Airspace Closures For “Storm Area 51” Have Been Posted

The restrictions will keep news and tour helicopters, as well as drones, away from the Area 51 border and beyond.

byTyler Rogoway|
U.S. Homeland photo


Maybe the most aggravating and stupid online movement I have seen in a long while is "Storm Area 51." You can read about its ridiculous backstory here, but even the guy that inadvertently started it and the website that promoted it is now warning potential 'stormers' that they shouldn't go, as doing so puts themselves and the local populous in the tiny little community of Rachel, Nevada in danger. They even liken it to being "Fyrefest 2.0." The military and law enforcement have taken the event seriously, although just how prepared the locales that are at the focus of the ordeal are for a possible human invasion remains very much in question. Regardless, temporary flight restrictions have been posted in advance of next weekend in two key locations. 

You can see my comments on the unfortunate and bizarre event below. I take a very dim view of those that are taking part in this and of the people who have actively been promoting it or even monetizing it. Once again, there is zero proof that anything having to do with aliens or UFOs have any relation to Area 51.  

As for the TFRs, one of them will exist along the northwest edge of 'the box' of restricted airspace and land that surrounds Area 51. Its northern edge butts up close to Rachel, Nevada, home of the famous Little A'Le'Inn motel and restaurant. It was here that the core 'Alienstock' event was supposed to be held, but preparations for that event, which was slated to draw thousands, appeared to disintegrate last week. At least that was what was being reported. Now Alienstock is being held in Las Vegas and the planners are threatening legal action against the Little A'Le'Inn for continuing to use the event's name. In fact, according to some reports, the Little A'Le'Inn is still planning to hold some form of the event. 

This is one of just a number of structured events surrounding Strom Area 51. The reality is that the border of Area 51 and the famous main gate that leads to the clandestine base is located literally in the middle of nowhere. There are no services to support large groups of people. There isn't even fuel to gas your car up with. The closest gas station is 50 miles to the south. 

The idea that thousands, or even tens of thousands, could descend onto Rachel ill-prepared to sustain themselves is a disaster in the making, especially for the tiny population that lives out there, primarily to be left alone.

The TFR will be active from September 19th to the 23rd and range from the ground all the way to 18,000 feet. Only military aircraft are allowed overhead and even law enforcement and medical helicopters are subject to tight restrictions in order to enter the closed-off airspace. One can only imagine that the military will have plenty of airborne assets in place to tightly monitor the border with Area 51 in this area. The base already has a cadre of resident HH-60 Pave Hawks that run security operations over the base's sprawling territory and beyond.


The other TFR that has been posted is to the south, along the southern reach of the Nevada Test And Training Range where primary access to the Department Of Energy's Nevada Test Site, now known as the Nevada National Security Site, is located. It was just last week that a pair of Dutch Youtubers were arrested for trespassing beyond the site's perimeter. Another deeper incursion into the area last January ended with the driver being shot dead. 

The powers that be likely see this area, which is far closer to Las Vegas, as one where there is a high likelihood that 'stormers' will gather and potentially try to move into restricted territory. Beyond that, I am not aware of any events going on in this area related to Storm Area 51, but there very well could be. It's also worth noting that this restriction is from the ground up to 7,000 feet. Airliners do skirt this area when approaching and leaving Las Vegas, so that makes some sense. 


One can imagine how this whole ridiculous thing has become a security and planning nightmare for the military, local law enforcement, and the county governments that are supposed to stay ahead of and deal with this kind of thing. Because of its largely nebulous nature, even getting an idea of how many people will actually show up has to be a fool's errand for military intelligence personnel that are tasked with keeping an eye on and helping with security preparations for this event. 

Finlay McWalter/wikicommons

The TFRs also make sense as having news helicopters and helicopter tour companies from Las Vegas active over these areas would complicate aerial surveillance substantially and just add to the level of promotion and commotion surrounding the event. The news helicopters also have very long-lens videography equipment that isn't exactly welcome near Area 51. Drones are the other issue. The TFR closes the airspace to them as well, and one can only imagine how many of them would clutter up the sky if indeed thousands show up out there. Some of those drones would also likely cross the border. With this in mind, we may see some serious counter-UAS capabilities in the area for this event. 

When people say Rachel is tiny, it's hard to convey just how tiny. This image shows the community minus a few outlying ranch facilities. , Google Earth

What this all boils down to is how many people will actually show up? Maybe it will just be hundreds of people. But that still is a major issue for the surrounding communities. If thousands do show up, it will likely be a disaster and the area will be trashed after revelers depart on fumes. 

Whatever the case, we will know just how big of a storm Storm Area 51 causes when it all goes down next weekend.

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