posted on Dec, 2 2006 @ 01:15 PM
Many of the above posts demonstrate a shocking, yet not entirely surprising ingnorance of what goes on at "Area 51."
The Groom Lake facility is a remote operating location of the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC). As a Defense Department (DoD) test and evaluation
(T&E) asset, it hosts projects from the Air Force, Army and Navy, as well as DoD contractors (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Scaled
Composites, etc.) and other government agencies.
The AFFTC detachment is a wing level organization composed of several groups, numerous squadrons and flights. Military personnel and USAF civil
servants come mainly from AFFTC at Edwards Air Force Base. There are quite a few civilian support contractors, such as EG&G, JT3 and Dyncorp.
Most of the test pilots who serve at Groom have been grauduates of the USAF Test Pilot School (TPS). Typically they serve several years in flight
testing projects before being invited into blackworld "special projects" work if they have been deemed worthy by virtue of their job performance and
leadership qualities. On rare occasions an especially promising TPS graduate goes straight into special projects.
Usually pilots are selected as needed for a specific project. After the candidate's records have been reviewed, the pilot is invited to a discrete
meeting and offered a job flying airplanes. He is generally told it is classified and he wont get any details until he agrees to take the job. It
will require travel to a remote location, sometimes for as many as five days a week, and he wont be able to tell his friends or familiy where he goes
or what he does. He has to decide immediately whether to take the job. Most pilots who receive this offer accept without hesitation.
Flight test engineers (FTEs) and instrumentation technicians are similarly selected. During the 1980s, the Groom Lake test site director used to visit
the TPS and offer jobs to promising engineers. He told them he couldn't tell them what they would be working on, but he needed their answer
immediately. According to a former FTE who was hired in 1980, the engineers always said, "Yes!"
The Groom Lake facility is a full-scale Air Force base, complete with all the attendant infrastructure. It has personnel for administrative,
maintenance, medical, security, supply and culinary functions. All personnel require a SECRET security clearance. Those involved in specific projects
have Special Access Program clearance, as well. Non-permanent base personnel commute to work on a daily basis. Permanent base personnel stay in
dormitories during the week.
Nobody applies specifically to get a job at "Area 51." They are either invited into a project or they work for a contractor that happens to be
conducting a project at the facility and end up at the base as a consequence of their work assignment.