by Norio Hayakawa (Groomwatch@aol.com)
There is no substance whatsoever to the ridiculous rumor that AREA 51
and its operations were abandoned and were relocated elsewhere, such
as to Utah. Basically, this rumor had originated from what appeared to
be a disinformative article that first appeared in the June, 1997 issue of
POPULAR MECHANICS. The unexpected article no doubt was greatly
“appreciated” by Nellis AFB and particularly those at the “remote
operating base” at Groom Lake, Nevada.
The folks at Nellis AFB probably rolled on floor laughing over the
article, which was for the most part filled with factual errors, much to
their absolute delight!! The June, 1997, POPULAR MECHANICS piece
also must have brought much delight to the then Secretary of the Air
Force, Sheila Widnall.
It is my hope that this type of misinformed article did not serve to curtail
the general public’s interest in and rightful scrutiny of AREA 51 (Groom
Lake Complexes), particularly in regards to those issues relative to the
alleged infractions of environmental statutes at the site.
The article, written by Jim Wilson, science editor of POPULAR
MECHANICS, inferred that “the Air Force had abandoned top-secret
testing at its once most secret test site”. Then Wilson came to the hasty
conclusion and stated that “we know why and we know where they
moved to (i.e., Utah)”. Nothing is farther from the truth than this overly
generalized inference. Jim Wilson, despite his probable sincerity and
good intentions, obviously missed the whole picture.
To begin with, he obviously took a wrong turn on “Groom Lake dirt
road” and went to a location that had very little to do with AREA 51. It
was obvious from the photo that what he did was go south on the “Mail
Box dirt road” from Hwy 375, crossed the “Groom Lake dirt road” and
went further south all the way till he encountered an old, poorly
maintained wind fence, believing that he had arrived at the back gate
of AREA 51, when in reality he had arrived at the northeastern boundary
of Range 61. There he decided that nothing was happening at AREA 51,
and made a hasty statement, saying “the ‘cammo dudes’ are no longer
patrolling the perimeter of AREA 51” and further rashly stated that
“what we found was a securely locked wind fence that appears to have
been undisturbed for months”.
He further commented that even though he had arrived at the back
door to AREA 51, there was “no guard post”. Brilliant!! (There never
was any…..ever at that location!!). He also stated in the article that the
“warning signs flanking the gate aren’t very threatening either”………..
(The reason for that is because there never existed any “threatening”
warning signs there except the sign that says NO TRESPASSING……
Nellis Bombing Range). It is because that location is not AREA 51…….
it is merely the northeastern boundary of Range 61. Wilson then came
to the stunning conclusion that “AREA 51 has shut down !!”. Again, a
I suggest next time that he go to the right location……towards the real
Guard Shack area……(west all the way on Groom Lake road)…..where
he may really encounter the “cammo dudes”, white Jeep Cherokees
and perhaps a Blackhawk chopper or two to welcome him, if he dare
go to the Guard Shack area. He would also see some real “threatening”
warning signs along the dirt road that clearly say LETHAL FORCE WILL
>From what I understand from several reliable sources, Groom Lake has
not had a major lessening of activity whatsoever. In fact there may be
more going on NOW at Groom Lake than before.
In October of 1997, I observed the Groom Lake facility from high atop
Tickaboo Peak and verified with my own eyes that the facility is not only
there but even thought that there may be slightly more structures out
there than before! A couple of new water tanks seem to have been
added recently behind the big hangar area. Also, deducing from a
fairly recent, highly-detailed panoramic photo that I acquired (allegedly
taken several months after the closure of both the Freedom Ridge and
White Sides), I have no doubt that there are some new constructions
going on, particularly along the southwest slope next to Groom Lake.
(I had observed the Groom Lake facility a number of times before from
both the White Sides hill and the Freedom Ridge before those hills
became off-limits to the public).
Also, the night prior to the day that I climbed the Tickaboo Peak in
October of 1997, we were standing at the exact spot where Jim Wilson
had stood…..at around 7:30 p.m., at the northeastern boundary of Range
61. As we were looking towards the direction of Groom Lake, we were
surprised by a sudden illumination of the sky just over the direction of
Groom Lake and witnessed around 3 or 4 reddish “balls” of light that
appeared over the direction of Groom Lake and then disappeared
momentarily, after which the sky over that area returned to total
darkness. I could not speculate what those reddish “balls” of light
were…….(different from the usual military aircraft flares that I had seen
many times near AREA 51)……..but his went on intermittently for about
three times during the next 20 minutes or so. There was no doubt that
there was activity of some kind that night at Groom Lake. This was in
stark contrast to the allegation by Jim Wilson that nothing is going on
at AREA 51 and that nothing was going on when he was standing at the
northeastern boundary of Range 61, looking towards the Groom
Mountains. Probably nothing major was going on that was visible in the
sky over Groom Lake on that particular day or evening when he was
there. Moreover, we must bear in mind that most sensitive programs
are thought to be conducted below ground level, to begin with.
Primarily because of the (probably inadvertent) misinformative article
from the June, 1997, POPULAR MECHANICS, the whole world seemed
to have gotten the impression that there is nothing going on at AREA 51,
and that everything had moved to the Green River Missile Launch
“complex” in Utah.
One of the erroneous facts that Jim Wilson mentioned in the June,
1997, POPULAR MECHANICS article was that there was an “officially
named Area 6413” in Utah. There is no “officially name Area 6413” in
Utah. What he meant to say was Restricted Air Space 6413 in Utah.
However, it is my understanding that even to this date, anyone can
easily get right next to the Green River Missile Lauch “complex”. I
highly doubt that there is anything top-secret going on over there.
Rather than the Green River Missile Launch “complex” (which Jim
Wilson seemed to have inferred as the possible site of the New AREA
51), we should keep a closer watch on the new “non-lethal” weapons
programs as well as the new “bacteriological warfare programs” going
on at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. It is, by far, more “interesting”
there than the Green River area!!
All in all, the June, 1997, POPULAR MECHANICS article was in such a
drastic contrast to the more substantial article that coincidentally
appeared one month prior, in the May, 1997 issue of POPULAR SCIENCE
in which Groom Lake was mentioned several times, with an inference
that there was still plenty going on at Groom Lake.
Some of the ongoing programs at AREA 51, according to reports from
the Monitoring Times and other publications, seem to include a new
series of B-2 follow-on by Northrop/Grumman at S-2, possible newer
versions of Darkstar (Tier 3 – UAV) by Lockheed at S-4 and Tier 2+ and
Tier 3+ UAVs at S-9 by such as Teledyne Ryan Aero.
In June of 1997, after the article appeared on POPULAR MECHANICS,
I was informed that some new components of new, small-scale VOTL
produced by Lockheed had just been transferred to Groom from Air
Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.
There is no doubt that there are new generations of Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles (UAVs – remote controlled surveillance platforms, some of
which may be oval shaped, etc) being tested at Groom Lake. New
testing of “skins” for outer coating for a new generation of stealth
programs is going on as well, as inferred by the May, 1997 issue of
A new generation of “electro chromic panels” are probably continuing
to be tested at the facility. A move towards “daytime” stealth capability
(such as through the use of special sensors for transmission of image
reflections of the background environment on the lower as well as
upper bodies of the aircraft) may be in the works at AREA 51.
I would not be surprised at all if they were working on such as limited
tri-dimensional holographic image maximization that could be
integrated with the “electro chromic panels” not only used to reflect
background environment on the aircraft to bring about “transparency
effect” but also to bring about some distorted image size of the aircraft.
All this, in addition to several new black, triangular aircraft (such as the
alleged TR-3A Black Manta) that they may be working on.
Anyway, the point is that there may indeed be some new programs
going on in Utah and elsewhere, but to infer that AREA 51 “moved”
to Utah is totally unfounded.