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1945 [Area 51] AAF Aeronautical Chart, Mt. Whitney
1945 [Area 51] AAF Aeronautical Chart, Mt. Whitney
Load image into Gallery viewer, 1945 [Area 51] AAF Aeronautical Chart, Mt. Whitney
Load image into Gallery viewer, 1945 [Area 51] AAF Aeronautical Chart, Mt. Whitney

1945 [Area 51] AAF Aeronautical Chart, Mt. Whitney

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By:  U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey

Date: 1945 (dated) Washington D. C.

Dimensions:  22 x 28 inches (56 x 71 cm)

WWII era Army Air Field (AAF) Aeronautical Chart showing a large area that would soon become Area 51, identified as a DANGER AREA. Though not officially established until 1955, the origins of Area 51 as a secretive military test site for experimental aircraft and weapons systems can be traced to the 1940s. 

This aeronautical chart spans from Lake Tahoe and Fresno, California to Lake Mead and Ely Nevada, to include the cities of Las Vegas and Sacramento. Aeronautical symbols are layered over a topographical map that is colored by altitude with dark brown signifying the highest points and dark green the lowest as noted in Death Valley with a indicated elevation of -275 ft. Many of the symbols seen throughout this map include airspace classifications, varying airfield types and runway lengths and radio range courses. Mount Whitney, the highest peak in this map and California, and to which this map is titled appears at bottom just left of center with its elevation 14,495 ft noted in black numbers over a white background.

Area 51: A Nexus of Experimental Aircraft Testing and UFO Speculation

Area 51, would be built alongside Groom Lake, which appears on the map as a dry lake, just south of a mine at the base of Bald Mountain within a large region marked DANGER AREA. The primary facility leading into this region is the Indian Springs military base which is noted on this map by a solid circle inside another circle with a star on top. The marking identify Indian Springs as a military base with a runway over 6,500 ft and a rotating beacon.

At the time of publication the United States tested captured German and Japanese aircraft around Groom Lake to understand their capabilities and technology. Just two years after the publication of this map, an alleged crash of an unidentified flying object (UFO) would occur near Roswell, New Mexico. The United States Army initially reported that a "flying disk" had been recovered, but later stated that it was a weather balloon.

While there's no direct connection between the Roswell incident and Area 51, the secrecy surrounding Area 51, coupled with its role in testing experimental aircraft during the Cold War, has fueled speculation and conspiracy theories about UFOs and extraterrestrial technology being housed or studied there. While official government statements consistently deny any such association, AREA 51 will forever be synonymous with governmental secrecy surrounding the subject of extraterrestrial life and UFOs.

Aeronautical Explanation

The verso features several keys and indexes as well as a map of the world on the Mercator projection divided by numbers for all other maps issued by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey

NOTE: The image of the verso may not be of this map but is representative of what the verso shows.

Condition: Map is in B+ condition, issued folded now flat with some faint toning to some folds. Colors are vivid and margins are full on all sides.

Inventory #12727

1200 W. 35th Street #425 Chicago, IL 60609 | P: (312) 496 - 3622

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