Click on the links below for maps showing the routes of Janet flights between Las Vegas McCarran (LAS) and Area 51 and TTR. Scroll down for more information on the routes and the fixes.
Notes: The maps are quite large. To see full detail you may need to disable automatic image resizing of your web browser. Download with a dialup connection may take a few minutes.
The coordinates of the no-fly zone (even for military aircraft) around Area 51, also known as "the Box" or "the Container" are:
|NW Corner||37-28-00N / 116-00-03W|
|NE Corner||37-28-00N / 115-35-03W|
|SE Corner||37-06-00N / 115-35-03W|
|SW Corner||37-06-00N / 116-00-03W|
Route: LAS -> Groom
|Filed Flight Plan||FIDOE SHOWW BTY060030|
|Normal Route||LAS - FIDOE - MCY - Pyramid - Visual Approach Groom Rwy.32|
|Keyhole (Direct)||LAS - FIDOE - MCY (Planet) - TEDDY - Visual Approach Groom Rwy.32|
|Red Flag||LAS - FIDOE - MCY (Planet) - ABBIE - Visual Approach Groom Rwy.32|
|ILS Yankee Appr.||LAS - FIDOE - MCY (Planet) - SMOKY - ILS Rwy.32|
Route: Groom -> LAS
|Filed Flight Plan||BTY060030 SHOWW FIDOE BLD260033 BLD|
|Normal Route||Groom Departure Rwy.14 - Pyramid - MCY (Planet) - FIDOE - LAS|
|Keyhole (Direct)||Groom Departure Rwy.14 - TEDDY - MCY (Planet) - FIDOE - LAS|
|Red Flag||Groom Departure Rwy.14 - ABBIE - MCY (Planet) - FIDOE - LAS|
Groom typically uses Rwy 32 for arriving Janet 737's, and Rwy 14 for departures. The smaller Beechliners often use the shorter Rwy 30 for arrival and Rwy 12 for departure. The old Rwy 14R/32L is no longer used. Rwy 32 is equipped with an ILS.
Flights to and from Groom do not follow the filed flight plan. They enter the restricted area over Mercury as filed, apparently in an effort to conceal the fact that they are going to Groom instead of TTR, as filed. But from Mercury, where they are handled by Groom Control on an unpublished frequency and under a different call sign, they take different routes, depending on activity within the Ranges:
The normal route goes north from Mercury to a fix referred to as "Pyramid", and from there north-east, across the NW corner of the 60's Ranges, to the Groom Approach to Rwy 32.
During Red Flag, when the 60's Ranges are used for live bombing and air-air combat, Janets circumnavigate the bombing ranges via the ABBIE fix in the northern part of the NTS, near the SW corner of the Groom airspace. The route goes north from Mercury, then east at ABBIE for the approach to Groom.
During public events at the NTS (NTS tour, media day etc., referred to as "Keyhole" condition) the TEDDY fix in the southern part of Range 64A is used. This way the Janets do not fly over the NTS, where they could easily be identified by visitors as being in approach to an air field that officially does not exist. This more direct route is also often used as a shortcut, when the Ranges are cold, especially in the early mornings and evenings.
For an ILS approach to Rwy 32, also referred to as "ILS Yankee Approach", a routing via the SMOKY fix is used. This fix is believed to be in line with the Groom runway 32, approximately 16 miles out. Janets intercept the 3 degree glide slope here from 11,000ft AMSL to the Groom runway at 4,500 AMSL.
In the early mornings and late evenings, sometimes a more direct route is used. It leads from the FIDOE fix via Indian Springs and the SMOKY fix into Groom. This route leads right across the bombing ranges 64 and 65. It is only available if the ranges are "cold" (no exercise activity scheduled in the ranges).
Inbound Janets are typically handed off to Groom Control before they reach MCY, while they are still in open airspace. At that time they change their callsign from Janet to the Groom "callsign of the day" (see Janet Flight Schedule). The handoff to Groom tower is usually near the fix used for the routing between MCY and Groom. Outbound flights are handled similar, in reverse order.
Route: LAS -> TTR
|Filed Flight Plan||MCCRN3 BTY J92 LIDAT TPH206010 TPH|
|Normal Route||LAS - BLD260033 - FUZZY - BTY - LIDAT - TPH206010 - TPH - TTR Approach Rwy.14|
|Direct||LAS SHOWW TNX ("direct, SHOWW, direct")|
Route: TTR -> LAS
|Filed Flight Plan||TPH TPH206010 LIDAT J92 BTY FUZZY6|
|Normal Route||TTR Departure Rwy.32 - TPH - TPH206010 - LIDAT - BTY - FUZZY - BLD260033 - LAS|
|Direct||TNX SHOWW LAS ("direct, SHOWW, direct")|
TTR typically uses Rwy 14 for arriving Janets, and Rwy 32 for departures. Rwy 14 is equipped with an ILS.
Flights to and from TTR normally stay outside the restricted area and follow Hwy 95 to Tonopah on the same route used by other commercial traffic. Sometimes, when the ranges are "cold" (inactive), a direct route across the 70's Ranges, the ECR and the NTS is approved upon pilot's request.
Note: Depending on winds, traffic, time of day and other factors, LAS uses different approach and departure patterns. For clarity, these are not shown in the routes above.
ABBIE - Fix near 37-06-17N / 115-59-32W. Used during Red Flag and other exercises to divert Janets around Range 65A in the north. North-west of Pyramid; Heading 350 from Planet.
BLD - BOULDER CITY VORTAC at 35-59-44.825N / 114-51-48.851W
BLD260033 - Fix at 36-01-10.9N / 115-32-31.7W
BTY - BEATTY VORTAC at 36-48-02.102N / 116-44-51.528W
BTY060030 - Fix at 36-56-32.0N / 116-08-55.3W
DIRECT - Fix believed to be at or near Creech AFB. Sometimes used as a shortcut to SMOKY for Groom inbound Janets when Range 64 and 65 are "cold".
DOGGIE - Same as FIDOE
FIDOE - (=LAS290020) Fix at 36-15-34.9N / 115-30-23.8W
FUZZY - Fix at 36-12-02.070N / 115-54-01.010W. Used for various approach patterns to LAS.
Groom VOR - Area 51 VOR at 37-14-33.1N / 115-47-33.2W. VHF beacon on 117.500 MHz, identifier "MCY". Not to be confused with the Mercury NDB in the MF band.
HOMEY - Area 51 air field (Groom VOR) at 37-14-33.1N / 115-47-33.2W.
LAS - LAS VEGAS VORTAC at 36-04-46.929N / 115-09-35.273W
LIDAT - Fix at 37-25-48.670N / 117-16-41.000W
MCY - Mercury NDB at 36-37-38.838N / 116-01-39.114W. This MF beacon on 326 kHz is not to be confused with the Groom VOR with the same morse code identifier.
Outer Marker - Groom ILS outer marker beacon for Rwy 32 ILS approach at 37-10-25N / 115-46-01W. Approx. 3.5 miles from touchdown end of runway. Also used as Final Approach Fix (FAF)?
PLANET - MCY NDB. This name is used in all radio traffic instead of "MCY". Most common entry/exit point to R4808N. From here on in, Janets are handled by Groom Control on an unpublished VHF frequency and under a different call sign.
PYD - Unpublished MF beacon on 414 kHz. Can be heard from parts of Hwy. 375, and from Tikaboo. It is believed to be located in Emigrant Valley, NW, west or SW of Area 51. Because of the similar name it has been speculated to be in the same location as the Pyramid fix below. But other than the similar name there is no evidence to support that. May also be located at or near the ILS Rwy.32 outer marker.
Pyramid - Fix believed to be near 36-57-45N / 115-58-25W. Used for Groom approach and departure, as route fix between Groom and MCY. Located near the western border of Range 64A/64B; probably in the vicinity of the Yucca Airstrip.
SHOWW - (=LAS294052) Fix near MCY, at 36-35-40.9N / 116-01-25.6W
SMOKY - Fix believed to be near 36-58-41N / 115-39-17W, SE of TEDDY. Believed to be the 143 radial of HOMEY, 18 miles out. Used by Janets going "direct" as fix for ILS approach to Rwy 32 ("ILS Yankee" approach). Probably in line with Rwy 32. Inbound Janets pass SMOKY at or above 11,000ft (AMSL).
STAGE - Same as SHOWW. First heard during Red Flag 1/17/06: "inbound at 14,000 via STAGE, ABBIE", "inbound STAGE, 345"
TEDDY - Fix in eastern section of Range 64A, used for direct route from MCY. Believed to be near 37-0-52N / 115-46-48W. Passed by inbound Janets at FL 100 (10,000ft AMSL). Used as direction fix while "Keyhole" is in effect. Also used as fix for holding pattern: Holding area SE of TEDDY, near SMOKY.
TPH - Tonopah airport VORTAC at Lat/Long: 38-01-50.364N / 117-02-00.666W
TPH206010 - Fix at 37-54-08.7N / 117-10-05.3W
TNX - TTR VOR at 37-47-25.7N / 116-46-45.6W
XSD - Unpublished MF beacon on 278 kHz, near TTR. It was marked on older sectional charts at the location of the ILS Rwy.14 outer marker.