Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point

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Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point spotter2 10/25/10 12:20 PM
This is a typical departure and approach pattern for certain aircraft based at Groom Lake.
If you go to the ground level view, you can use it to find the places in the area where you can see the aircraft.
I've included all of the radar sites, navigational beacons, and tracking stations I could find.
I've also included an excellent viewing area for observing aircraft, you cannot see the base from here, just the aircraft.
I'm disabled and retired now, so I guess I won't be using it anymore.
There are placemarks for the natural springs in the area, and the corrals being used to round up the wild horses and burros.
Those animals are sure pesky, the security people have a lot of trouble distinguishing them from people on foot.

This information is from personal observation, researching official documents, listening to local rumors, logical deductions,
and purely wild speculation, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of any of this.
So if anyone has firsthand knowledge of these sites, please don't hesitate to correct them.

Many of the radar sites to the north of the base are mainly used for Electronic warfare training and research,
and for use in military exercises like Red Flag.
But occasionally they are also used to track certain very special flights from Groom Lake.
The radars along the straight line flight path along the flight path are located so they are providing a continuous, real time
overlapping track of the approaching or departing aircraft.
They provide extremely precise tracking, suitable for automated flight control systems.
All of this area is controlled airspace, forbidden to civilian planes.

If anyone has anything to add, please do, as long as it's logical and not involving any flying saucers or captured aliens.
I'd sure like people to understand that this base is simply for advanced research and development of various aircraft.
It is also an operational base for some highly classified programs, involving spy planes, Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles,
new radar and communications systems, and so on.
Sorry, no reverse engineering of flying saucers, no vast underground bases, or star wars planetary defense systems.
Just a small base where most of the people are civilian scientists and technicians, working for aerospace firms,
flying in from Vegas on the Janet flights, or commuting back and forth on the white buses.

Please, instead of reading the tabloids and listening to the ridiculous conspiracy theories, just come out and look for yourself!
The area is actually surprisingly accessible, and some of the stuff flying around the restricted airspaces is simply amazing.
Secrecy begets Tyranny
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point spotter2 10/25/10 1:54 PM
Sorry, I forgot to add several places from a different folder,
like the RCS range and the small explosives test area.
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point gariac 10/26/10 7:28 PM
H is one of the Russian radar sites. I'm relatively sure it is only used for Red FLag and weapons school. I never saw any phased array (flat panel) radar there.
It is very easy to observe the gear back there. I need to bring the telescope and shoot the area from a nearby hill since not all the radar can be seen from gound level.

The "old bombing target" north of H certainly isn't bombed anymore. IIRC, only that range near Tikaboo is live bombed on the east side of the range. I never saw it bombed, only strafed with the AC130.

I've been on the "viewing area for departure pattern" as you indicated. You don't see much there. It is free territory, but it is so close to the border that you will get camo dudes. I swear the dudes put big rocks in the road to piss off the tourists. That is absolutely 4WD territory due to the steepness.

I really can't comment on the other radar since I don't think GE has enough detail.

The passive radar reflector is one I hadn't noticed. I photographed one at
37°13'2.96"N 115°50'49.36"W
years ago from the power line overlook. What I forgot to do was flip the image, so people thing it points to Groom Lake. In reality, it points to the NTS. I don't think it has anything to do with Groom Lake, but rather telco.

I never noticed that corral, but it looks very much like the stone corrals you find around central Nevada. No shortage of stones!

I can't see much at your navigation beacon. I don't have any unaccounted beacon frequencies. Be sure to look at the link I put in the other message for the navigations markers I've found.

"Outer Marker and navigation Beacon" is on Ragged Ridge. I can't verify that purpose and I don't believe I ever looked for marker beacons out there. I have looked for LF beacons and found none, but I didn't look for (or don't recall) searching for 75MHz beacons. As I stated in the other post, I'm very sure there are no low frequency beacons left around the range. I haven't hauled the good shortwave radio out there in a long time, so it is possible I missed the LF beacons if they returned. PYD and XSD are gone. MCY had been broken for a long time. AEC seems to hard the antenna and transmitter box removed.

The Oasis is fine if you like lots of smelly cows. Just barely visible are track that lead to the top of the hill by that oasis. Technically it is tresspassing, so I don't park up there anymore. I was shot by a gun ship on that hill. Well, they ran the guns on me without ammo.

The old shack near the oasis is used by ground forces. If you find someone hiding in the shack, they are considered captured. Ruins their whole day.

The "remote runway" is the Keno air strip. Lots of fun goes on here. Twice a year they hold HAFEX and land C130s and C17s on this strip.
The next MAFEX is expected to be on Mov 17th. Anyone thinking of attending had best check the weather forcast for snow (yes snow) or rain. It will be beneath freezing at night.

Not shown because I got there too late are the cargo drops. Here is the deal with MAFEX. You may find a NOTAM for Nellis regarding the event. However, the aircraft often show up to the range from their home base rather than leave from Nellis. Thus events start sooner than the notam indicates.

There are two smoky sam sites in the general area. One is close to the Keno strip. I've collected dozens of the spent rockets, giving away most.

Clicking on the second link, radar site B is Bald Mountain.
I don't know about the security post. Nobody drives to Bald Mountain. They get a helicopter ride. The security post could be a wildlife guzzler.
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point spotter2 10/27/10 1:50 AM
Gariac, thank you very much.
I greatly appreciate your information, I had some doubts about some placemarks,
you've really helped clear it up.
Actually, I put some of the placemarks just so people wouldn't keep misidentifying things as "underground tunnels" and so on.

About the H-radar site, I had a feeling it was mostly for Red Flag,
since it isn't located in a good position to cover the base area.
But I have seen activity there on a couple of occasions,
lights at night and cars parked in the lot, so I thought I'd include it.

As for the cammo dudes, I was checked out the first couple of times I went up there,
after that they left me alone, but each time I had regular visits from helicopters.
They didn't harass me, just hovered nearby every couple of hours during the night.
Probably using their FLIR to make sure I wasn't taking a hike into the area.
The old triangular bombing target, one time I saw two choppers making passes over it, there seemed to be some ground vehicles parked at the perimeter.
I got the impression they were using it to practice small arms firing at ground targets.
But of course I could be wrong.
The guard shack by Mt. Baldy, I think they have a bathroom in there, and probably a cute little microwave for a hot lunch.
Seriously, I got the impression they take shelter in there when the roads are flooding, and rely on their remote toys for a while.
I should mention that there are several small areas around there that they use for testing or disposal of small explosives, and pyrotechnical things like flares and explosive bolts.
Right next to the "Waste Pit" is the firing range, you can see the targets placed at varying distances.
Notice they do a lot of practicing at long range!

Your pictures of the cameras on Mt Baldy are fascinating.
I suspect they have another set mounted on the smaller radome,
covering the flanks of the mountain to the north and west.
I particularly want to thank you for the info on the radials and localizers,
it's not my specialty at all, right now a friend of mine is going nuts over your information and photos!
I can recommend the area during Red Flag, if the weather is nice.
If you hike a half mile up to the shoulder of the mountain, turn left for a half mile to the summit there, you have a great view during parts of Red Flag.

Now this is kind of important.
I realized there are a few more placemarks I should have included,
Before somebody reading this thinks this thread is an invitation to try getting onto the base.

DON'T TRY IT!!!!!!!
Here is the location of the northeast boundry to Groom Lake,
At the very least you would be in for a very unpleasant detainment and questioning.
At the worst, you could be charged with multiple serious crimes.
I've marked one place where they have blocked the road with boulders at the boundry line,
you can see two SUV's parked, blocking the road.
There is also a remote controlled surveillance camera at that location.
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point gariac 10/27/10 7:04 PM
If you park near the border, especially that border near back gate road, the dudes will observe you. It is a particularly bad spot for them because you can't be seen by the cameras on Bald Mountain. There is at least one remote camera that views the road you indicated. That valley does get some Red Flag action. The locals use two different spots. One is Bill's hill, the road east of your road. Then further east there is Dave's hill. Dave's has the cross on it. Dave's ashes were sprinkled on that hill. I'm not sure if Bill's ashes were sprinkled there or on Tikaboo. Personally, I like Coyote Summit for watching the Red Flag aircraft. Not the true sumimit, but across the highway there is a parking spot. From there you hike the nearby hill.

Back to Bald Mountain, I have mapped the view shed using SPLAT-HD! I had to estimate the height of the camera, but this overlay is good as a starting point.

As you drive along the Back Gate Road (Valley Road), you can see Bald Mountain disappear. There are also some spots along the ET Highway where the baldo-cam can't see you. Since you read the page, you know that I think there are fixed cameras up there as well as that big arse movable camera. It's really hard to get a good shot of the gear. The camera on the ground near the south most border point at Bald Mountain has a camera that moves. They don't move it often.

I haven't seen the chopper in years, well except for on the ground at Basecamp.
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point gariac 10/27/10 7:24 PM

This kmz has some of the known transmitter sites around the range.

I can't find a spot to start new threads on this BBS, so let me just plop down a few more kmzs

You can hear weaspons school talk about Terrorist Canyon. I don't believe Red Flag uses it.

GSM for T-Mobile. AT&T added some towers along route 93, but there doesn't appear to be T-Mobile roaming on them. Verizon bought out one of the regional carriers in Nevada that had both GSM and CDMA. I think T-Mobile bought them, but the network indicates Cellular One. In any event, I noticed the GSM reaches pretty far into the test site. I pulled these mapps off gswworld and then converted them to overlay.
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point gariac 10/28/10 12:50 AM
This is the Microflect you can see from the Power Line Overlook.

These are the microflects on Brock Mountain located behind the Station House (or whatever they call it these days) in Tonopah.

Some comm site info:
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point spotter2 10/28/10 12:18 PM
Gariac, you won't believe this.
I'm in the middle of doing research on another highly classified location.
Nearby is an object that I'm certain is a very large, long range, telescopic camera,
it's paired with an infrared night vision, remote controlled camera on the same mount.
To give you an idea of the scale, the grey flat concrete base measures 130 by 80 feet.
It's aimed upward, towards and ahead of the camera plane.
It's mounted on a flat hill with full 360 coverage of the area, it's outside a site that I'm certain is highly classified.

By more2u at 2010-10-28

What do you think, is this the same thing you see mounted on that radome?
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point gariac 10/28/10 7:02 PM
My recollection of the dimensions of the telescope on Tikaboo is about 4ft long. I don't exactly recall how I came up with that. Anyway, I don't think you could see a telescope on google earth unless there was sub-meter resolution. Terrestrial telephotography is done under what astronomers call "poor-seeing." The short answer to viewing under "poor-seeing" is to limit the lens aperture to a range of 3 to 4 inches. Basically, the camera is hard to spot on Google Earth.

What you can resolve with optics gets tricky. For instance, you can resolve telephone poles at Groom Lake from Tikaboo, something that on the surface doesn't sound possible. But maybe all you see is a "disturbance" of sorts that is enough to register on the CCD.

All optical devices have a MTF (modulation transfer function). Essentially, the resolution is a function of the contrast. If you were resolving a pattern of parallel lines of pure black and white, then the contrast between light and dark would get smaller as the lines got closer together. Ultimately you would see a gray pattern. Note the air itself has a MTF. There is a way to combine the MTF of various items, but I don't know that off the top of my head.

So the location of the facility is often more telling than what you see on Google Earth. If it is on a hill with a view, they are remote sensing and/or communicating in some manner.

The Tonopah Test Range issues reports on ground based imagery techniques and technology. I don't have links handy, but they are on the net. One thing they discovered is that marginal increases in the altitude of the camera above the local terrain have great increases in the final resolution. You see this notion in the latest cameras around the range. They now mount cameras on what looks like a ham Rohn tower. Getting the camera high in the air means less of the surface level air will be blurring the imagery. This is far cheaper than doing signal processing. Thus I would expect whatever camera you think you see in the image to be on a tower, or on the structure of a tower. The image shown is too blurry to really tell anything. There could be a camera on the tower outside the fence or it can be used for communications.

I have no idea how you can tell there is NV from that image. Note that NV and magnification don't mix too well. More magnification means less light. Now the advantage is at night you don't have the same thermal distortion issues, so larger aperture optics, usually reflector type, is possible.

These days, it is far better to sense targets with microwaves. You can't have a camera everywhere, so secure facilities sense visitors with microwave gear and then investigate. Unless you know microwave perimeter sensors from run of the mill microwave relays, the sensor is kind of stealthy. I recall seeing the back side of Edwards south base protected by a set of such sensors.
Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point johnboyd 4/10/12 12:47 AM
I just noticed the comment about "precision radar" on the hill near Groom Lake. Those structures appear to be UAV ground control stations. There are similar ones at Creech.  Precision approach radar looks like this:

Listening to Groom Lake scanner audio, I believe landings from the north are not flying along the route where you thought you found a marker beacon. Rather, if they need a 14 landing using instrumentation, they fly IFR to 32, but then loop around and do a visual to 14.

Re: Groom Lake flight pattern and observation point marjeune 6/3/12 9:23 PM
You know there is something going on there that they do not want the average person to see why else have they closed off freedom ridge like they have, cause they don't want us the american people to see what is going down...and I guarentee you that those platforms are used for Extra-Terrestrial is no doubt where exchange between the governments and them take place, makes sense sparsley populated, heavy military activity, other countries governments who are part of NATO or Global Community are no doubt in the know about Area 51 and those platforms between Area13 and S2 they don't need to stand on mountains to see what is going on.