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Vaildog

Tonopah Test Range Airport

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Recently flew to San Francisco from Denver and our route took us fairly close to Tonopah test range airport. During the heights of the F-117 program before it was declassified, did commercial airplanes have different flight paths in the area, or were all operations only at night so they couldn't be observed?

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Much of what they do out there is still classified so the same protocols remain in place as during the F-117 days I'm sure.

When I was an E-6A/B aircrewman with TACAMO, we flew a lot in that area of the country, and even we (Top Secret , Secret Squirrels...) could not fly over Tonopah or Groom Lake (aka "Area 51"), the airways are sectioned around them and if I recall they are designated "Warning Areas" on the charts. So you stay out of them unless cleared in. Warning Areas are not unusual at all, there are several around the country and up and down both coasts...it's where you go to play fighter pilot or drop stuff.

*You wanna see something funny...go to Google Maps for "Groom Lake"...now go to the satelite image...and take the little "guy" to go to street view...

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Groom+Lake/@37.2401649,-115.8214848,848m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x80b81bcbbbfe72db:0x4a91edd68dd199d0!8m2!3d37.2766745!4d-115.798936

Edited by 82Whitey51

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*You wanna see something funny...go to Google Maps for "Groom Lake"...now go to the satelite image...and take the little "guy" to go to street view...

ufocow10.gif................. :lol:

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Much of what they do out there is still classified so the same protocols remain in place as during the F-117 days I'm sure.

When I was an E-6A/B aircrewman with TACAMO, we flew a lot in that area of the country, and even we (Top Secret , Secret Squirrels...) could not fly over Tonopah or Groom Lake (aka "Area 51"), the airways are sectioned around them and if I recall they are designated "Warning Areas" on the charts. So you stay out of them unless cleared in. Warning Areas are not unusual at all, there are several around the country and up and down both coasts...it's where you go to play fighter pilot or drop stuff.

*You wanna see something funny...go to Google Maps for "Groom Lake"...now go to the satelite image...and take the little "guy" to go to street view...

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Groom+Lake/@37.2401649,-115.8214848,848m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x80b81bcbbbfe72db:0x4a91edd68dd199d0!8m2!3d37.2766745!4d-115.798936

Are those actual F-16's on the ramp or just painted silhouettes? Kinda looks like the taxiway markings are painted over them. Lot of buildings for what I thought was a pretty small installation. I find the extended centerline for the primary runway pretty interesting. It appears to be paved / painted onto the dry lakebed. It goes straight for approx a mile and then curves off into an ~ 270 arc. Wonder why that was needed?

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No wonder the google guy is green!

F-16s at NW ramp are not parked on the lines. Interestingly, each is offset about the same amount.

At max zoom the lines do not go over the planes.

The runway center line extension curves in a wide arc---suggests a path allowing a plane to slow without tipping, the curve increasing the deceleration rate and ending with the pilot facing the ramp with still a long way to go, even able to get back on the runway going the other way.

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The runway center line extension curves in a wide arc---suggests a path allowing a plane to slow without tipping, the curve increasing the deceleration rate and ending with the pilot facing the ramp with still a long way to go, even able to get back on the runway going the other way.

I have a different theory: the lines are visual approach paths for pilots to follow so the field doesn't have to broadcast ILS signals.

Edited by habu2

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No wonder the google guy is green!

F-16s at NW ramp are not parked on the lines. Interestingly, each is offset about the same amount.

At max zoom the lines do not go over the planes.

The runway center line extension curves in a wide arc---suggests a path allowing a plane to slow without tipping, the curve increasing the deceleration rate and ending with the pilot facing the ramp with still a long way to go, even able to get back on the runway going the other way.

I think you are confusing groom lake for tonopah test range. Tonopah is further north and much more traditional air field layout. Tonopah is where the f-117 was primarily based while it was still classified, not at Groom Lake

Edited by Vaildog

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