Why is this mystery plane flying back and forth over Area 51?

Mysteries
DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)

DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)

MYSTERY WIRE — Beginning on August 25 several Mystery Wire readers noticed a strange thing happening in the skies over southern Nevada.

People were finding mysterious flight paths on flight tracking websites showing a plane flying back and forth many times over several military bases, including Area 51.

For more than a week, the DC-3 airplane has been conducting flight paths over Nellis Air Force Base, the Nellis Test and Training Range including Area 51, the Tonopah Test Range air base, and public land over Lake Mead just East of Las Vegas.

Mystery Wire found the plane in question parked at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas the morning of September 2. The tail number/registration of the DC-3 is C-GOOU.

One site, lazygranch.com, has compiled several flights of a DC-9 over Area 51 and the surrounding area including some radio communication between the plane and air traffic controllers.

During one of the radio transmissions as the DC-9 was landing after flying around Lake Mead and Nellis Air Force Base overnight from August 31 to September 1 the pilot and tower controller have the following interaction:

Tower: “Do any mapping today OSCAR OSCAR UNIFORM?”
C-GOOU pilot: “(inaudible) some; looks like it was successful.”
Tower: “Kind of nice. But at nighttime?”
C-GOOU pilot: “Yeah we have some special guys onboard.” 

Landing scanner audio between C-GOOU and KLAS (Las Vegas) tower. (Audio: LiveATC.net via lazygranch.com)

After sunset on the night of September 2, the plane was once again in the air. This time flying tight circles over Lake Mead and then again over Nellis AFB.

When searching online for the plane’s ownership using C-GOOU, sites such as flightaware.com return no flight registration information, this is the case on several flight tracking sites.

However, on planelogger.com C-GOOU comes back as being owned by Kenn Borek Air based in Canada.

Mystery Wire called Kenn Borek Air and two employees say this plane does not belong to the company.

As seen in the photographs, the paint scheme indicates the plane belongs to White Desert Antarctica. Mystery Wire called the phone number listed on the White Desert website twice over two days and each time an automated voicemail system picked up. We left a message and have not heard back from the company.

  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)
  • DC-3 at McCarran tracked doing survey work over Area 51 (Photo: Duncan Phenix)

One employee of Kenn Borek Air said the flight paths seen on plane tracking sites showing the plane flying back and forth at an altitude around 15,000 feet usually indicate survey work.

Some private flight companies use McCarran International Airport as a base of operations to complete contract work for the Department of Defense. Sometimes that work will take those planes and helicopters into restricted airspace such as Nellis AFB or the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Mysteries Video

The Latest

More The Latest

Latest Mystery Wire News