Before crowds descend on rural Nevada for the alien-inspired festival, the FAA is locking down the heavens above.
The airspace around Area 51 in Nevada will be closed to drones and news helicopters this week in anticipation of the turnout to the “Storm Area 51″ event that started as a joke but quickly morphed into a potentially dangerous situation.
Deep in the desert, miles from the nearest gas station, hotel, or paved road, sits Area 51 – a secret military installation that has been said to house everything from the wreckage of flying saucers, to zero-energy reactors, and even the bodies of deceased extraterrestrials discovered in Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947.
None of this has been verified, mind you, as the longstanding secret air base was only officially recognized by the US government in 2013.
The intense curiosity that many have about Area 51 piqued once again when a Facebook event titled “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” went viral. When it was all said and done, the gathering, set for September 20th, attracted over 2.1 million people which encourages them to break into the restricted military area in order to “see them aliens.”advertisement - story continues below
The Air Force’s Area 51, roughly 75 miles north of Las Vegas, has served as a long-held fascination for conspiracy theorists who believe that extraterrestrial life forms are currently being kept there. While the site has a messy and complicated history, especially when it comes to nuclear weapons, it’s unlikely that the U.S. government holds aliens at Area 51.
Area 51 is just a small part of the U.S. military’s Nevada Test and Training Range, 4,687 square miles of government land.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sends unclassified notices to airmen (NOTAM) to warn pilots of potential hazards along flight routes that could jeopardize the safety of their flights. Earlier this week, the FAA issued two NOTAMs banning all aircraft from flying above the areas south and west of Rachel, Nevada, near the Nevada Test and Training Range, a military training area used by the U.S. Air Force. The bans run from Wednesday, September 18 to Monday, September 23. Anything flying up to 18,000 feet is prohibited.
The FAA says the temporary flight restrictions are for “special security reasons.” No pilots can operate aircraft in the affected areas—the exact coordinates of which are listed in the NOTAMs—except aircraft working in support of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Mission.advertisement - story continues below
If you’re thinking of heading to Area 51 this week, you should probably just forget about it. The Air Force isn’t going to tolerate anyone trying to trespass on its property, even if you think it’s just a joke.