Amazing Places

This Secret Airline Flies Nonstop to Area 51 Every Day

If you're anywhere near Area 51, you shouldn't be peering into the sky searching for UFOs. Nah, don't waste your time with that hullabaloo. Instead, look for a flying object you might actually have a good chance at spotting: a Janet jet. Let us introduce you to the airline that flies nonstop to the shadowy compound every single day.

Shhhhhhh

Area 51, more formally known as "Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center," is a highly classified government location in southern Nevada that, according to files released by the FBI, dates back to 1955. The reason you're familiar with it is that many say that after a UFO crashed nearby in Roswell, New Mexico, it was the secret site of alien research (and maybe still is). That wild theory aside, the U.S. government acknowledged it's a real place in 2013 — although not as a facility for E.T. testing, but as a facility for the government's spy-plane program.

Have You Met Janet?

Multiple times a day, a small fleet of 737s fly in and out of a restricted terminal (the "Gold Coast") of the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. These planes, which only display a registration number and a single red stripe on a white fuselage, are known as "Janet" jets. The airline isn't named "Janet," nor are the planes actually called "Janet." Rather, some aviation nerds once put the pieces together that "Janet" is the callsign given to these jets when they're flying in civilian airspace. Once Janet enters special use airspace, however, the jets change frequencies and get entirely different names. This is, as Jalopnik describes, the "most restricted airspace on Earth," after all.

There are six Janet jets that you can see taking off and landing in McCarran's "Gold Coast" terminal (it's situated right next to some parking lots), but you'll likely never be in one. The planes set off for many of the sites inside the secretive Nellis Air Force Range, which includes the Nevada National Security Site, previously known as the Nevada Test Site. Smack-dab in the middle of that patch of land is Area 51. It's here that the U.S. has tested more than 900 nuclear weapons (you can see craters in photos as evidence). Also within this area are a slew of government facilities in some way related to testing secret advanced aircraft and providing air combat training.

E.T. Need Not Apply

And that's about as much as anyone can really know. If you're an aviation enthusiast looking for work, however, maybe you could get aboard one of these mysterious jets one day. In January 2018, there was a job posting for a flight attendant aboard a Janet jet. How could you not be intrigued with requirements like this?: "must be level-headed and clear thinking while handling unusual incidents and situations (severe weather conditions, including turbulence, delays due to weather or mechanicals, hijackings or bomb threats)."There's just one more important prereq for the job: "Active Top Secret Clearance Highly Desired."

Still curious about this secret site? Check out "Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base" by journalist, bestselling author, and 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen. The audiobook is free with a trial of Audible. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Why is Area 51 Called That?

Share the knowledge!
Written by Joanie Faletto May 9, 2018

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.