The US Federal Aviation Administration has banned all aircraft, including emergency vehicles, from the airspace near Area 51 ahead of the ‘Storm Area 51 event’ scheduled for Friday.
Everything from news helicopters to drones to private planes and even police vehicles have been barred from the airspace in anticipation of the viral event. The US Air Force (USAF) has also sternly warned people not to waste its time and energy, or even put their lives at risk, by attempting to flout the ban.
Only aircraft “working in support of the Department of Energy (DOE) Mission are allowed to enter the TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction)” zone.
Both the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense share responsibility for the running of the secretive facility which has found itself the target of literally millions of online pranksters in recent months. The joke has even led to several arrests already.
Facebook event ‘Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us’ was initially created as a joke but went more viral than anyone could have anticipated, resulting in a visit by the FBI to the event creator’s home as well as an official warning from the USAF.
It spawned hundreds, if not thousands, of memes, much to the enjoyment of SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, who couldn’t resist but join in the revery.
Alienstock, an outdoor concert and festival that branched off from the initial storm Area 51 event, was cancelled amid concerns it too would go viral, but for all the wrong reasons, much like the oft-derided Fyre festival which would become the subject of two documentaries, such was the extent of its glaring failure and chaotic organisation.
The USAF previously told The Washington Post that Area 51 is “an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces.”
The base has been the subject of wild conspiracy theories regarding aliens for decades.