posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 08:09 AM
I do realise that this thread is largely redundant now as runway 14R/32L at Groom Lake is now not used, but I am sick and tired of seeing it described
as the longest runway in the world which is simply not true.
The most important point is deciding from which two points to measure between, ie. whether to include the poor quality asphalt run-off or the old
Here are the measurments I have made on Google Earth:
- Remaining active length before closure - 6,600 ft
- Total runway length including cosed sections - 12,400 ft
- Total concrete strip length - 24,100 ft
The runway is now totally closed and all traffic uses 14L/32R, yet before its closure its length changed many times.
Runway 14R/32L was built in 1960 for the A-12 project, replacing an older runway used by the U-2s as it wasnt strong enough to hold up the weight of a
blackbird. Its original length was 8,500 ft plus a 10,000 ft run-off. In the Mid-1980s the runway was extended from its south end as the lake bed end
became flooded during the wet months, its total length was 13,530 ft plus the 10,000 ft run-off. As the new runway was completed, runway 14R/32L was
slowly closed. In 1991 the northerly end was closed clipping it to a length of approximately 10,000 ft, the run-off was also closed. Eventually the
runway was totally closed at an unknown date. These figures were gained from Peter W. Merlins history of Groom lake.
So between the mid-80s and 91 when the runway was at its longest it was between 12,400 and 13,500 ft long. So how long is that? Lets compare it to
some other well known runways:
- Denver Intl. - 16,000 ft
- Edwards AF Base - 15,013 ft
- Heathrow, UK - 12,801 ft
So the runway at area 51, even at its longest was still over quarter of a mile shorter than that at Edwards and almost half a mile shorter than that
at the commercial airport Denver Intl.
Conclusion: The runway at Groom Lake was not the longest in the world.
I'd quite like to know other peoples views on my measurments and any additional history they have about the runway at area 51. Hope this clears up a
few misunderstandings too.