Few places in American popular culture draw more interest and public speculation than the clandestine flight test facility at Groom Lake Air Force Base, Nevada. Located in the remote desert test range of the Department of Energy, the facility is gone by many names since it was selected by Lockheed, CIA, and the U.S. Air Force in the mid-1950s. "Dreamland," "The Ranch," "Watertown Strip," and of course, "Area 51." In the six decades it has been operational, Area 51 passing the first flights and testing of some of the world's most advanced and exotic aircraft in history. Initially, this meant the facility was used to test CIA U-2 spy planes, as well as training the first cadres of pilots. Within 15 years however, Groom Lake was home to programs like the Lockheed A-12/SR-71 Blackbird, along with the testing of foreign military aircraft "types," such as Russian MiG fighters. Later came testing of prototypes like the HAVE BLUE, leading to the development of the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. And since then, a wide variety of test/development/prototype testing has gone on both at Groom Lake, as well as the nearby Tonopah Test Range airfield.
To learn more about Area 51 and the amazing aircraft that have been tested there, join military historian, author and journalist John D. Gresham (@greshamj01) for Military Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern. His guest this week will be Zenith Press (@Zenith_Press) author and historian Bill Yenne. Bill is the writer of AREA 51 BLACK JETS, an illustrated history of the Groom Lake facilities, and the amazing aircraft that have flown there during the past six decades. They will also discuss the popular culture mythology and legends associated with Area 51, and the intriguing economy that has grown around operations there. Listeners are also encouraged to call in, ask questions, and offer opinions.
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