reply to post by PennKen2009
I posted a photo in the original post. It has the coordinates if you want to look it up on Google Earth for yourself.
While I'm at it, I guess there might be a few people not familiar with the Helendale site or RCS in general. RCS stands for radar cross section.
Basically a RCS site determines how "big" the object will appear to radar. Helendale is the RCS used by Lockheed Martin. Northrup has a similar
facility west of Edwards AFB called Tejon Ranch. The Lockheed facility was shown in the PBS show entitled Battle of the X Planes.
Both facilities are easy to reach. You can drive right up to the gates of Helendale. I don't think they will let you in or course. There is a small
hill north east of the facility that is public land, which is where I shot the panorama in the original post. I think it is under control of the US
Forest Service rather than BLM.. I'm a bit fuzzy about that. To get close to the hill, you probably need 4wd or at least offroad tires. The soil is
very sandy in this part of the Mojave.
To view Tejon Ranch, you need to hike a mile or two, but nothing difficult. Tejon has a very large border, so you can't get very close to the
Neither facility has restricted airspace. I see planes overfly the both. I saw one plane do a few orbits over Helendale before leaving the area.
Back to RCS, as far as I don't, they don't put the actual plane on the pole. I guess more terminology is needed here. The RCS facility does a static
test. That is, the plane or model of the plane isn't moving. Operation of the plane can reduce its stealth. You move a flap and the shape changes. Or
radar reflects off the fan blades. Even the exhaust trail. So the RCS tests the basic shape. Everything else I mentioned is secondary, though
certainly important. What goes on the pylon is the pole model.
Actually, it would pay to read the Howland website regarding RCS. I see it has been updated to include stealth helicopters.
Howland used to have a photograph of the Groom Lake RCS on their website, though they never admitted they built it. It was cropped out of one of my
panoramas (with permission). Either I can't find it or they removed it.
Groom Lake can also do dynamic RCS. That is done with their Dycoms. It is probably also done with the Lincoln Las Hascom AFB N105TB aircraft.
Looking at the Howland website, I see they also do more mundane stuff like setting up microwave dishes. It is certainly a possibility that Howland
installed the new microwave dishes on Bald Mountain since I'm sure they have people with the proper clearance.