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Area 51
  1. Introduction
  2. Area 51 History
  3. Government Policy on Public Viewing
  4. Area 51 Today
  5. Known Projects
  6. Unknown Projects
  7. Robert Lazar



Hangers located in Area 51Area 51, located at the corner of a Nevada nuclear test site, has long been rumored to be the home of some of the United States most highly classified national security projects. Hundreds of people have seen and photographed odd objects such as flying triangles, saucer shaped craft, and flying objects that maneuver in ways conventional aircraft could not possibly move. It has also been rumored that the technologies developed here are not of earthly origins but rather reversed engineered from studies of crashed extraterrestrial spacecraft.

Area 51, also known as Dreamland, The Ranch, The Box, Watertown Strip, and Groom Lake, is a 6 mile by 10 mile tract of desert land, located between two mountain ranges 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas.  The name 'Area 51' is a nickname supplied by local researchers (the government has no official name and refuses to acknowledge its existence).  The land in and around Area 51 was at one time a government nuclear test site.  Old maps of the area show the site broken into grids labeled Area 1, Area 2, Area 3, and so on. Researchers noted that Dreamland was located on a corner of this original site in the grid labeled 'Area 51'.

The location was chosen in 1954 by a Lockheed test pilot, Tony LeVier, who was given the task of finding a suitable location for the testing of a new Lockheed contract - the U2 spy plane.  After scouring the desert for a remote spot, he decided that the Groom Lake area was ideal.  It was located near existing facilities, the mountainous location offered a unique hidden view, and it contained a large, dry lake bed that would be perfect for aircraft landings.


Area 51 History

Restricted Area signs around Area 51After securing the location, the government assembled their highly secret testing facility in short time.  Initially, the four surrounding mountain ranges, Crisis Corner, Freedom Ridge, White Sides, and Supplemental Hills, provided good cover for their clandestine operations.  But over time, persons began noticing peculiar aircraft flying in and near the area and out of curiosity they of course began exploring the area.  What they found were decidedly stern warning signs, hidden road sensors, and veiled cameras indicating that something highly secret was going on here.  And so word spread and curious onlookers came by the dozens, despite the official signs hardheartedly warning that "Use of deadly force is authorized".  The government denied the secret complex's existence and the only indication that such a place existed was the "Nellis Air Force Bombing and Gunnery Range" description sometimes listed on area maps.


Government Policy on Public Viewing

Surprisingly, Area 51 is not surround by fences, guard houses, or other high-security devices - or so it seems. Road sensors, hidden cameras, and other strange devices are believed to alert the government to possible intruders.  Some think that the base is surrounded by technologically advanced 'smell sensors' that can distinguish between a human being or a less dangerous desert animal. 

As late as 1993, the government was relatively lax on enforcing the 'no photographs' restriction on the area.  When onlookers arrived in the area, familiar white Jeep Cherokees could soon be seen in the distance as the Area 51 guards came out to investigate.  Some have reported seeing vehicles with 'viewing towers' mounted on top to aid guards in detecting and monitoring onlookers.  Others have recorded excursions where they noted camouflaged troops lurking behind rocks and in bunkers and veiled vehicles attempting to hide in the distance.   In some cases the local sheriff would be called in to question the onlookers.  The routine 'were you taking pictures' question was asked and if you replied 'no' then the incident ended there.  If you admitted to taking pictures then your film, and possibly your photography equipment, would be confiscated.  Arrests are sometimes required.

In once incident in March 1993, a TV crew from Dallas, Texas were on location filming the hush-hush complex for a special news report.  The sheriff arrived and witnessed their filming in progress.  The sheriff asked for the video tape and the film crew promptly refused.  A argument ensued, lawyers were called on the spot, and the feds were contacted.  Rather than making a big fuss over the incident, the government simply let it drop and the crew was allowed to maintain possession of their film and equipment.

Little less than a year later, on March 23, 1994, the government's attitude abruptly changed.  The New York Times Magazine was on the site taking shots for an upcoming article.  While viewing Area 51 through their telephoto lenses, they spotted camouflaged guards peering at them from behind a 'green net' type barricade.  Listening to their scanner that was tuned to the local Rachel, Nevada sheriff's frequency, they heard the call come in reporting their activities.  The sheriff was given a description of their vehicle, its occupants, and even the license number of their 4-wheel drive truck - quiet a feat considering the hidden guards were over a mile and a half away!  They quickly packed up their vehicle and drove away.  Leaving the main road, they decided to trek across the desert in an effort to steer clear of the sheriff whom they knew would soon be arriving in the area.  When they could go no further they abandoned their vehicle and took to foot, dragging their equipment with them.  Soon, they noted peculiar, green army type helicopters roaming the area at low altitudes.  They hunkered down under some scrawny shrubs and waited it out.  Predictably, the were soon discovered by a helicopter that commenced to lower itself directly above them and hover until the local sheriff arrived.  Their film was confiscated and they were released after receiving a harsh warning.

Arial photograph taken by Russian spyplanes in 1992.  Notice the large runway running diagonally, across the Groom Lake dry lakebed.

On April 10, 1995, the Freedom Ridge and White Sands ranges were obtained by the government in an effort to thwart onlookers ideal vantage points.  For some reason, and probably due to an existing law limiting confiscation of these types of lands to 5000 acres, Tikaboo Peak was left alone.  Although not the ideal vantage point, the peak offers a clear, albeit distant (20+ miles away) view of the Area 51 complex.  Onlookers continue to use this vantage point today hoping to catch a glimpse of a unique, and/or strange craft taking off from the base's massive, 18,000 feet long runway (the largest runway in the world  - see the above photograph).


Area 51 Today

Today the complex is believed to house around 1,850 government and civilian employees.  Employees travel to and from work via several chartered 737 flights that arrive several times a day (probably around 10-12 flights in and out a day).  These planes, easily distinguishable by their large red stripe, are known by their call names 'Janet' (aircraft communications have been monitored by locals who determined that these planes were labeled 'Janet 172', 'Janet 212', etc.) Outside contractors, believed to be employed by a company called EG&G (not Wackenrut as was once surmised), cannot disclose the base's location.  If you ask an employee where he works they will matter of factly state 'a remote testing facility'.

Construction work continues to this day at Area 51.  In 1989, a new 15,000 foot runway was built parallel to the existing one.  Its supposed purpose was as a backup to the existing runway and possibly to use when flooding conditions make the old runway unusable or dangerous.  Field trip viewers have verified construction of new tank system used to store cryogenic liquid methane or hydrogen fuels supposedly to be used in the recently built high-speed aircraft (Aurora).  New hangers are also being built on a continuous basis.


Known Projects

Several projects have been verified to have taken place at the facility.  In the 1950's, the U2 spy plane was developed and tested in Area 51.  It is known that Bob Gilliland flew the first test prototype SR-71 Blackbird in the area in 1962.  The SR-71, capable of flying at extreme altitudes so high that pilots must wear protective space suits, was a common sight taking off and landing in the area.  

In 1986, reports began surfacing of triangular shaped aircraft flying in the area.  It is now known that the F-117A Nighthawk (Stealth Fighter) was built and tested at Area 51.  This strange shaped aircraft is nearly invisible to enemy radar.  Given its extreme lack of right angles, radar signal bounce off the craft in every direction - except straight back to the radar controller!  Given this and its radar absorbing skin, the craft is virtually undetectable by enemy radar.

Current rumors abound of a slick, super fast aircraft project, known as Aurora.  It is surmised that this top secret project has produced an aircraft capable of Mach 7 speeds (for comparison, the Concorde flies at Mach 2).  Possible propulsion systems include both jet and pulse-detonation-wave engines.


Unknown Projects

In addition to the development and testing of advanced aircraft designs, other peculiar sights have been reported in the area around the base.  F15's, F16's and B52 bombers make frequent practice bombing runs.  Some have even sighted Russian Sukhoi Su-22 and MiG-23 planes scrambling about - how they were obtained is not known.  And of course, there are the numerous reports of circular, disk shaped objects, sharp pulses of light (lasers?), and transparent aircraft flying in ways no conventional aircraft is capable of.



Robert Lazar

area510016.jpg (1723 bytes)In November 1989, Robert Scott Lazar, a physicists and MIT graduate, appeared on a Las Vegas news show with a remarkable story. Lazar claimed he had worked at Area 51 on a project involving advanced propulsion systems, certainly a believable claim for someone working at a top secret military base.  Lazar proceeded to explain the inner workings of these propulsion systems, powered by 'anti-gravity reactors', and claimed that the design of these systems was gleaned from crashed UFOs that he had personally seen on the base.  Lazar gave detailed descriptions of the circular, disk shaped craft that he claimed the government had stored at a secret complex called S-4 at Papoose Lake, a dry lake bed located a few miles south of Groom Lake.  Lazar explained that the project was so secret, not even Congress knew anything about it and it was highly unlikely that the American public would ever be informed.

Several of the qualifications that Lazar has claimed to posses have not been proven by researchers.  Most believe he is a fraud.  But many still think that the Area 51 complex is used to reverse engineer crashed, extraterrestrial aircraft.  Some feel some or most of our current advanced aircraft technologies have been derived from these experiments.

Despite clear photos and other evidence attesting the existence of Area 51, the U.S. government will now only vaguely admit that Area 51 exists.  Some think that the high publicity the base has received over the years may have forced the government to build another, even more secret base in another undisclosed location...





(1) Area 51 Research Center
Highway 375, Rachel, Nevada
(2) Secrets of Area 51 (Web)
(3) UFO Folklore (Web)
(4) Clark, Jerome "Unexplained"
Visible Ink Press, Detroit, Michigan 1993



Who Works at Area 51?

Initially, Area 51 gurus believed that employees were contracted from a firm called Wackenrut.  Now it is more widely believed that EG&G are the primary contractors.

Say What?

One of the initial problems the government may have encountered when attempting to enforce the 'No Photography' rule was this: How can you tell someone to NOT take pictures of a secret base that does not exist...

Where is it?

Area 51 is located near Rachel, Nevada.  It crosses the Nevada counties of Nye, Lincoln, and Clark.

Groom Lake

Area 51 is sometimes referred to as Groom Lake, a misnomer since Groom Lake is actually a dry lake bed located within the vast complex.

Want to Visit?

Your best bet is to go to the Area 51 Research Center located on Highway 375 in Rachel, Nevada (150 miles from Las Vegas).  Look for the yellow trailer.  This Area 51 hub keeps normal business hours (except it's sometimes closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).  Be sure to tell the manager, Don Day, where you heard about it!



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