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5 Of The All-time Biggest Airplane Graveyards In The World.

An in-depth examination of five of the largest airplane graveyards in the world, along with the reasons why their locations were chosen for the project But first, let’s clarify what an aircraft graveyard actually is. Aircraft graveyards, often called boneyards, are places where planes are sent for long-term storage or to be dismantled. They are almost always found in deserts or other areas with little humidity.

The Southwestern United States has the largest concentration of airplane graveyards. Nevertheless, similar weather can be found in other regions of the world, such as Australia and the Middle East. It is less expensive to store airplanes in areas with low humidity since there is no need to pave the hard, solid ground, which helps to avoid rusting. Engines, instruments, and anything reusable are removed from aircraft before they are destroyed for their metal, leaving only a metal shell.

Davis-Monthan, United States Air Force Base

Situated on South Kolb Road near Tucson, Arizona, the residential districts vanish, leaving behind row upon row of parked aircraft, ranging in size from enormous transports to fighter jets.

The United States Air Force had a huge excess of aircraft after Japan surrendered in September 1945, and they required somewhere to be stored. Known then as Davis-Monthan Army Air Field, it was a bomber training site with plenty of space for aircraft storage at the time.

Tucson’s scorching desert climate, with less than 11 inches of annual precipitation, added to its desirability as an airplane storage facility. It is preferred to store disused aircraft in arid, desert environments rather than damp or humid ones. By the spring of 1946, the Air Force had flown more than 600 Boeing B-29 Superfortress and 200 C-47 Skytrain aircraft to the location.

The Enola Gay was housed at Davis-Monthan for a while before being moved to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, for exhibition. The United States Navy’s aircraft storage facility in Phoenix was to close in 1965, and all surplus military aircraft were to be consolidated at Davis-Monthan.

Now housing the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), the Davis-Monthan United States Air Force Base is the world’s largest airplane cemetery. The AMARG states that the facility typically holds 3,200 aircraft, 6,100 engines, and nearly 300,000 line items of test and tooling equipment.

Mojave Air and Space Port (MHV)

Situated 95 miles north of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert of California, next to Edwards Air Force Base, the airport was first established as a rural airfield in the 1930s. The Department of Defense seized control of the airport after the unexpected Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and established Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station (MCAAS) Mojave.

Three thousand servicemen and women would live in barracks built with a third runway. The airfield had 145 aircraft in use at its busiest. The City of Mojave received ownership of the airfield after the Korean War and thought it would be a perfect place to store or trash planes.

According to Aeroclass, it is now a center for aviation innovation, with over 60 businesses conducting flight research, testing, engineering, and other activities on the industrial park. However, it has one of the largest aircraft cemeteries in the world; some of the most recent occupants are Boeing 747s from Lufthansa and A380s from China Southern.

Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA)

One of the biggest commercial aircraft boneyards in the world, Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) is a popular destination for retired airplanes that are ready to be scrapped. Situated around 1.5 hours’ drive from Los Angeles on the edge of the Mojave Desert in the vicinity of Victorville, California, SCLA has the capacity to handle up to 500 big aircraft.

The United States Army Air Corps utilized the building as an Advanced Flying School in 1941, when it was first established as George Air Force Base. The base closed after the war, only to reopen five years later with the outbreak of the Korean War. The Air Force made the decision to close the base in the early 1990s. SCLA recognized its potential as a major airport for Southwestern U.S. logistics. Victorville has a rail depot at the airport in addition to being connected to the Interstate Highway system.

SCLA also provides a paint shop big enough to handle Boeing 787 Dreamliners, as well as ramp and hangar capacity for over 20 aircraft for transitional maintenance. Over 500 airplanes can be housed at the location, according to Airplane Boneyards. The runway proved to be a makeshift home for a new Boeing 787-10 for British Airways as well as Air New Zealand’s Boeing 777s, which have since been reactivated, during the epidemic.

Teruel Airport (TEV)
Teruel Airport is situated in the Province of Aragon and is about the same distance from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Zaragoza. The airport experiences dry weather. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), the Spanish Republican Air Force utilized Teruel Airport, which was originally known as Caudé Aerodrome. After the Nationalists won, the military turned the airstrip into a firing range for artillery.

Today, Teruel Airport is the biggest aircraft storage and repair facility in Europe, owned by a partnership between the City Council of Teruel and the Government of Aragon. It has one asphalt runway that is 9,268 feet long, and it can hold up to 250 parked planes. There were one hundred parked aircraft at Teruel Airport during the COVID-19 outbreak, most of which belonged to European carriers.

Pinal County Airpark (MZJ)

Originally known as Marana Army Air Field, Pinal County Airpark (MZJ) is situated in Pinal County, close to the town of Marana, Arizona. The base was used as a pilot training facility when it was opened in 1943. After the war, Pinal County received the base and subsequently leased it to Intermountain Airlines, which operated as the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) front organization. During the Vietnam War, MZJ served as the base for the CIA’s covert activities.

Pinal Airpark, which spans 1,508 acres, features four helipads and a single asphalt runway measuring 6,893 feet in length. Pinal County Airpark (MZJ), located in the hottest desert in both Mexico and the United States, is a well-liked storage place for aircraft that are retiring from airlines. The facility can hold more than 400 aircraft on-site, according to ABC. Currently, some of Virgin America’s older Boeing 747s and a stranded televangelist’s Boeing 747SP are housed there.


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