MONDAY MAR 04, 2024
×
Search AeroXplorer
The Boneyard: Where Planes Go to Die?

The Boneyard: Where Planes Go to Die?

BY FRANCO GROBLER 12/01/2023 AGO 0 COMMENTS

Plane boneyards, also known as aircraft graveyards, are massive landscapes littered with once-mighty planes that are now mere skeletons of their past. But this process is of utmost importance to the aviation industry. 

 

Abandoned military aircraft at Davis Monthan Air Force Base | Photo: Visit Tuscon

 

Let's Dive into The History

 

We must travel back to 1946, to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, to learn about these famous boneyards. After World War II, the first official boneyard, a surplus of military aircraft, needed a resting place. More than 600 B-29 Superfortresses and 200 C-47 Skytrains were stored at Davis-Monthan. While some were preserved and sent into action during the Korean War, others unfortunately didn't have the same fate, being scraped for parts. 

 

Photo: AeroXplorer | Peter Cuthbert

 

Davis-Monthan remains one of the biggest yards, housing over 4,400 retired aircraft. Over the decades, other boneyards sprouted up in dry, remote locations, like the Mojave Air & Space Port in California and the Alice Springs Airport in Australia, each with its unique collection of aircraft.

 



ADVERTISEMENT • REMOVE ALL ADS

 

What are they Actually?

 

While they sound like a place for planes to rest and never return, they play a crucial role in the aviation industry. 

 

Storage

 

Airlines and manufacturers often store aircraft in "boneyards" when not currently used. This allows for cost-effective storage if the planes must be reintroduced into service. 

 

Abandoned aircraft in Australia | Photo: Stefan Drury

 

Parts

 

While the plane itself might not fly again, its spirit definitely will. These retired planes have still-usable parts, landing gears, engines, avionics, and many more. Technicians disassemble these planes, trying to salvage as much as they can. This provides a great way to maintain still-active airplanes and keep them flying longer. 

 



ADVERTISEMENT • REMOVE ALL ADS

 

A little joke for the crowd. "What do you call a plane that can't fly anymore? Grounded." 

 

Photo: AeroXplorer | Cooper Palubeski

 

A Legacy That Endures

 

While plane boneyards may seem like places where dreams go to die, they are also testaments to human inventiveness and the enduring spirit of aviation. These silent giants remind us of their incredible journeys and their impact on the world. And who knows, some of these planes may yet take to the skies again, carrying new dreams and adventures into the blue.

 

Abandoned aircraft in Tuscon, Arizona | Photo: Library of Congress

 

So next time you see a picture of a plane boneyard, remember it's not just a graveyard. It's a place where history sleeps, resources are recycled, and dreams sometimes get a second chance to take flight.

 



ADVERTISEMENT • REMOVE ALL ADS

 

 AeroXplorer is on Telegram! Subscribe to the AeroXplorer Telegram Channel to receive aviation news updates as soon as they are released. View Channel 
Franco Grobler
Passionate aviation enthusiast from South Africa dedicated to bringing you articles on the latest aviation news, I aim to inspire and inform. I am set on embarking pilot training in 2024 to soar to new heights in the aviation world.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

SHARE

TAGS

INFORMATIONAL History Arizona Aircraft Parts Retired Military Air Force Abandoned

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Mexicana de Aviación Switches to Embraer After Airline Ditches Boeing Order for Faster Launch In February, Mexicana de Aviación, a revived Mexican state-owned airliner, announced the order of ten Embraer jets slated for a May 2025 delivery. The switch to Embraer is unexpected, as initial partnerships were confirmed with Boeing, indicating the purchase of some 737s. NEWS READ MORE »
Neste’s Innovative Solution Will Reduce Companies’ Business Travel Emissions by Up to 80% Finnish refining company Neste introduced a new solution to help companies reduce their aviation emissions by purchasing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Neste Impact allows businesses to report carbon dioxide emissions reductions that align with their sustainability targets. NEWS READ MORE »
How Does Essential Air Service Benefit Small and Isolated Communities? The Essential Air Service program was implemented to guarantee that small communities served by certified air carriers before airline deregulation maintained a minimal level of scheduled air service. INFORMATIONAL READ MORE »


SHOP

$2999
NEW!AeroXplorer Aviation Sweater Use code AVGEEK for 10% off! BUY NOW

FOLLOW US ONLINE