The secretive airline tasked with ferrying government employees into and out of the nation’s most secretive military installation is now hiring flight attendants that can carry Top Secret clearances, potentially supporting claims that the base itself is expanding.

Although the secretive government facility in Nevada’s dry Groom Lake bed, known colloquially as Area 51, is most commonly associated with stories about flying saucers and little green men, the government has acknowledged in recent decades that it was actually the site responsible for testing some of the most advanced aircraft to ever take to the skies. The U-2, SR-71, F-117 and many others can all trace their airborne lineage back to the remote air strip deep in the Nevada desert, and recent satellite imagery has shown that the legendary base has recently seen expansion.

These side by side images of the “Area 51” facility show the recent addition of a large hangar and taxi strip. (Google Earth)

A new hanger and cleaned up airstrip on the grounds of Area 51 would seem to indicate plans to test a new large airframe – one that couldn’t be supported in the base’s existing structures, leading some to postulate that the Air Force may be gearing up to test the forthcoming B-21 Raider, a new stealth bomber platform based on the previous B-2 design. Others have wondered if the SR-72, rumored to be Mach-6 capable craft via newly developed scramjets, may also be slated to see testing at the isolated base, once a prototype is operational.

An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 government employees and military personnel work on the base each day, though if you were to set up surveillance on the nearby roads, you’d never know it. Despite the base bustling with activity, not a single car ever enters or exits the remote location – instead, every employee flies in and out of work aboard plain-looking airplanes from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.