Top Secret Tombs: The Classified Stealth Aircraft Burial Grounds of Area 51

Mystery Aircraft Graves at Area 51

Strong evidence also suggests that a number of as yet unacknowledged aircraft lie buried near the dry lake at Area 51. One former Groom Lake employee, speaking in 2001 on condition of anonymity, said he witnessed an earth-mover spend a day excavating a burial site in 1982.

He said the wreck of a top secret aircraft had been stored for months in the ‘Scoot-N-Hide’ shed, a hangar near the taxiway designed to swiftly hide planes from orbiting satellites. According to the witness: “They put it on a flatbed truck and put it in a hangar. Then one day they scraped it off the flatbed into the hole and buried it,” he said. “They attached a cable to the aircraft and just pulled it off. The thing was shattered like an egg.”

Dyson’s Dock and the Ones that Got Away

hangar-18-groom-lake (Image: Google Earth)

In addition to burial sites, there’s another top secret facility at Groom Lake for mothballed projects. Known as Dyson’s Dock, it is said to be housed in the lower bay of Hangar 18 and may be a sort of classified museum, where base workers can view retired aircraft that have not been publicly unveiled. But even these individuals aren’t, it has been claimed, cleared to view every craft in the dock.

northrop-tact-blue-technology-demonstrator (Images: topbottom, U.S. Air Force, public domain)

Two technology demonstrators – Northrop Tacit Blue (above) and Boeing Bird of Prey (below) – were stored in Dyson’s Dock for several years. It’s thought that Tacit Blue was due to be buried at Groom, only to be saved through the efforts of those involved in its design and testing more than a decade prior. Both former black projects are now on display at the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, Ohio.

boeing-bird-of-prey-technology-demonstrator (Image: U.S. Federal Government via Dreamland Resort)

But what else sits quietly in Dyson’s Dock, or lies buried in the earth? The answer is that we really don’t know, and those who do aren’t talking. There are some tantalising clues, from rumoured projects to credible yet unconfirmed sightings of mystery aircraft.

Mystery Aircraft

In August 1989 engineer Chris Gibson, a trained aircraft recognition expert with the Royal Observer Corps, witnessed a mysterious, highly swept triangle-shaped aircraft while working on the oil rig GSF Galveston Key in the North Sea. The aircraft was accompanied by two F-111 bombers and appeared to be refueling from a KC-135 Stratotanker in an area of sky designated for such activity.

x-24b-fdl-5 (Images: USAF (via Stratosphere Models); NASA; public domain)

In 2012, the identity of Gibson’s ‘North Sea sighting’ remains a mystery, although the aircraft’s plan-form was strikingly similar to that of a lifting body, such as the X-24B, and the results of research carried out by the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory (FDL-5 mock-up above left). Interestingly, a follow-on project called the X-24C was floated in the 1970s, but later cancelled. Some say it may have continued as a black project. Others dispute this idea.

b-70-valkyrie-blackstar (Images: NASA, public domain; inset: Aviation Week via Wikipedia)

Meanwhile, a 2006 Aviation Week article drew attention to a rumoured spaceplane project called Blackstar. The two-stage-to-orbit system allegedly included a ‘mothership’ called the SR-3 and a smaller spaceplane dubbed the XOV (Experimental Orbital Vehicle). The SR-3 was said to resemble the cancelled 1960s North American XB-70 Valkyrie, with sightings of a similar aircraft throughout the 1990s. A craft fitting the description of the XOV was also spotted by personnel at Kadena AFB on Okinawa following an apparent emergency landing. The project was supposedly mothballed around 2006, with Dyson’s Dock its likely resting place. Critics, however, dispute these claims.


c-5-galaxy-transport-aircraft (Images: Google Earth; USAF, public domain)

There have been many strange sightings over the years of mystery aircraft both in the U.S. and abroad. One compelling incident took place in 1994 at the secretive Boscombe Down airfield in the UK. The event was said to involve a top secret U.S. aircraft that was forced to abort takeoff due to a nose wheel failure. Amid tight security, the mystery plane, half covered by a tarpaulin in a bid to mask its shape, was loaded onto a C-5 Galaxy and transported back to the U.S. – reportedly bound for Plant 42 at Palmdale, where many classified projects have originated from over the years.

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