Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/14/google_earth_competition_results/

Google Earth: the black helicopters have landed

Hundreds of 'em

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 14th October 2005 15:55 GMT

Warning: Black helicoptersCompetition results It's taken our photo interpretation bureau the best part of two weeks to sift through the hundred of entries we had for our "Spot the Black Helicopter" competition - giving readers a chance to win one of our lovely Black Helicopter t-shirts.

Well, the results are in, but before announcing the winners, we thought it would be a lovely idea to have a look at some of the other entries which prove just why Google Earth will eventually provoke the complete collapse of Western civilisation. If your stuff isn't included, don't take it too hard: we had so much material that it would have taken us another month simply to knock it into shape for publication.

First stop: Devonport and Portsmouth. So many of you wrote in to recommend the Navy's facilities here that we can't possibly single out one for an award. Here's a couple of pics though to show everyone else what they're missing:

Devonport

Portsmouth

That's enough Navy, let's get down to the black helicopters. We didn't really want you to take our "spot the black helicopter" slogan literally, but we should have known better...

That distant rumbling you hear is...

... black helicopters; thousands of 'em. Tom Hobbs gets us started:

Here's an image of Boeing's Black Helicopter factory in Arizona. (Google earth search for "Mesa, Arizona", and then a local search for Boeing). At least we know where they are coming from now!

That black helicopter factory in full

More, this time in Killeen, Texas, courtesy of Neil Green. Neil counts 42 of the little blighters in this particular conspiracy:

Blacks helicopters at Killeen, Texas

Over at Edwards AFB, meanwhile, Tim has zoomed into a "whole mormon family of black helicopters":

More black helicopters at Edwards AFB

More - Camp Lejeune Marince Corps base, spotted by David L Hughes:

Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base

Russkie black helicopter alert from Jeff Gebhart:

Actual black helos at the Calgary International airport...it looks like this imagery was taken during the G8 Summit in Alberta, Canada, and the speculation I've seen is that these are Mr. Putin's along with his Antonov...

Black helicopters at Calgary

Stephen Morgan, meanwhile, has been spook-hunting in Afghanistan:

Well, you wanted black helicopters , so I thought the ideal place to start looking was where the CIA goes on holiday. As luck would have it there was one on the apron at Kabul International, and it's a big one too...

Black helicopter at Kabul airport

Rupert Roker prefers Iraq as a landing spot:

I found this whilst trying to find photos of troops in combat in Bagdad, however I thought that black helicopters near the republican guard palace were as good a find as any.

Baghdad black helicopters

Bloody hell, Iraq's packed to the gunwales with black helicopters:

Found you chums some Black Helicopters, probably belonging to the former leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. (although they might be American, it depends on how old you think this data is) This is a snap (courtesy of google) of the Rasheed "Airport" located in the Baghdad suburb of Karadah. It's currently a "coalition" base according to additional information found on GlobalSecurity.Org.

Rasheed black helicopters

Thanks to Darcrist for that. It doesn't end there, though. Donald Massyn notes:

I found this collection of black helicopters at the Basra airforce base in Iraq, which probably means they're British!! (and I though it was only the Yanks who belong to the black chopper brigade).

Basra black helicopters

Yup - it's a miracle you can go out of your house in the morning without tripping over a black helicopter. Something slightly rarer, but no less black, is the SR-71:

SR-71s in California

A lovely pair there spotted by Chris at our old favourite: Edwards AFB, California. Want more airfields? Read on...

Those magnificent men...

Let's get straight into it: US air defence capability laid bare, end of world nigh, etc, etc. Weston Lowrie offers us Stratton Air National Guard base in New York:

Stratton Air National Guard base

There's plenty more where that came from in our previous investigations. New, however, to the "Google compromised our national security" club are Egypt, thanks to Nathan Gideon with this air force base west of Nasir...

Egyptian air force base

Egyptian fighter aircraft

... and Japan, with Stephane Willaert providing a nice view of its Atsugi Air Force base:

Atsugi Air Force base

Naturally, those peskies Commies can't avoid Google's almost-all-seeing eye. Craig Gleason turned up this unnamed North Korean facility:

North Korean air base

He reckons the aircraft are prop-driven. He may be right:

North Korean aircraft

Hmmm. Lo-tech kit to be sure, and no match for our advanced defence infrastructure of which you will find plenty on the next page...

The Defence of the Realm

Yes indeed, we can all sleep sound in our beds at night safe in the knowledge that the North Korean propellor-driven aircraft menace is being monitored round-the-clock by highly-trained operatives. Chris Martin begins our spook swoop:

Please find a overly bad shot of GCHQ in Cheltenham. Other parts of Cheltenham are not this blured, so not enought detail to aid any campaign! I expect this email will be read by them.... :o)

GCHQ Cheltenham

Yes mate - they're on their way round as we speak. Probably with MI6 in tow:

MI6 HQ in London

We threw that one in to celebrate today's naming of Daniel Craig as the new James Bond. All good clean fun, of course, unlike Alan Gregson's recent discovery:

Here's a photo of the NSA headquaters at Fort Meade, Maryland. Until very recently the NSA didn't officially exist, but now it's got it's own website http://www.nsa.gov/intro.htm.

NSA headquarters

Let's face it, the only way to keep your facility off Google Earth is to bury it, as Ian Mansfield knows:

Cheyenne Mountain

Nice pic there of the Cheyenne Mountain entrance ("home of the 'Stargate' etc." as Ian puts it), but it's all a bit namby-pamby hush-hush type stuff. What about some proper toys, like chemical weapons?:

Newport Chemical weapons depot, Indiana

That's more like it - Newport chemical weapons depot in Newport, Indiana, pinpointed by Edward Stanisz.

Right, time for a breather and a look at some of the more off-the-wall results of your endeavours...

There's plenty of weird and wonderful stuff out there on Planet Earth, as Kees Huyser found:

Try entering "stadskanaal netherlands" in the search box and then zoom out: you're in the Antarctic... Stadskanaal is a small town in the province of Groningen, the Netherlands and definitely not in the Antarctic.

Stadskanaal seen from afar

An interesting feature of this picture, however, is in the top right:

But's what's this?

Looks like a giant Lego testing facility to us. Strange stuff indeed. More frozen bizarreness hot from the desk of Planet Shaun:

I'm not exactly sure if this what you were looking for but here it is nonetheless. It's a strange alien looking face on Antartica, mysterious or what? The perhaps stranger thing is it looks like an errie face even if viewed oppositely (South being North that is), just look for the direction it is facing if in doubt. Not sure if this is any intrest just thought it's a pretty strange thing that I happen to notice a while ago. Latitude: 78°39'21.08"S Longditude: 40°37'37.92"W.

Mysterious Antartctic formation

Icy simulacrum - lovely. Now try this poser set by Chris Gibson, who can offer no explanation for the strange colouration of the Bodele Depression in Chad:

The Bodele Depression in Chad

Apparently it was "once part of Lake Chad long long ago and is now one of the main sources of dust in dust storms".

Mind you, at least there are no inexplicable markings out there in Chad to fire up the conspiracy theorists. If you want to get you mojo working, check out Jason R. Gill who says: "Not exactly black helicopters, but hey, it's out in Nevada, so I figure it counts:"

Alien landing site in Nevada

That'd be your alien landing site, for certain. Or maybe here, in the centre of London, claims Jeremy Hamill-Keays:

London lasers

Jeremy warns: "If those are not alien beams, taking some unfortunate souls to God knows what, I'll eat my hat. I am sure 'they' will come up with some sort of photo artifact excuse, but too late, the news is out."

It is indeed. What's next? A surprise...

Of all the Google Earth images we received, these are perhaps the most unexpected. Not mind-blowing, but good stuff none the less. Take it away James Price, who found this plane and its shadow at lat=41.1612916081, lon=-112.442252263.

An airliner and its shadow

Here are two more, from Antoni Sawicki, this time in Warsaw and in Dublin:

Airborne airliner in Warsaw

Airliner landing in Dublin

Hats off to Freaky Clown, finally, for this F14 Tomcat in flight off the coast of North Carolina:

An F-14 in flight

We have one more plane in flight among our winners, but you'll just have to wait for that. OK, we've had our break, let's get back to the military.

Subaquatic shenanigans

Submarines, eh? They're like number 13 buses - you wait ages for one and then... Jesse Melton goes subaquatic with a whole school of the buggers:

Attached are three (3) images depicting US nuclear subs at anchor and a gigantic newer model sub in drydock along with an image of the US Naval Amphibious Base complete with a parking lot full of hovercraft. All of these images are from around the US Naval Base in Norfolk Virginia where you can find lots of pictures of aircraft carriers, subs, fighter planes, ships under construction and all manner of massively engineered death machines all courtesy of the US Taxpayer. If you can't see enough detail in the images just be patient; the real things are coming soon to a country near you.

Submarines at Norfolk, Virginia

Nuclear sub at Norfolk, Virginia

Little Creek hovercraft

Nathan Zaugg tracked down a "couple of nuke subs from Point Loma Naval station in San Diego, CA, armed with more warheads than some of the land based installations featured in your earlier stories":

Nuclear subs in San Diego

Stephane Willaert, meanwhile, crossed the water to the US base at Yokosuka, Japan:

Yokosuka submarines

While Dis found one parked up at the National Aquarium in Baltimore:

Submarine in Baltimore

Dis also sent us a fine recommendation for the The South Texas Nuclear Power Plant lake...

The South Texas Nuclear Power Plant lake

...which leads us neatly on to our obligatory section entitled...

Mama's got a brand new Nuke

Well, we couldn't really miss out the best nuke material Google has to offer, could we? Dave Hill has been out to Atomic City in Idaho:

Nuclear test site at Atomic City, Idaho

No explanation required for this from Adrian Esdaile:

Trinity

Ah, happy days. What's the US up to these days in the nuke business? Jesse Melton illuminates:

Pictured here is the Oak Ridge National Labratory Y-12 facility; built as part of the Manhattan Project during WWII, you can visit their website here http://www.y12.doe.gov/ At this facility they do all the uranium enrichment for US nuclear operations including, defense, naval and space based transportation, they are also the US storage facility for enriched uranium. Y-12 also handles the non-proliferation duties from countries such as the former Soviet Union and Libya:

Oak Ridge

But if it's hot-off-the-press nuclear facilities you want, get you laughing gear round Seabrook Nuclear Facility in New Hampshire, which has apparently just made it onto Google, according to Weston Lowrie:

Seabrook Nuclear Facility, New Hampshire

And with that it's time to announce our winners. Almost time, because we couldn't resist chucking this one into the pot. Margaret Thatcher writes:

Search for "Malvinas" on Google Earth and be prepared to spit a mouthfull of roast beef onto your Hackett shirt in astonished disgust. Something should be done. Did Colin Firth get maimed for this?

The Falklands, according to Google

By the Lord Harry she's right. Google can expect an earbashing from Jack Straw for this outrage and no mistake.

Right, enough of this madness. And the winners are...

And the winners are:

You want conspiracies? Try this, from Willy Fedrushkov:

Mystery object

According to Willy, this site north-east-ish of Valdez, Alaska, is the site of a HAARP weather-control weapon of death facility. Interestingly, the obscured area straddles the US/Canada border, so could it be that the two nations have struck an unholy alliance to bring destruction upon their enemies? Chilling stuff indeed.

Not as chilling as this, though, from Andy Mabbett, who describes it as: "Well dodgy. Need I say more?"

Vulture Central

Yes indeed, that's Vulture Central as seen from space. Or at least it was - until we moved the entire staff to an underground, surveillance-proof facility closer to the centre of London. Where? Aha...

Speaking of surveillance, Arturo Quirantes wanted to have another look at Rota US/Spanish naval base, which we previously perused:

You missed an interesting spot. It is a giant AN/FRD-10 "bullseye" antenna, also known as "elephant cage" antenna (see http://www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/classic_bullseye.htm)

Most oddly, the Rota elephant cage exists no more. Looks like the black helicopters rushed to the spot (after the Google imagery, of course) and completely removed it. That does qualify for the T-shirt prize, does it not?

Rota elephant cage

Yes it does, as does the following from the prodigious Google Mapper David Branch - a slightly less sinister example of decommissioning:

That privately-owned B-17

We've edited down David's epic explanation of how this aircraft came to be sitting in this unlikely location, but it's still worth quoting at length:

Milwaukie, Oregon - only in America can you beat a B-17 into a gas station.

Shortly after WWII a guy named Art Lacey (he had a British wife) went to Kansas to buy a surplus B-17. His idea was to fly it back to Oregon, jack it up in the air and make a gas station out of it. He paid $15,000 for it. He asked which one was his and they said take whichever you want because there were miles of them. He didn't know how to fly a 4 engine airplane so he read the manual while he taxied around by himself. They said he couldn't take off alone so he put a mannequin in the co-pilot's seat and off he went.

He flew around a bit to get the feel of it and when he went to land he realized he needed a co-pilot to lower the landing gear. He crashed and totaled his plane and another on the ground. They wrote them both off as "wind damaged" and told him to pick out another. He talked a friend into being his co-pilot and off they went.

They flew to Palm Springs where Lacey wrote a hot check for gas then they headed for Oregon. They hit a snow storm and couldn't find their way so they went down below 1,000 feet and followed the railroad tracks. His partner sat in the nose section and would yell, "TUNNEL" when he saw one and Lacey would climb over the mountain.

They landed safely, he made good the hot check he wrote, and they started getting permits to move a B-17 on the state highway. The highway department repeatedly denied his permit and fought him tooth and nail for a long time so late one Saturday night he just moved it himself. He got a $10 ticket from the police for having too wide a load.

Marvellous. The Russians, too, like parking up their old hardware for the benefit of the public, as Adrian Esdaile explains:

Poor old Russia. Once they built spaceships, now they turn them into theme-park restaurants for the Moscow kiddies to drink capitalist Coca-cola and Macburgers. Not like the old days, comrade:

Space Shuttle Buran

Here's some more kit parked up, although it's not quite as harmless - Minutemen missiles at Minot AFB, North Dakota:

Minutemen missiles parked at Minot AFB, North Dakota

Those Minutemen close up

Thanks to Tim for that eyeful of airborne death. At least the missiles appear to be turned off, which is more than you can say for the linear partical accelerator at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Matthew Landt illuminates:

This is just outside the area that was forcibly blurred by the government. The interesting part is, that if you look closely, you can see some sort of explosion or fire based exhaust on the back of one of the buildings. I put a picture of the whole Accelerator and a close up of the "explosion"

The linear partical accelerator at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Strange goings on at Los Alamos

Blimey. We do hope they know what they're doing.

Now, more strangeness:

Found this bombing range at Ft. Hood Texas. Just looked like a normal range with the guiding lines, and even a normal bullseye made with circles down the range, but when zooming in...

Fort Hood range

Fort Hood's Star of David

We do apologise that we lost the original email to which these two pics were attached - the authour should contact us using the password of the day to claim his prize.

No need for Michael Plunkett to get in touch, though. He gets the t-shirt for a visit to Norfolk, Virginia, complete with captions:

Aircraft carriers

Assault ships

Escort ships

Stephane Willaert, too, is honoured for this fine image of USS Kitty Hawk at home in Yokosuka, Japan:

USS Kitty Hawk at home in Yokosuka, Japan

And big up nautical repect also goes to Gareth for this marvellous recommendation of a RN vessel steaming out of Plymouth:

I thought you might be interested in this location: 50d 18' 09" N 4d 25' 30" W. This photo has only recently been added to Earth IIRC, so with my 5 Minutes Research I reckon it may just be HMS Gloucester. The measuring tools think it's 140 meters long, but the odds are I'm wrong...

HMS Gloucester?

Well, we're sure the readers will set us straight. No mistaking this vessel, though: the USS Cole being repaired in Pascagoula, Mississippi. You can thank David Branch for this one. He does get around that boy:

The USS Cole

OK, taking a break from the military, let's have a shufti at this from Lachlan:

NO real military importance.... But why is a shanty town in the middle of africa (19°00'11.32" 12°53'27.37" so clear...??

A village in Niger

This is a good question, to which Fergus Gallagher reckons he may have the answer:

Even though The Register reported that the White House is no longer obscured on Google Earth, I have discovered evidence that the processed used must preserve the overall entropy of the world.

Zanzibar, like most of the world, is only covered by relatively low-res imagery but there is one rectangle of hi-res, highlighting what appears to be perfectly uninteresting group of around 50 houses. I measured this area as roughly 142m by 93m which FITS VERY NICELY over the de-obscured area of the White House.

It is interesting to consider that Google Earth forced the censor to select a random area of the globe for the high-resolution treatment so that it wouldn't implode in violation of one of the basic laws of the Universe.

Zanzibar, as seen by Google

That small piece of Zanzibar in full

Amazing. As is this, from Corey Maddocks:

Did you ever notice that Denver International Airport looks sort of like a swastika?

Denver International Airport

Well, we hadn't noticed, but we get the idea. We're sure though, that even if Denver is Adolf's local airfield, he won't really mind you hanging around for bit of light planespotting. That's more than you can say for the Greeks, says Julian White:

If these were taken from the ground you be liable for a week in a smelly jail cell, ten grand fine and the rubber glove treatment despite the fact you can see far more from the photos than you ever would from the ground. Better be careful where I book my next package holiday now...

Greek air base

Well done that man. It doesn't look too friendly out there near Athens, we must say. Maybe they should get a few pointers from Moffett Field, California:

Moffett Field, California

"Well hi to you too," says David Branch (yes, we know, he really should get a job) who goes on to explain:

This is next to a WWI era blimp hanger at Moffett Field, California. Yes, the same Moffett Field where Google announced just yesterday that they were building 1,000,000 square feet of office space. They sure missed an opportunity to show off Googleearth didn't they! This wooden building is larger that an aircraft carrier and has no internal support columns:

Moffett Field, California

Very impressive. As is this, from Freaky Clown:

A U2 in flight

Yup, a U2 in flight, north of Sacramento. Brian Kalleshave, though, has it trumped with a B1-B ready for take-off at Hill AFB, Utah:

A B1-B at Hill AFB, Utah

Terrific. We'll leave the final word to Jesse Janik. After all, it wouldn't be right to end the competition on anything other than a black helicopter, would it?

In all of your articles, I have yet to see one black helicopter. And I don't just mean black as in color. How about black and in some weird location?

This heli was spotted on runways that appear too short for any normal aircraft. And what's with the runway configuration? I think we caught them when the UFOs were out and the one black chopper was grounded due to mechanical troubles. Is it no small coincedence that it looks just like the one on your T-Shirt?

The lone Arizona black helicopter

That lone black helicopter in full

Coincidence? No chance. We're heading straight down to the panic room from where we will email our eagle-eyed winners before this Arizona example of the black helicopter has a chance to get airborne.

Thanks to all those who entered the compo, and congrats to our chosen few. Keep watching the skies. ®