Area 51 is a top-secret military test facility administered as Detachment 3 of the Edwards Air Force Base, California. Area 51 is not the real name for the facility; it was simply a term used on maps from the 1950s and 1960s to identify the unused land surrounding Groom Lake. Other aliases which have been applied to the facility include: The Skunkworks, Dreamland, Groom Lake Military Base, Watertown, The Ranch, Paradise Ranch and The Box. Although Area 51 was the official name for the facility until just before 1990, the name was changed to the more technical Air Force Flight Test Center, Detachment 3 (AFFTC Det. 3) in the late 1980s.
Area 51, also known as Groom Lake, is a secret military facility about 90 miles north of Las Vegas. The number refers to a 6-by-10-mile block of land, at the center of which is a large air base the government will not discuss. The site was selected in the mid-1950s for testing of the U-2 spyplane, due to its remoteness, proximity to existing facilities and presence of a dry lake bed for landings. Groom Lake is America’s traditional testing ground for “black budget” aircraft before they are publicly acknowledged. The facility and surrounding areas are also associated — with varying levels of credibility — with UFO and conspiracy stories. In 1989, Bob Lazar claimed on a Las Vegas television station that he had worked with alien spacecraft at Papoose Lake, south of Area 51. Since then, “Area 51” has become a popular symbol for the alleged U.S. Government UFO cover-up.
The facility has been used to test many black and grey military projects such as secret planes including the ‘U-2’, ‘F-117 Stealth Fighter’ and the ‘SR-71 Blackbird’. More recently it has been home to a high speed, high altitude ‘Aurora’ project and the now famous UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as the ‘Predator’ which has been used in the 2001-2002 war against the terrorist Al-Qaeda network. The main UFOlogy interest in the base at Groom Lake comes from the belief that the debris and bodies from the Roswell Incident were taken to the Area 51 for reverse engineering and autopsies respectively.
The base is still very active, the so called ‘Janet flights’ (from the radio call sign) which are unmarked, other than a red stripe on each side, Boing 737s which transport workers into the base from a high security terminal in the northwest corner of Las Vegas McCarran Airport. Also the White bus brings workers in from Alamo and other nearby towns along the Groom Lake Road. Construction is on going with new buildings, technical facilities and runways being constructed within the last ten years.
Area 51 is located in South Nevada, making up part of the Nellis Range Complex, which lies roughly 100 miles north of Las Vegas. The Groom Lake mountains surrounding the dry lake bed of Groom Lake hide the base from view as much as possible like a natural fortress. ‘Extraterrestrial’ Highway 375 and the town of Rachel, the ‘UFO Capital of the World’ are nearby.
There is an area of restricted air space covering 575 square miles above the Nellis range with Groom Lake and Area 51 at the center, this air space is known as ‘The Box’ by military pilots, possibly because of its nearly square shape. The Nellis Ranges which are Area 51, the Tonopah Test Range (TTR), the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and the bombing and gunnery ranges cover an area of 5,200 square miles. The Test site looks like the surface of the moon due to nuclear testing, and could be highly radioactive.
If you are thinking of visiting Area 51, travelling from Las Vegas expect a 135 miles journey, or 382 miles from Reno. Rachel is 146 miles from Las Vegas but only 244 miles from Reno. When you get to Highway 375, Groom Lake road is the dirt track heading south, as you enter Tikaboo Valley, the intersection is between mile markers 34 and 35. Following this dirt track for just under 14 miles will bring you to the restricted area, marked by signs which notify you that the security are authorised to use deadly force.
If you get this close to Area 51, you will not see the base, but you will be able to see the security force, known as ‘Cammo Dudes’ due to their uniform. They drive white Jeep Cherokees and white Ford F-150 trucks. When you get this far, you are also being monitored by two surveillance cameras on the hill. EG&G Technical Services Inc. provide the ‘Cammo Dudes’, they are a private security firm using high power binoculars to survey Groom lake Road and the border.
Do not cross the border, you will be detained, fined $1000 and your activities will be alerted to Lincoln County Sheriff. The ‘Cammo Dudes’ can also shoot you if they see fit, this is not reported to have happened before, but don’t test them.
If you want to get the best view of the actual base, the best time to go to Area 51 is nearly 10 years ago. In 1995 the government restricted access to the best places: ‘White Sides’ and ‘Freedom Ridge’. These days your best bet is to go to ‘Tikaboo Peak’ which is 26 miles from the base so take optical equipment for the best results. ‘Reveille Peak’, north-west of Rachel, is another good place to look at Area 51 from however it is 45 miles from the base, so good weather and excellent equipment is necessary.
At night, lots of people camp at the famous ‘Black Mailbox’. The ‘Black Mailbox’ is no longer black, as it has been replaced. The mailbox is located at the intersection between Highway 375 and Mailbox Road. It is owned by Steve Medlin, he has the only ranch in Tikaboo Valley. The original mailbox, the black one, was auctioned off to a UFOlogist for $1000 in 1996. It was replaced by a bullet proof white mailbox because Medlin’s mail had been shot at many times, possibly by people under the impression that the mailbox belonged to Area 51 and they would find classified documents inside. The area around the ‘Black Mailbox’ is a popular place to stay the night to observe the skies above Area 51, make sure you do not block the road or the mailbox. Moonless, dark, weekend nights are always the best time to be watching if you wish to see something they don’t want you to see.
The Tonapah Test Range (TTR) is known as Area 52, it is another secret test facility, however security is not as tight as Area 51 and there is nothing to suggest that the two bases are connected. Tonapah Test Range is operated by the Air Force and Sandia National Labs and can be seen from highway 6 and is notable for the large amount of radar equipment. The F-117 Stealth Fighter was stationed in the base before it had finished its time at Groom Lake, there is a lot of secretive activity at the Tonapah Test Range at the moment suggesting that there could be another black or gray project being tested there.
Bob Lazar is a name many connect with Area 51, he in fact claims to have worked at a facility known as ‘S-4’ in the Papoose dry lake bed. He shot to fame when he announced that he had worked on alien spacecraft for the US government, on Las Vegas television in November 1989. He claimed to have worked at the facility, which is 80 miles north of Las Vegas and south of Area 51 from late 1988 to early 1989.
If there are captured UFOs at Area 51, it would not be too incredible to think that we gained certain new technologies from them, maybe information pertaining to Stealth or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vechicals) has been discovered through back engineering. It is also not too incredible to assume that even the worlds greatest scientists would have absolutely no idea how a captured UFO works making back engineering very difficult. A witness to the Roswell crash famously said that scientists could find no evidence that the crashed UFO should fly. Maybe one day people working weekends at Area 51 will find the key to interstellar space flight, maybe they already have.