Area 51 Closed?
I can’t believe I missed the Area 51 “going out of business sale” But there it was emblazoned on the cover of Popular Mechanics for all the world to see. Eagerly I plunked down my $2.95 and headed home with my prize.
First, I must admit, as a contributing writer for Popular Science, I was embarrassed that PM had scooped us. After all, I have been chasing anything to do with black projects for over ten years now. I had promised myself, that if it had anything to do with covert technology, I would be on the story.
Just last month Popular Science had published my story on a new type of aviation technology being tested at Area 51. “Daylight Stealth” was the result of two years research, and yet,now I read in Popular Mechanics (lawn mower tester to the world) that Area 51 is closed. Boy was I red faced. How had I missed that?
But wait there was hope for my reputation,because as I read on, it became increasingly clear. that the writer (PM Science and Technology Editor Jim Wilson) was completely wrong!
How could the editors at Popular Mechanics have allowed such a piece to be published? To make sure and to be totally fair, I read and then reread and again reread the article.
No doubt about it. they were wrong.
I breathed a sigh of relief. It was true. Either Jim Wilson knows nothing about Area 51 or the article was written by the Air Force.
To put it kindly, the article is poorly researched, and reported with Wilson drawing the wrong conclusions based on piecemeal data.
The worst thing is that there will be many who will read the article and assume it must be true. After all, the article was in Popular Mechanics, a magazine that has built its’ reputation on successfully exposing some of Detroit’s best kept car secrets. Could delving into the military secrecy maze be any different?
To tell the truth, I don’t subscribe. I only read articles about lawn mowers or boat scrubbers when I am forced to. Like searching for something to read in the dentist’s office while waiting for a root canal. I do know many well-educated-white-males who do read PM. They include my father-in-law, Elwood, who keeps a large library of them in his bathroom. A good PM review from Elwood would be: “the articles are the perfect length. A good read while you are doing your business.”
On the Wrong Track
Let’s take a close look at where the PM article went wrong. I wont reprint the article here so if you don’t know what the article is about, I suggest you find one to read. For heaven’s sake don’t buy one. You can find one for free in waiting room of any tire store.
On the cover story Wilson says ” the Air Force has abandoned top- secret testing at its once most secret test site. We know why and we know where they moved it to( i.e. Utah).”
Jim says he visited the Area 51 perimeter and found it abandoned. According to Wilson, all he found at the “back door” to Area 51 was a poorly maintained cattle gate secured with a rusty padlock. Wilson tried to flush out the Area 51 security forces by honking his truck horn, but alas none of the “cammo dudes” appeared. It was from this that Jim drew his conclusion that the multi-billion dollar test base at Area 51 was closed.
Lost and found
According to those who know the area well (I don’t even pretend to) Jim apparently took a wrong turn and went further south on “Mail Box Road”, crossed the “Groom Lake Road” and ended up at the gate he described in the article. ” The road has just vanished, as completely as if it never existed.” Wilson says. A photo of the gate shows Jim standing next to a gate bearing small warning signs , “no trespassing” and “the Air Force drops real bombs” on the other side of the fence. Jim states ” there was no guard post” and the ” warning signs flanking the gate aren’t very threatening either.”
Aviation researcher Dale Punter says ” The photo of Jim Wilson at the gate to Area 51, has a problem. The reason that he found no guard shack or cammo dudes is because he was at least 10 miles from the actual Groom lake borderline. The actual location of the photo is the north perimeter fence of Range 61 in R4806W. the photo is facing south, away from Area 51. Groom Lake road has not vanished, in fact it is very hard to miss.”
No wonder no cammo dudes showed up when he honked his horn drive-in style.
Wilson states as further proof that Area 51 has been abandoned: “Chuck Clark, author of the Area 51 & S4 Handbook, tells me he thinks the airfield’s last secret plane, the Aurora, left a year ago. Bob Lazar . . . claims the government moved the crashed flying saucer he worked on at the S4 site to a more secret location. Even Glenn Campbell–founder of the Area 51 Research Center. . . has left for Las Vegas.”
Chuck Clark and Bob Lazar? Quoted as reliable sources? C’mon!
Campbell who moved to Las Vegas because Rachel was such a nothing spot in the road (and not the best place to live) still runs his Area 51 Research Center in Rachel and is there often. Campbell, in a article on the PM piece published in the Las Vegas Sun said ” the article is rubbish, all rubbish … I’ve never seen so much crapola in a national magazine before.”
Keep in mind, this comes from a magazine who published another recent cover story titled “Flying Saucers are Real” based on Bob Lazar’s claims.
Janet Airways: New Destinations?
According to Wilson the secret airline that ferry workers to Groom Lake are now flying to Utah to work at a new secret base.
Campbell who keeps a close eye on the coming and goings at Area 51 says the JANET airliners that fly base workers to the Groom Lake are still going strong. ” I’ve seen no changes in activity at the airport ( McCarren) here. I can look out my Las Vegas apartment window and see the same planes taking off for the Nevada base every day.”
Note: PM never contacted Glenn Campbell to ask about the goings on at Area 51 or for comment, which would seem to this author to be the logical thing to do.
According to Wilson the “New Area 51” will be based at an extension of the White Sands Missile Range complex at White Sands Utah. Wilson says the new base has been dubbed “Area 6413” by the Air Force. Wilson states that launches of a new secret spy/spaceplane will take place at White Sands, Utah with the craft landing at Michael AAF about 200 miles away.
Don’t waste your time looking for Area 6413 on a map. It doesn’t exist ( officially or unofficially) What does exist ( on aviation flight maps) is R-6413, restricted air space that keeps civilian aircraft from wandering into a missile launch zone.
In actuality the site is known as the Green River Launch Complex and has been used to launch missile tests into the New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range.
The site isn’t very secret nor is it very isolated. The Green River Complex is surrounded by BLM land and would be easy to observe, much easier than Groom.
The airspace above might be considered “restricted” but one can arrange to fly through it with 48 hrs. notice. Try that at Area 51.
The PM article is flawed in other areas. For example Wilson says that the Dugway Proving Grounds is where the Army stores and tests nerve gas and chemical weapons, inferring that this will scare people away from Michael AAF ( at Dugway) where the X-33 spaceplane and it’s black cousin is slated to land.
Chemical and biological agents are not stored at Dugway. They are tested there, but they are stored at the Tooele Army Depot, located approximately 75-100 miles away. Hardly a deterrent, especially in light of the fact that Area 51 nests in the middle of a radioactive wasteland which hasn’t exactly scared the curious away.
But wait a minute .. according to Wilson, one of the reasons Area 51 is being abandoned is because of the radioactive nature of the real estate. To this author it doesn’t make sense to jump out of the radioactive frying pan to land into the bio/warfare chemical fire.
It’s Only Logical
The assets at Groom are too expensive to just abandon on an Air Force whim. Exactly how many dollars have been spent turning Groom Lake into an advanced aviation test facility remains classified but anyone standing on the hill observing Groom Lake can can cleary tell that millions if not billions of dollars must have gone into the base’s expansive construction. The idea that the Pentagon would abandon or try and move their investment to a relatively undeveloped area in Utah, is ludicrous.
It Ju$t Doesn’t Add Up
According to the PM article and Wilson, the Utah Green River site is being refurbished to the tune of $8 million. In this day and age of mega-bucks government expenditures, $8 million is pocket change compared to the money the Pentagon has invested in Groom. $8 mil won’t buy half an F-16, let alone a secret test center.A recent $8 million dollar upgrade of facilities at Cannon, AFB was only enough to pay for a new large hangar, runway improvements and a youth center. Not nearly enough to equip and construct a new covert projects test facility.
On the Right Track.
In all fairness, Wilson is right in some accounts. Yes the X-33 is slated to land at Dugway. The following story was released a few weeks ago:
“X-33 TO HIT UTAH WITH A BOOM IN ’99
By Joe Bauman, Science Writer
Hurtling toward ground at 11,000 miles an hour, the massive X-33 experimental vehicle will generate a mighty sonic boom, loud enough to break windows in its flight path, NASA officials said Monday night.
Since few windows will be in the vehicle’s flight path when it comes in for landings at Dugway Proving Ground in 1999, the main concern is the impact on wildlife, particularly those at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, 30 miles to the southwest.”
“It can produce a startle effect on the wildlife because it’s an unexpected, sharp noise,” said Rebecca McCaleb, director of environmental engineering and management at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.”
Wilson states that there will be a black version of the X-33 built for use in a military role as either a weapons or reconnaissance role. He bases his conclusions on recently released information on the Air Force “Have Region” program which was tasked with developing a MACH 15 spy platform. Most likely, Wilson concludes, it is this aircraft that will be flying out of the new “Area 51” in Utah.
Although for the most part the “new Area 51” article is bogus, in some ways Wilson is right . His conclusions that there will most likely be a military version of the X-33 are only off by a small margin of error.
Most likely a black X-33 woud be used as a spy platform not a weapons platfform because the later would be a violation of SALT II treaties forbidding space based weapons systems.
The truth be known, the military probably already has in its inventory a secret and already operational recon/ spaceplane flying.
When you look at the evidence, add up the numbers it only make sense. How did the Lockheed Skunk Works ( a company not known for its expertise in building space craft) land a multi-billion dollar contract to build the X-33 and Venture Star? It’s hard to beleive that this maker of stealth aircraft beat out Rocwell to build the replacement for the space shuttle.
The Skunk Works built its reputation on developing top-secret stealth aircraft and spyplanes, not space craft, but yet they beat out everyone else. Something’s skunky and I smell it in the form of a secret spy/spaceplane that wasn’t built by NASA.
It is also interesting to note that NASA has far more astronauts than needed for the limited space shuttle missions they fly. Curiously, some of these astronauts list as their address a mail drop in Mercury, Nevada. Very far from Cape Canaveral, yet within commuting distance of Groom Lake.
All things considered, if the Pentagon had wanted to hide a black project and Groom was considered to hot, they wouldn’t hide it in Utah. There are plenty of other places to test aircraft.
For example, something hypersonic has been flying out of San Nicolas Island, off the coast of California . fast and loud, this aircraft may possibly be the culprit causing the “skyquakes” that have been shaking Los Angeles as of late. NASA recently announced they would be landing its Hyper X project aircraft at San Nicolas, “a site where various classified hypersonic projects” had been tested by the Navy. Navy pilots refer to the test base at San Nicholas as “Fantasy Island.” and say the facilities rival Groom Lake.
Or how about hiding it in plain site, such as at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico? On many occasions when this author was visiting the area I have heard and seen aircraft flying over WSMR at very high speed. Recently while attending an annual wargame in New Mexico, “Roving Sands” myself and four others witnessed a fast flyer at high altitude zooming over the White Sands Missile range. This craft (callsign ASTRID, ASTOR or ASTRA) went on to rock the Southwest with loud sonic booms that rattled windows from Amarillo, Texas to Denver, Colorado.
There are also many other existing and much better equipped facilities than Green River to hide the military’s covert projects. How about the secret base at remote Macrihanish, Scotland where a loud high speed aircraft has been booming the countryside scaring Scottish sheep? Or what about the test facilities at Kwajalein located far from prying eyes in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Kwajelein is well known within covert technology circles as one of the Pentagon’s project staging areas.
Rumors also abound about a new “Area 51” located in the isolated Australian outback near Alice Springs,close to a known CIA listening post. Australian air traffic controllers report tracking very high-speed aircraft flying out of the area . Civilian Aussie pilots report finding a secret airstrip, painted to look like dirt and almost impossible to spot by air or ground. How did they find it? When military aircraft approach ,water sprinklers wet the strip so it stands out from the terrain. At night the strip employs an infrared lighting system only visible with night vision goggles.
In any event, chances are that Area 51 has not closed and will be used as a secret test facility for years to come. If there is any slow down at Area 51, it is not because that the facility is being abandoned, but because of the natural progression of projects from test to operational status. Sources inside Groom Lake say testing continues on the development of new stealth aircraft ( manned and unmanned) invisibility systems, recon systems and other covert technologies deemed vital to national security.