Re: Emergency landing

Message posted by Peter Merlin on February 26, 2008 at 16:01:24 PST:

Actually, there have been a number of unauthorized landings at Groom Lake, Nevada. The pilots involved were not shot down or made to disappear.

On 28 July 1957, a civilian pilot on a cross-country training flight was detained when he made an emergency landing at the Watertown airstrip. He had become lost, ran low on fuel, and decided to land at Groom Lake. He was held at the base overnight and questioned, then released in the morning.

On 17 December 1959, an R4D-5 (a.k.a. C-47) from the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards landed on the northern end of Groom Lake during a survey of X-15 contingency landing sites. The plane departed before the arrival of Watertown security personnel.

In the mid-1960s, a flight of three F-105 Thunderchiefs, led by a British exchange was on a training sortie about 80 miles north of Nellis AFB when one aircraft experienced an oil pressure malfunction. The damaged aircraft and another, acting as escort, made a pass over Area 51 while trying to contact the base by radio. Two F-101 Voodoos intercepted the fighters and ordered them to land. The F-105 cremen were met by the Area 51 commander and escorted to an interrogation session.

According to former A-12 pilot Denny Sullivan, a civilian pilot arrived at Area 51 one night with his girlfriend after they lost their way on a flight from Reno to Las Vegas and ran low on fuel. Security guards detained and questioned the two civilians.

On one occasion, A-12 pilot Frank Murray had to remain at Area 51 over a weekend. On Saturday morning he spotted a small airplane landing on the taxiway. It turned out to be a student pilot, and ex-USAF navigator, who had become lost during a solo cross-country training flight from California. The security police checked his story and he was allowed to leave after his plane had been refueled.

In late 1977, the Lockheed crew at Area 51 was performing ground tests on HAVE BLUE at the south end of the base when a Beech Bonanza flew low over the base. Aircraft were scrambled to force the plane down so the pilot could be debriefed. A civilian pilot had gotten lost and flew beneath the clouds in an attempt to find his way again.

In Reply to: Emergency landing posted by Gabriel on February 26, 2008 at 9:28:59 PST:


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