Jul 28, 2018 I Nick Redfern

Helicopters of the (Almost) Silent Kind

Tales of what have infamously become known as “black helicopters” abound in the field of conspiracy-theorizing. Two of the biggest questions surrounding the phenomenon are: (a) who has the technology and power to fly such craft; and (b) from where do they operate? There are good reasons to believe that at least a part of the phenomenon had its origins at none other than Area 51 - the world's most well-known "secret base." Even elements of the government are puzzled by the controversy. Indeed, thanks to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, more than a few files have surface that are focused on these mysterious craft.

Official documentation on the encounters has surfaced from the Air Force, the FBI, and the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). One particular document, titled Suspicious Unknown Air Activity, provides the following: "Since 28 Oct 75 numerous reports of suspicious objects have been received at the NORAD CC. Reliable military personnel at Loring AFB Maine, Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan, Malmstrom AFB, MT, Minot AFB, ND, and Canadian forces station Falconbridge, Ontario Canada have visually sighted suspicious objects. Objects at Loring and Wurtsmith were characterized to be helicopters [italics mine]. Missile site personnel, security alert teams and air defense personnel at Malmstrom, Montana report an object which sounded like a jet. FAA advised there were no jet aircraft in the vicinity. Malmstrom search and height finder radars carried the object between 9500 ft. and 15,000 ft. at a speed of seven knots.”

Of particular note is Unidentified Helicopter Sighted at Low Level Over Loring AFB, a file that adds further weight to the theory that there had been major, serious invasions of secure facilities – facilities that appeared to be not so secure, after all. Consider the following: "On 28 Oct 75, Lewis…advised that the a/c [aircraft] was first observed by Clifton W. Blakeslee, Sgt. [deleted] and William J. Long, SSgt., both assigned to the 42 SPS, who were on duty at the storage area. The initial sighting took place at approximately 1345. The a/c was observed approximately 1,000 meters north of LAFB. The a/c was subsequently observed by Lewis and others intermittently for the next hour and a half. Subsequent to the sighting by Long and Blakeslee, the a/c did not come nearer to the northern perimeter of LAFB than approximately 3 miles. Lewis observed a flashing white strobe light and red navigation lights on the a/c. The operator of the a/c either turned the lights off periodically or the a/c flew below a point from which the lights could be observed. The a/c disappeared from view and did not reappear. A search of the vicinity of the northern perimeter of LAFB by 42 SPS personnel met with negative results."

In 1995, the U.S. magazine, Aviation Week and Space Technology, published an article (Vol. 142, No. 6) which, in part, stated that, “…the U.S. military has been working for years on at least two helicopter projects. The more recent is [the] development of a light, very quiet helicopter [italics mine] with a mast-mounted sight.”

One of those who had uncovered certain, classified data on this particular Nevada-based program was a conspiracy-theorist named Jim Keith, who died in 1999. The issue of the silent helicopters was one which particularly intrigued Keith. After all, helicopters are known for their deep, thump-thump sound. So, to encounter a helicopter that is near-silent – or, perhaps, even completely silent – would be amazing, indeed. In pursuing the tales of the silent copters, Keith found himself repeatedly pointed in the direction of Nevada. By now, you know the specific stretch of Nevada.

In February of 1995, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper ran an article titled “Ex-Worker Describes Stealth Copter.” It was written by a journalist named Susan Greene. Commenting on all of this, Keith said: “According to statements of a former worker at Groom Lake Air Force Base, a black budget stealth helicopter was being tested at this facility as early as 1990. The code name for the helicopter was ‘T.E.K,’ which stood for ‘Test and Evaluation Project K.’”

Keith continued as follows: “The former worker at Groom Lake reported that the chopper was olive drab, riveted, and angular, with gull wing doors. An account in the Vegas paper quotes experts as saying, ‘Light, quiet and stealthy helicopters could be used for clandestine ‘Rambo-type missions,’ quick-in, quick-out assignments without being noticed.”

Of course, the mysterious helicopters were seen long before the 1990s; something which suggests the programs operating out of Groom Lake have been going on for decades - and not just since the 1990s.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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