Just curiosity, but in case of a real life-threatening emergency (where you can't fly to closest airport or strip), would they (Air Force, military or whoever) allow the plane to land on the Area 51 airstrip? Have there been any occurrences that we know of?

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    $\begingroup$ They absolutely will not allow you to land there, regardless of the emergency. I didn't post this as an answer, because I can't find (and I don't think there is) any formal procedure about this. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ By the way if you are close enough to Groom Lake that it is your only viable landing site, you've already probably busted the no-fly airspace around that area and the cause of your emergency may very well be related to your proximity to it. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ You can absolutely land in Area 51, as long as your aircraft has a circular wing. $\endgroup$
    – Therac
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 19:50
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    $\begingroup$ No you 'could' in theory land at Homey AFB during an emergency, but you would be in very deep trouble for violating restricted airspace, trespass on a classified military installation, etc thereafter. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 23:49
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    $\begingroup$ Having flown around the area a number of times, I can say that there are a lot of places outside the restricted area that would be easier to reach in case of emergency - several airports, dry lakes, straight sections of traffic-free highway... $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


R-4808, the restricted area around Groom Lake, NV, is restricted at all altitudes. It is also surrounded on multiple sides by other restricted spaces and MOAs.

No routes, low-altitude or high-altitude, go through the area. No one has any business being near there to begin with, so no one will have any emergencies in the area.


Assuming a hypothetical situation where you have lost all controls and engines and your driftdown will bring you smack in the middle of Area 51.

I would imagine you would be very soon flying next to America's finest and if you are something like a Cessna 152 they would probably allow you to land.

Your chances of leaving ... now thats another story!

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    $\begingroup$ There is no way a C152 can end up within gliding distance of "Area 51". The entire area is Restricted or MOA for at least 40 miles in every direction. There is always a more suitable airport, no matter where the plane is (unless it is a deliberate and malicious attempt to get to Area 51) $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ @abelenky and even if there's no airport within range, there are plenty of flat open spaces large enough to land a C152, from dry lake beds to reasonably flat terraces. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 5:23

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