posted on Apr, 11 2007 @ 03:38 PM
Why will this myth not die? Area 51 never had the world's longest runway.
According to Area 51 Standard Operating Procedures, Landing Area Rules, dated 1 December 1968, runway 14/32 was 8,625 feet long with a 6,000 foot
asphalt extension to a concrete turnaround pad followed by another 5,000 feet of asphalt. The asphalt overrun was not lighted, and therefore not
considered "remaining runway" during hours of darkness. That runway was built in 1960 for the A-12 OXCART program. The lakebed extension was a
safety feature to prevent loss of a high-value asset.
In the Mid-1980s the runway was extended approximately 5,000 feet on its south end because the lakebed end became flooded during the wet months, so
its total length was now about 13,625 ft plus the 11,000-foot overrun which was beginning to show the effects of age..
Runway maintenance costs began to outweigh the benefits of building a new airstrip. Construction of Runway 14L/32R began in 1991. The old airstrip
became Runway 14R/32L. As the new airstrip approached completion, the north half of Runway 14R/32L was closed, along with the lakebed extension. At
approximately 10,000 feet, the old runway was now the shortest airstrip at Area 51. Eventually it was closed altogether.
The new runway is about the same length as the main portion of the old runway, but does not have a lakebed extension.
As for the longest runway in the world, perhaps we should consider lakebed runway 17/35 at Edwards Air Force Base, with a length of 7.5 miles. It's
not paved, but it certainly is long.