C$ Whitley, Fr$ .ecame the first 78AF 0055th (* pilot to fly the F4112A$[,6] Altho-%h ideal for testin%, Area 51 was not a s-ita.le location for an operational %ro-p, so a new co'ert .ase had to .e esta.lished for F4112 operations$[/5] (onopah (est )an%e Airport was selected for operations of the first 78AF F4112 -nit, the 0055th (actical *ro-p ((*!$[/1] From Octo.er 1626, the (onopah Airport .ase was reconstr-cted and e<panded$ (he 1,555 ft r-nway was len%thened to 15,555 ft$ (a<iways, a concrete apron, a lar%e maintenance han%ar, and a propane stora%e tank were added$[/,] #y early 163,, fo-r more EF4112A airplanes were operatin% o-t of the so-thern end of the .ase, known as the D8o-thendD or D#a>a *room +akeD$ After findin% a lar%e scorpion in their offices, the testin% team (Besi%nated D) 7nitD! adopted it as their mascot and d-..ed themsel'es the D#a>a 8corpionsD$ (estin% of a series of -ltra4secret prototypes contin-ed at Area 51 -ntil mid41631, when testin% transitioned to the initial prod-ction of F4112 stealth fi%hters$ (he F4112s were mo'ed to and from Area 51 .y C45 -nder the cloak of darkness, in order to maintain pro%ram sec-rity$ (his meant that the aircraft had to .e def-eled, disassem.led, cradled, and then loaded a.oard the C45 at ni%ht, flown to +ockheed, and -nloaded at ni%ht .efore the real work co-ld .e%in$ Of co-rse, this meant that the re'erse actions had to occ-r at the end of the depot work .efore the aircraft co-ld .e reassem.led, fli%ht4tested, and redeli'ered, a%ain -nder the co'er of darkness$ In addition to fli%ht4testin%, *room performed radar profilin%, F4112 weapons testin%, and was the location for trainin% of the first %ro-p of frontline 78AF F4112 pilots$ Krod-ction F8B airframes from +ockheed were shipped to Area 51 for acceptance testin%$ As the #a>a 8corpions tested the aircraft with f-nctional check fli%hts and +$O$ 'erification, the operational airplanes were then transferred to the 0055th (*$ [//]

On 12 Cay 163,, the mo'e of the 0055th (* from *room +ake to (onopah was initiated, with the final components of the mo'e completed in early 163/$ Krod-ction F8B airframes from +ockheed were shipped to Area 51 for acceptance testin%$ As the #a>a 8corpions tested the aircraft with f-nctional check fli%hts and +$O$ 'erification, the operational airplanes were then transferred to the 0055th (* at (onopah$ [//] (he )47nit was inacti'ated on /5 Cay 1636$ 7pon deacti'ation, the -nit was reformed as Betachment 1, 52th Fi%hter Weapons Win% (FWW!$ In 1665 the last F4112A (;>?! was deli'ered from +ockheed$ After completion of acceptance fli%hts at Area 51 of this last new F4112A aircraft, the fli%ht test s=-adron contin-ed fli%ht test d-ties of ref-r.ished aircraft after modifications .y +ockheed$ In Fe.r-ary?Carch 166, the test -nit mo'ed from Area 51 to the 78AF Kalmdale Klant 0, and was inte%rated with the Air Force 8ystems Command 1515th (est 8=-adron$ 8ome testin%, especially )C8 'erification and other classified acti'ity was still cond-cted at Area 51 thro-%ho-t the operational lifetime of the F4112$ (he recently inacti'ated (,553! 015th Fli%ht (est 8=-adron traces its roots, if not its formal linea%e to the 0055th (* )4-nit$

Later operations

F4,, d-rin% a )ed Fla% e<ercise with *room +ake in the .ack%ro-nd (Carch ,51/!

8ince the F4112 .ecame operational in 163/, operations at *room +ake ha'e contin-ed$ (he .ase and its associated r-nway system were e<panded, incl-din% e<pansion of ho-sin% and s-pport facilities$ [1][/0] In 1665, the federal %o'ernment e<panded the e<cl-sionary area aro-nd the .ase to incl-de near.y mo-ntains that had hitherto afforded the only decent o'erlook of the .ase, prohi.itin% access to /,62, acres (11$52 km,! of land formerly administered .y the #-rea- of +and Cana%ement$[1]

7$8$ %o'ernment:s positions on Area 51

A letter from the 78AF replyin% to a =-ery a.o-t Area 51

CIA doc-ment from 1612 referrin% to Area 51

(he amo-nt of information the 7nited 8tates %o'ernment has .een willin% to pro'ide re%ardin% Area 51 has %enerally .een minimal$ (he 78*8 topo%raphic map for the area only shows the lon%4dis-sed *room Cine$ [/5] A ci'il a'iation chart p-.lished .y the &e'ada Bepartment of (ransportation shows a lar%e restricted area, defined as part of the &ellis restricted airspace$ [/1] (he &ational Atlas pa%e showin% federal lands in &e'ada shows the area as lyin% within the &ellis Air Force #ase$ [/2] @i%her resol-tion (and more recent! ima%es from other satellite ima%ery pro'iders (incl-din% )-ssian pro'iders and the IGO&O8! are commercially a'aila.le$[1] (hese show the r-nway markin%s, .ase facilities, aircraft, and 'ehicles$ Altho-%h federal property within the .ase is e<empt from state and local ta<es, facilities owned .y pri'ate contractors are not$
[citation needed]

When doc-ments that mention the &e'ada (est 8ite (&(8! and operations at *room are declassified, mentions of Area 51 and *room +ake are ro-tinely redacted$[citation needed] One e<ception is a 1612 memo from CIA director )ichard @elms re%ardin% the deployment of three OACA)( aircraft from *room toGadena Air #ase to perform reconnaissance o'er &orth 9ietnam$ Altho-%h most mentions of OACA)(:s home .ase are redacted in this doc-ment, as is a map showin% the aircraft:s ro-te from there to Okinawa, the redactor appears to ha'e missed one mention pa%e 15 (pa%e 12 in the KBF!, section &o$ , ends D(hree OACA)( aircraft and the necessary task force personnel will .e deployed from Area 51 to Gadena$D [/] In F-ly ,51/, CIA released an official history of the 74, and OACA)( pro>ects that officially acknowled%ed the e<istence of Area 51$ (he release was in response to a Freedom of Information Act re=-est s-.mitted in ,555 .y Feffrey ($ )ichelson of *eor%e Washin%ton 7ni'ersity:s &ational 8ec-rity Archi'es, and contain n-mero-s references to Area 51 and *room +ake, alon% with a map of the area$[,0]$[/3][/6]

8ec-rity and operations

Area 51 .order and warnin% si%n statin% that Dphoto%raphy is prohi.itedD and that D-se of deadly force is a-thoriMedD -nder the terms of the 1655 CcCarran Internal 8ec-rity Act$

(he area s-rro-ndin% the lake is permanently off4limits .oth to ci'ilian and normal military air traffic$ 8ec-rity clearances are checked re%-larly; cameras and weaponry are not allowed$ [11] "'en military pilots trainin% in the &AF) risk disciplinary action if they stray into the e<cl-sionary D.o<D s-rro-ndin% *room:s airspace$ [0] Kerimeter sec-rity is pro'ided .y -niformed pri'ate sec-rity %-ards workin% for "*O*:s sec-rity s-.contractorWackenh-t$

8-r'eillance is s-pplemented -sin% .-ried motion sensors$[01]

Ci'il A'iation identification

In Becem.er ,552, airline pilots noticed that the .ase had appeared in their aircraft na'i%ation systems: latestFeppesen data.ase re'ision with the ICAO airport identifier code of GA(A and listed as D@omey AirportD$[0,] (he pro.a.ly inad'ertent release of the airport data led to ad'ice .y the Aircraft Owners and Kilots Association (AOKA! that st-dent pilots sho-ld .e e<plicitly warned a.o-t GA(A, not to consider it as a waypoint or destination for any fli%ht e'en tho-%h it now appears in p-.lic na'i%ation data.ases$[0,]

"n'ironmental laws-it

Area 51 'iewed from distant (ika.oo Keak

A closed4circ-it (9 camera watches o'er the perimeter of Area 51

In 1660, fi'e -nnamed ci'ilian contractors and the widows of contractors Walter GasMa and )o.ert Frost s-ed the 78AF and the 7nited 8tates "n'ironmental Krotection A%ency$ (heir s-it, in which they were represented .y *eor%e Washin%ton 7ni'ersity law professor Fonathan (-rley, alle%ed they had .een present when lar%e =-antities of -nknown chemicals had .een .-rned in open pits and trenches at *room$ #iopsies taken from the complainants were analyMed .y )-t%ers 7ni'ersity .iochemists, who fo-nd hi%h le'els of dio<in, di.enMof-ran, and trichloroethylene in their .ody fat$ (he complainants alle%ed they had s-stained skin, li'er, and respiratory in>-ries d-e to their work at *room, and that this had contri.-ted to the deaths of Frost and GasMa$ (he s-it so-%ht compensation for the in>-ries they had s-stained, claimin% the 78AF had ille%ally handled to<ic materials, and that the "KA had failed in its d-ty to enforce the )eso-rce Conser'ation and )eco'ery Act (which %o'erns handlin% of dan%ero-s materials$! (hey also so-%ht detailed information a.o-t the chemicals to which they were alle%edly e<posed, hopin% this wo-ld facilitate the medical treatment of s-r'i'ors$ Con%ressman +ee @$ @amilton, former chairman of the @o-se Intelli%ence Committee, told @< (inutes reporter +eslie 8tahl, D(he Air Force is classifyin% all information a.o-t Area 51 in order to protect themsel'es from a laws-it$D Citin% the 8tate 8ecrets Kri'ile%e, the %o'ernment petitioned trial >-d%e 7$8$ Bistrict F-d%e Khilip Kro (of the 7nited 8tates Bistrict Co-rt for the Bistrict of &e'ada in +as 9e%as! to disallow disclos-re of classified doc-ments or e<amination of secret witnesses, alle%in% this wo-ld e<pose classified information and threaten national sec-rity$ [0/] When F-d%e Kro re>ected the %o'ernment:s ar%-ment, Kresident #ill Clinton iss-ed a Kresidential Betermination, e<emptin% what it called, D(he Air Force:s Operatin% +ocation &ear *room +ake, &e'adaD from en'ironmental disclos-re laws$ Conse=-ently, Kro dismissed the s-it d-e to lack of e'idence$ (-rley appealed to the 7$8$ Co-rt of Appeals for the &inth Circ-it, on the %ro-nds that the %o'ernment was a.-sin% its power to classify material$ 8ecretary of the Air Force 8heila "$ Widnall filed a .rief that stated that disclos-res of the materials present in the air and water near *room Dcan re'eal military operational capa.ilities or the nat-re and scope of classified operations$D (he &inth Circ-it re>ected (-rley:s appeal, [00] and the 7$8$ 8-preme Co-rt ref-sed to hear it, p-ttin% an end to the complainants: case$ (he Kresident contin-es to ann-ally iss-e a determination contin-in% the *room e<ception$ [05][01][02] (his, and similarly tacit wordin% -sed in other %o'ernment comm-nications, is the only formal reco%nition the 7$8$ *o'ernment has e'er %i'en that *room +ake is more than simply another part of the &ellis comple<$ An -nclassified memo on the safe handlin% of F4112 &i%hthawk material was posted on an Air Force we. site in ,555$ (his disc-ssed the same materials for which the complainants had re=-ested information (information the %o'ernment had claimed was classified!$ (he memo was remo'ed shortly after >o-rnalists .ecame aware of it$ [03]

1620 8kyla. photo%raphy

*room +ake (-pper left! and Kapoose +ake (lower ri%ht!$ Khoto .y Boc 8earls, ,515$

In Fan-ary ,551, space historian Bwayne A$ Bay p-.lished an article in online aerospace ma%aMine The S&ace !evie% titled DAstrona-ts and Area 51 the 8kyla. IncidentD$ (he article was .ased on a memo written in 1620 to CIA director William Col.y .y an -nknown CIA official$ (he memo reported that astrona-ts on .oard 8kyla. 0 had, as part of a lar%er pro%ram, inad'ertently photo%raphed a location of which the memo said (here were specific instr-ctions not to do this$ PredactedQ was the only location which had s-ch an instr-ction$ Altho-%h the name of the location was o.sc-red, the conte<t led Bay to .elie'e that the s-.>ect was *room +ake$ As Bay noted [I]n other words, the CIA considered no other spot on "arth to .e as sensiti'e as *room +ake$ [06][55] (he memo details de.ate .etween federal a%encies re%ardin% whether the ima%es sho-ld .e classified, with Bepartment of Befense a%encies ar%-in% that it sho-ld, and &A8A and the 8tate Bepartment ar%-in% a%ainst classification$ (he memo itself =-estions the le%ality of -nclassified ima%es to .e retroacti'ely classified$ )emarks on the memo,[51] handwritten apparently .y BCI (Birector of Central Intelli%ence! Col.y himself, read [8ecretary of 8tate )-sk] did raise itRsaid 8tate Bept$ people felt stron%ly$ #-t he inclined lea'e decision to me (BCI!RI confessed some =-estion o'er need to protect since

1. 788) has it from own sats

,$ /$ What really does it re'ealS If e<posed, don:t we >-st say classified 78AF work is done thereS

(he declassified doc-ments do not disclose the o-tcome of disc-ssions re%ardin% the 8kyla. ima%ery$ (he .ehind4the4scenes de.ate pro'ed moot as the photo%raph appeared in the Federal *o'ernment:s Archi'e of 8atellite Ima%ery alon% with the remainin% 8kyla. 0 photo%raphs, with no record of anyone noticin% -ntil Bay identified it in ,552$ [5,]

7FO and other conspiracy theories

Its secreti'e nat-re and -ndo-.ted connection to classified aircraft research, to%ether with reports of -n-s-al phenomena, ha'e led Area 51 to .ecome a foc-s of modern 7FO and conspiracy theories$[citation needed] 8ome of the acti'ities mentioned in s-ch theories at Area 51 incl-de

(he stora%e, e<amination, and re'erse en%ineerin% of crashed alien spacecraft (incl-din% material s-pposedly reco'ered at )oswell!, the st-dy of their occ-pants (li'in% and dead!, and the man-fact-re of aircraft .ased on alien technolo%y$

Ceetin%s or >oint -ndertakin%s with e<traterrestrials$ (he de'elopment of e<otic ener%y weapons for the 8trate%ic Befense Initiati'e (8BI! or other weapons pro%rams$ (he de'elopment of means of weather control$ (he de'elopment of time tra'el and teleportation technolo%y$ (he de'elopment of -n-s-al and e<otic prop-lsion systems related to the A-rora Kro%ram$

Acti'ities related to a s-pposed shadowy one world %o'ernment or the Ca>estic 1, or%aniMation$

Cany of the hypotheses concern -nder%ro-nd facilities at *room or at Kapoose +ake (AGA D840 locationD!, 3$5 miles (1/$2 km! so-th, and incl-de claims of a transcontinental -nder%ro-nd railroad system, a disappearin% airstrip (nicknamed the DCheshire AirstripD, after +ewis Carroll:s Cheshire cat! which .riefly appears when water is sprayed onto its camo-fla%ed asphalt, [5/] and en%ineerin% .ased on alien technolo%y$ K-.licly a'aila.le satellite ima%ery, howe'er, re'eals clearly 'isi.le landin% strips at *room Bry +ake, .-t not at Kapoose +ake$ In the mid41655s, ci'ilian aircraft flew -nder ,5,555 feet while military aircraft flew -nder 05,555 feet$ Once the 74, .e%an flyin% at a.o'e 15,555 feet, an -ne<pected side effect was an increasin% n-m.er of 7FO si%htin% reports$ 8i%htin%s occ-rred most often d-rin% early e'enin%s ho-rs, when airline pilots flyin% west saw the 74,:s sil'er win%s reflect the settin% s-n, %i'in% the aircraft a DfieryD appearance$ Cany si%htin% reports came to the Air Force:s Kro>ect #l-e #ook, which in'esti%ated 7FO si%htin%s, thro-%h air4traffic controllers and letters to the %o'ernment$ (he pro>ect checked 74, and later OACA)( fli%ht records to eliminate the ma>ority of 7FO reports it recei'ed d-rin% the late 1655s and 1615s, altho-%h it co-ld not re'eal to the letter writers the tr-th .ehind what they saw$[,0] 2,42/ 8imilarly, 'eterans of e<perimental pro>ects s-ch as OACA)( and &")9A at Area 51 a%ree that their work (incl-din% ,,355 OACA)( test fli%hts alone! inad'ertently prompted many of the 7FO si%htin%s and other r-mors [1] (he shape of OACA)( was -nprecedented, with its wide, disk4like f-sela%e desi%ned to carry 'ast =-antities of f-el$ Commercial pilots cr-isin% o'er &e'ada at d-sk wo-ld look -p and see the .ottom of OACA)( whiM .y at ,,5554pl-s mph$ (he aircraft:s titani-m .ody, mo'in% as fast as a .-llet, wo-ld reflect the s-n:s rays in a way that co-ld make anyone think, UF2$[1] (hey .elie'e that the r-mors helped maintain secrecy o'er Area 51:s act-al operations$ [11] While the 'eterans deny the e<istence of a 'ast -nder%ro-nd railroad system, many of Area 51:s operations did (and pres-ma.ly still do! occ-r -nder%ro-nd$ [1]

#o. +aMar See) S-> (Aacilit') Aor Aurther inAormation 8e'eral people ha'e claimed knowled%e of e'ents s-pportin% Area 51 conspiracy theories$ (hese ha'e incl-ded #o. +aMar, who claimed in 1636 that he had worked at Area 51:s D8ector Fo-r (840!D, said to .e located -nder%ro-nd inside the Kapoose )an%e near Kapoose +ake$ +aMar has stated he was contracted to work with alien spacecraft that the 7$8$ %o'ernment had in its possession$[50]

#r-ce #-r%ess

8imilarly, the 1661 doc-mentary Dreamland directed .y #r-ce #-r%ess incl-ded an inter'iew with a 214year4old mechanical en%ineer who claimed to .e a former employee at Area 51 d-rin% the 1655s$ @is claims incl-ded that he had worked on a Dflyin% disc sim-latorD which had .een .ased on a disc ori%inatin% from a crashed e<traterrestrial craft and was -sed to train 78 Kilots$ @e also claimed to ha'e worked with an e<traterrestrial .ein% named DF4)odD and descri.ed as a Dtelepathic translatorD$ [55]

Ban #-risch

In ,550, Ban #-risch (pse-donym of Ban Crain! claimed to ha'e worked on clonin% alien 'ir-ses at Area 51, also alon%side the alien named DF4)odD$ #-risch:s scholarly credentials are the s-.>ect of m-ch de.ate, as he was apparently workin% as a +as 9e%as parole officer in 1636 while also earnin% a KhB at 87&E$[51]

In pop-lar c-lt-re
&o'els, films, tele'ision pro%rams, and other fictional portrayals of Area 51 descri.e itRor a fictional co-nterpartRas a ha'en for e<traterrestrials, time tra'el, and sinister conspiracies, often linkin% it with the )oswell 7FO incident$ In the 1661 action film 7nde&endence Da', the 7nited 8tates military -ses alien technolo%y capt-red at )oswell to attack the in'adin% alien fleet from Area 51$ (he D@an%ar 51D[52] %o'ernment wareho-se of the 7ndiana Bones films stores, amon% other e<otic items, the Ark of the Co'enant and an alien corpse from )oswell$ (he tele'ision seriesSeven Da's takes place inside Area 51, with the .ase containin% a co'ert &8A time tra'el operation -sin% alien technolo%y reco'ered from )oswell$ (he ,555 'ideo %ame Area 51 is set in the .ase, and mentions the )oswell and moon landin% hoa< conspiracy theories$ (he +as 9e%as 51s are a AAA minor lea%-e professional .ase.all team$

8ee also
United States Air Force portal North America portal

#lack site #lack pro>ect 8pecial Access Kro%ram B-%way Kro'in% *ro-nd, a restricted facility in the 7tah desert$ *room )an%e, a mo-ntain ran%e north of the lake.ed$ Gap-stin Ear, a )-ssian rocket la-nch and de'elopment site$ Woomera Krohi.ited Area, a defense and aerospace testin% area in A-stralia$ (onopah (est )an%e, also known as Area 5, (onopah (est )an%e Airport, a lar%e airfield which also resides within the &ellis )an%e$


)ich, #en )$; Fanos, +eo (1660!$ S,un, $or,s) A &ersonal memoir oA m' 'ears at +oc,heed$ #oston +ittle, #rown$ I8#& 623454/11420/5541

Barlin%ton, Ba'id (1663!$ Area 51) The Dreamland 4hronicles$ &ew Eork @enry @olt$ I8#& 62345435554150546 Katton, Khil (1663!$ Dreamland) Travels 7nside the Secret $orld oA !os%ell and Area 51$ &ew Eork 9illard ? )andom @o-se I8#& 623454/25425/3545

Area 51 reso-rces at the Federation of American 8cientists$ +eslie 8tahl DArea 51 ? Catch ,,D @< (inutes C#8 (ele'ision 12 Carch 1661, a 78 (9 news ma%aMine:s se%ment a.o-t the en'ironmental laws-it$

Area 51 related article archi'e from the pa%es of the +as 5egas !evie%-Bournal Faco.sen, Annie (,511!$ DArea 51D$ &ew Eork, +ittle, #rown and Company$ I8#& 623454/1141/,6042 (hc!

1$ T a b c d DO'erhead *room +ake 4 Area 51D$ Federation of American 8cientists$ )etrie'ed ,51/451411$

2. . DIntelli%ence Officers #ookshelf R Central Intelli%ence A%encyD$ Cia$%o'$ )etrie'ed ,51/451411$ 3. T a b c )ichard @elms (15 Cay 1612!$ DDOACA)( reconnaissance of &orth 9ietnamD, Cemo to the Bep-ty
8ecretary of Befense from the office of CIA Birector )ichard @elms, 15 Cay 1612D$ CIA$ Archi'ed from the ori%inal on 15 Oct ,51,$ (the f-ll declassified doc-ment is mirrored atWikimedia Commons! 0$ T a b @all, *eor%e; 8kinner, Cichael (166/!$ !ed Flag$ Cotor.ooks International$ I8#& 623454326/3425640$

5. . )ich, #en ); Fanos, +eo (1660!$ S,un, $or,s) A &ersonal memoir oA m' 'ears at +oc,heed$ #oston
+ittle, #rown$ p$ 51$ I8#& 623454/11420/5541$ DGelly [Fohnson, the 7,:s desi%ner] had >okin%ly nicknamed this *odforsaken place Karadise )anch, hopin% to l-re yo-n% and innocent fli%ht crews$D 1$ T a b c d e f Faco.sen, Annie (,51,!$ Area 51) An Uncensored "istor' oA America=s To& Secret (ilitar' #ase$ #ack #ay #ooks$ I8#& 54/114,5,/540$ 2$ 3$ 6$ . Katton, p$ /, lists Karadise )anch, Watertown, *room +ake, and @ome #ase as nicknames .http ??www$airforcetimes$com?news?,553?51?airforceUarea51U5351,/w? . DFli%ht Klannin% ? Aerona-tical ChartsD$ 8ky9ector$ )etrie'ed ,51/451411$

10. . )ich, #en ); Fanos, +eo (1660!$ S,un, $or,s) A &ersonal memoir oA m' 'ears at +oc,heed$ #oston
+ittle, #rown$ p$ 52$ I8#& 623454/11420/5541$ D$$$ a sprawlin% facility, .i%%er than some m-nicipal airports, a test ran%e for sensiti'e a'iation pro>ects$D 11$ T a b c +acitis, "rik (Carch ,2, ,515!$ DArea 51 'ets .reak silence 8orry, .-t no space aliens or 7FOsD$ 8eattle (imes &ewspaper$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$ 1,$ . )e%enold, 8tephen (1/ April ,552!$ D+onesome @i%hway to Another WorldSD$ The Ne% 8or, Times$ )etrie'ed 3 F-ly ,552$

1/$ . D78 Bepartment of "ner%y$ &e'ada Operations Office$United States Nuclear Tests) Bul' 19>5 through Se&tember 199. (Becem.er ,555!D (KBF!$ Archi'ed from the ori%inal on 15 F-ne ,515$ )etrie'ed 15 F-ne ,515$ 10$ . http ??ndep$n'$%o'?.off?nts4-se$>p% 15$ . http ??www$fas$or%?n-ke?%-ide?-sa?facility?ntsUfi%1$%if 11$ . DN-ery Form For (he 7nited 8tates And Its (erritoriesD$ 7$8$ #oard on *eo%raphic &ames$ )etrie'ed ,515411456$

D*room +ake (*&I8 code 3053,0!D$ *eo%raphic &ames Information 8ystem, 7$8$ *eolo%ical 8-r'ey$ )etrie'ed ,515411456$

12$ . 8trickland, Fonathan$ D@ow Area 51 WorksD$ "o% StuAA $or,$

18. . http ??www$n.m%$-nr$ed-?do<?r00$pdf

16$ T a b c D*room Cinin% Bistrict Collection 66416D$ Gnowled%ecenter$-nr$ed-$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$ ,5$ . C-eller, )o.ert$ Active Air Force #ases $ithin the United States oA America on 11 Se&tember 19;.$ Ca<well AF#, Ala.ama Center for Air Force @istory, 78AF$ I8#& 5461,26645/41$

21. .http ??www$airfieldsdata.ase$com?WW,?WW,V,5),2eV,5IB4&@$htm 22. T a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Kee.les, C-rtis (1666!$Dar, 6agles, !evised 6dition$ &o'ato, CA Kresidio
Kress$I8#& 543610141614A$

23. T a b c Kee.les, C-rtis (,555!$ Shado% Flights) America=s Secret Air $ar Against the Soviet Union$ &o'ato,
CA Kresidio Kress$ pp$ 101L100$ I8#& 6234543610142554,$ DI %a'e it a ten pl-s [score] $$$ a dry lake .ed aro-nd three and a half miles aro-ndD, and descri.es (ony +e9ier showin% the lake to Fohnson and #issell, and Fohnson decidin% to locate the r-nway Dat so-th end of lakeD

24. T a b c d e Kedlow, *re%ory W$; WelMen.ach, Bonald "$ (166,!$ The 4entral 7ntelligence Agenc' and
2verhead !econnaissance) The U-. and 234A!T rograms, 195>-191>$ Washin%ton BC @istory 8taff, Central Intelli%ence A%ency$

25. T a b c d D(he O<cart 8toryD$ Cia$%o'$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$ 26. T a b c D74, and 8)421 7nits, #ases and BetachmentsD$ Ais$or%$ 1665$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$
,2$ T a b c d e 8te'e Ba'ies D)ed "a%les$ America:s 8ecret Ci*sD, Osprey K-.lishin%, ,553

28. . )ich, pp$ 51L15

,6$ T a b c http ??www$-safpatches$com?p-.s?stealth$pdf /5$ . DArea 51 (est 8iteD$ F4112A$ F-ly 10, ,55/$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$

/1$ . D0055th (*D$ F4112A$ April 1, ,55,$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$

32. . D(onopah (est )an%e ((()!D$ F4112A$ F-ly 10, ,55/$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$
//$ T a b c DF(F D#a>a 8corpionsD of *room +akeD$ F4112A$ F-ly 10, ,55/$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$ /0$ . Cary Cotta (,, April ,555!$ DIma%es of (op48ecret 7$8$ Air #ase 8how *rowthD$ space$com$ Archi'ed from the ori%inal on ,1 8eptem.er ,551$ /5$ . D*room Cine, &9 4 &/2$/053/H W115$2153/HD$ (opo=-est$com$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$ /1$ .http ??www$ne'adadot$com?-ploadedFiles?&BO(?(ra'elerUInfo?Caps?&e'adaV,5A'iatonV,5,51/4 ,510V,5Front$pdf /2$ . nationalatlas$%o'$ DCap of Federal lands in &e'adaD$ 78 Bepartment of the Interior$ )etrie'ed ,51/4514 15$ /3$ . DCIA acknowled%es its mysterio-s Area 51 test site for first timeD$ )e-ters Archi'e$ )etrie'ed A-%-st 12, ,51/$ /6$ . DArea 51 officially acknowled%ed, mapped in newly released doc-mentsD$ C&&$ )etrie'ed A-%-st 12, ,51/$ 05$ . Katton, p$ 15$

41. . Ge'in Ko-lsen (,5504554,5!$ DArea 51 hackers di% -p tro-.leD$ 8ec-rityfoc-s$com$ )etrie'ed ,51/4514
15$ 0,$ T a b Carsh, Alton G$ (,553451415!$ DBon:t ask, don:t tell Area 51 %ets airport identifier 4 Aircraft Owners and Kilots AssociationD$ Aopa$or%$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$ 0/$ . D8earch W +as 9e%as )e'iew4Fo-rnalD$ )e'iew>o-rnal$com$ F-ne 0, ,55,$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$ 00$ .http ??archi'e$ca6$-sco-rts$%o'?coa?newopinions$nsf?22F6F#1C/55,6,2"33,51B55552A",11?Xfile?5511 /23$pdfSopenelement 05$ . D,555 Kresidential BeterminationD$ )etrie'ed 15 F-ne ,515$ 01$ . D,55, Kresidential BeterminationD$ *eor%ew.-sh4whiteho-se$archi'es$%o'$ 13 8eptem.er ,55,$ )etrie'ed 15 F-ne ,515$ 02$ . D,55/ Kresidential BeterminationD$ *eor%ew.-sh4whiteho-se$archi'es$%o'$ 11 8eptem.er ,55/$ Archi'edfrom the ori%inal on 15 Cay ,515$ )etrie'ed 15 F-ne ,515$ 03$ . D8earch W +as 9e%as )e'iew4Fo-rnalD$ )e'iew>o-rnal$com$ Cay ,1, ,551$ )etrie'ed ,51/451415$ 06$ . Bay, Bwayne A$ (Fan-ary 6, ,551!$ DAstrona-ts and Area 51 the 8kyla. IncidentD$ The S&ace !evie% (online)$Archi'ed from the ori%inal on 11 Carch ,551$ )etrie'ed April ,, ,551$

55$ . DKresidential Betermination &o$ ,55/L/6D$ *eor%ew.-sh4whiteho-se$archi'es$%o'$ 11 8eptem.er ,55/$ Archi'ed from the ori%inal on 15 Cay ,515$ )etrie'ed 15 F-ne ,515$ 51$ . DCIA memo to BCI Col.yD (KBF!$ @osted .y (he 8pace )e'iew$ Archi'ed from the ori%inal on ,1 Carch ,551$ )etrie'ed , April ,551$ 5,$ . Bay, Bwayne A$ (,1 &o'em.er ,552!$ D8ecret ApolloD$The S&ace !evie% (online)$ )etrie'ed 11 Fe.r-ary ,556$ 5/$ . Cahood, (om (Octo.er 1661!$ D(he Cheshire AirstripD$ Archi'ed from the ori%inal on 11 Carch ,551$ )etrie'ed , April ,551$ 50$ . D80 8port Codel L Cetin #A+ L *8C Y65 55/1151/13/ L (-rkey ? BeniMliD$ Zamandayolc-l-k$com$ )etrie'ed 15 F-ne ,515$ 55$ . Dreamland, (ransmedia and Bandelion Krod-ction for 8ky (ele'ision (1661!$ 51$ . 8heaffer, )o.ert (&o'em.er?Becem.er ,550!$ D(-n%-ska 1, )oswell 5D$ S,e&tical 7n0uirer (Committee for 8keptical In=-iry! 2/ (1!$ Archi'ed from the ori%inal on ,6 Carch ,553$ 52$ . )inMler, F$W$; #o-Merea-, +a-rent (,553!$ The 4om&lete (a,ing oA 7ndiana Bones$ +ondon ".-ry$ p$ ,06$ I8#& 62345456416,11143$

"<ternal links
.ikimedia /ommons has media related to0 Area 51


Breamland )esort L Betailed history of Area 51 )oadr-nners Internationale L Co'erin% the history of the 7, and A41, #lack.ird spy plane pro>ects D@ow Area 51 WorksD, on @ow8t-ffWorks

0aps and p&otograp&s

(he site Wikimapia Breamland )esort:s map of Area 51 .-ildin%s Breamland )esort Caps L Caps of Area 51 and *oo%le "arth pl-%4ins (opo%raphic Cap of the "mi%rant 9alley ? *room area Aerial photos from different decades, o'erlaid with *oo%le Caps interface Khoto%raphs of CcCarran "*O* terminal and FA&"( aircraft

Official FAA aerona-tical chart of *room +ake @istorical pict-res of *room +ake, *room +ake Cinin% Bistrict , Bepartment of 8pecial Collections, Bi%ital Ima%e Collections, 7ni'ersity of &e'ada, )eno, accessed /5 Fan-ary ,556