Area 51 - Black Jets
Bill Yenne
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Buy *Area 51 - Black Jets: A History of the Aircraft Developed at Groom Lake, America's Secret Aviation Base* by Bill Yenneo nline

Area 51 - Black Jets: A History of the Aircraft Developed at Groom Lake, America's Secret Aviation Base
Bill Yenne
Zenith Press
192 pages
March 2014
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Area 51 is best known as Groom Lake, where aliens under ice and government cover-ups abound. While the area known as Area 51 has long been suspect of government sleight of hand and home base to UFO Central, the reality is actually far more interesting. Yenne's book on this remote U.S. Air Force base covers the co-development testing arm of the CIA, which is also a major player at the base. From this dusty, hot and dry black hole, some of the best U.S. design and engineering projects have originated, from evaluations of early Cold War A-bomb tests to the incredible concepts from the ever-fertile mind of Clarence Kelly, airplane designer extraordinaire. This book details the history of the planes and personalities that make Area 51 a topic of such interest for aviation buffs, UFO watchers, and Cold War aficionados.

Author Bill Yenne provides an easy-to-read book that offers enough technical details to keep a novice interested while not providing fact-overload. The book covers everything from Lockheed's world-famous U-2 (the spy plane, dear readers, not the band) to the airplane that is still a benchmark for all things fast and beautiful and speaks to American engineering capability: the SR-71 Blackbird, a plane that became operational in the mid-Sixties and to this day still holds aviation records for height and speed. The book goes into early drone testing and into the testing of the F-117 Nighthawk, the famous first stealth combat aircraft. The book covers top-secret projects up to the current time period. The heavy lifting and fast air work at Groom continues to this day.

No doubt that much of the testing of these very advanced aircraft--many of them sporting other worldly looks and capabilities--is often the fuel that fires the ongoing UFO conspiracy many still believe exists at Groom Lake. Each project is given its own chapter illuminating the aircraft's development at this famed location. The book also covers another major aspect of Groom Lake, the use of its facilities and brain trust to analyze the design, manufacturing and capabilities of "acquired" Russian combat aircraft--a key factor to allow US combat aircraft to always be a step ahead.

The book is a pleasurable read. Not only does it cover the key projects that have emanated from that secretive spot in the Nevada desert, but it also gives a feeling for the post-WWll entry into the Cold War that had such a profound impact on all U.S. military planning. And even with the end of the Cold War, Groom Lake will continue to be at the core of all U.S. advanced capabilities for anything that takes to the air.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Mick Rosen, 2015

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