Greatest prank ever (area 51)

A few months back the people who used to be employed at area 51 were cleared to talk about it by the government. They couldn’t discuss everything, there were still actual valuable military secrets to be kept, but in general they could discuss life there.

Shockingly, there were no aliens or anything like that. But the military actually liked all of the conspiracy theories about the place, since it distracted from the actual secret work, like on military spy planes, that they were actually doing.

So apparently at one point an SR-71, the most badass vehicle ever invented, encountered a general aviation aircraft out in the desert. This was during the testing of the aircraft long ago, so the general public wouldn’t recognize it for what it is. Apparently kept for just such an occasion, the flight crew donned gorilla masks and then flew upside down over the other aircraft.

Yep, a guy is just flying peacefully along in the desert when a gigantic futuristic aircraft flown by monkies decides to buzz him.

What is that guy supposed to say about the incident?
I don’t know who authorized this - if it was policy for the base or if some individual flight crew was having fun, but I have to commend them on how awesome that is. This is the sort of thing I’d be doing if you gave me a few billion dollars.

That reminds of a few UFO stories I’ve heard in years past. The “Ufologists” were trying to classify the different types of craft that were reported. There was the disc, the triangle, and the “cigar”.

The triangle was mostly reported out west.

A few years later the Air Force declassifies the B2. I’ve seen that thing fly above me when I lived close to Dobbins Air Force Base just north of Atlanta. It had already been declassified, but damn, seeing one of those things in flight overhead does make you think: “Wow. Did I just see that?!” It’s a spooky black triangle.

Now wonder people claimed “UFO” before it was declassified.

Wasn’t the same story told about the Bell XP-59?

The SR-71 is just freaking awesome!

I remember being out at Edwards for a shuttle landing once, and seeing one parked on the tarmac. I looked around, snuck out my camera and was about to snap off a few when an AP walked up, tapped me on the shoulder and said “There’s a better angle over there.” I blushed, he laughed and said “Guess you were around when these things were Top Secret.”

I also got to watch one shoot touch-and-gos at March AFB once. A whole bunch of us just pulled off the freeway onto the shoulder to watch. A CHP unit rolled up and watched with us. After the Blackbird departed (by sticking the nose up and hitting the afterburners) the officer just looked at us and mentioned that he was going back on duty in 3 minutes. :smiley:

You, sir, have never seen an A-10 work a column of tanks. The SR-71 is a cool airplane, but it doesn’t carry any weapons. It just goes really fast, and really high. And takes pictures.

But that’s why the SR-71 was so cool - it didn’t NEED weapons. If you’re a hostile nation and you don’t want the Blackbird to overfly your territory, what are you going to do about it? Too high, too fast, too bad for you. :smiley:

Worked across the desert from Edwards back in the 90’s on a radar.
NASA had a few SR71’s that they were flying to see if there was anything that could be done about sonic booms. There is nothing like working in an enclosed space with high voltage and suddenly it feels like a truck just ran into the place to wake you up. So yeah that is one cool airplane. Never saw an A10 hit tanks but would occasionally see them practice with live rounds at the next valley over. that was quite a sight also. If we are discussing cool planes I really liked the A6… just sayin.

Sorry to ride the SR-71 farther away from the OP, but I found 2 Blackbird anecdotes a while back that make me smile.

Brother pilots will appreciate #1

We trained for a year, flying out of Beale AFB in California , Kadena Airbase in Okinawa , and RAF Mildenhall in England . On a typical training mission, we would take off near Sacramento , refuel over Nevada, accelerate into Montana , obtain high Mach over Colorado , turn right over New Mexico , speed across the Los Angeles Basin , run up the West Coast, turn right at Seattle , then return to Beale. Total flight time: two hours and 40 minutes.

One day, high above Arizona , we were monitoring the radio traffic of all the mortal airplanes below us. First, a Cessna pilot asked the air traffic controllers to check his ground speed. ‘Ninety knots,’ ATC replied. A Bonanza soon made the same request. ‘One-twenty on the ground,’ was the reply. To our surprise, a navy F-18 came over the radio for a ground speed check. I knew exactly what he was doing. Of course, he had a ground speed indicator in his cockpit, but he wanted to let all the bug-smashers in the valley know what real speed was ‘Dusty 52, we show you at 620 on the ground,’ ATC responded.

The situation was too ripe. I heard the click of the RSO’s mike button in the rear seat. In his most innocent voice he startled the controller by asking for a ground speed check from 81,000 feet, clearly above controlled airspace. In a cool, professional voice, the controller replied, ‘Aspen xx, I show you at 1,982 knots (2282 mph) on the ground.’ We did not hear another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast.


In April 1986, following an attack on American soldiers in a Berlin disco, President Reagan ordered the bombing of Muammar Qaddafi’s terrorist camps in Libya . My duty was to fly over Libya and take photos recording the damage our F-111’s had inflicted… Qaddafi had established a ‘line of death,’ a territorial marking across the Gulf of Sidra , swearing to shoot down any intruder that crossed the boundary. On the morning of April 15, 1986 I rocketed past the line at 2,125 mph (1845kts).

I was piloting the SR-71 spy plane, the world’s fastest jet, with a Marine Major as the reconnaissance systems officer (RSO). We had crossed into Libya and were approaching our final turn over the bleak desert landscape when the RSO informed me that he was receiving missile launch signals. I quickly increased our speed, calculating the time it would take for the weapons, most likely SA-2 and SA-4 surface-to-air missiles capable of Mach 5, to reach our altitude. I estimated that we could beat the rocket-powered missiles to the turn and stayed our course, betting our lives on the plane’s performance.

After several agonizingly long seconds, we made the turn and blasted toward the Mediterranean. ‘You might want to pull it back,’ the RSO suggested. It was then that I noticed I still had the throttles full forward. The plane was flying a mile every 1.6 seconds (2250mph, 1953 knots), well above our Mach 3.2 limit. It was the fastest we would ever fly in a mission. I pulled the throttles to idle just south of Sicily, but we still overran the refueling tanker awaiting us over Gibraltar…
You have to love a plane that will coast 1,200 miles at idle and still be going too fast to meet your buddies…

Umm, one correction, I believe that story was about the XP-59 [URL=“”] , it most definitely could not be an SR-71. The SR-71 can not do aerobatics, the nearest it has been to flying upside down was a steep bank. Now it has been upside down in numerous instances, on its way to the ground…
The SR-71 had a tendency to depart controlled flight by pitching up.

You’re probably right. The person who told me the story indicated SR-71, but the news article I linked was vague.

I remember reading about the “gorilla flying an XP-59” back when I was in junior high school. Here’s a recounting of the story from a 2007 article on entitled “Dreamland”:

Your stories are from this book. It’s a strictly limited edition. Available new from Amazon for $795.00, or direct from the author for $427.00.

That’s great. Hoping for more stories from the recently unbound.

Awesome story!

Is shame in order?

Jeez…did they make the books out of SR-71s?

(Which I’ve touched part of)

No, but they use one for the delivery. Beats the pants off FedEx’s overnight shipping.

You seriously think that could be mistaken for a UFO, you know with the noise and the general wingy-shaped design thing? For real?

I suppose you have stills of it looking unmistakeably like a ufo, don’t you?

Yub Yub, Commander.

I’d imagine it would have been even funnier if a) the SR-71 could fly slow enough inverted for someone in a general aviation aircraft to see the occupants, b) SR-71s cannot fly inverted at all, and c) even if it could, the windows are extremely small, making the odds of seeing inside remote at best.

All that notwithstanding, cool story, bro.

A spooky, extremely noisy black triangle, you fail to add. Not a well-known characteristic of ufo’s, if my reading is correct.

Considering that UFOs in the sense of extraterrestrial flying objects do not exist, I’d say that it would be hard to make a comparison to what UFOs look and sound like.

And you are basing this conclusion on something you’ve read or heard, I guess? Care to list some of your bibliography on these matters, if SenorBeef doesn’t mind the slight tangent, or would you rather seek out my recent Pit thread and educate me there?