Aircraft Boneyard and List of Some of the Famous Aircraft Boneyards Around the World
An aircraft boneyard, also known as an aircraft graveyard or aircraft storage facility, is a location where retired or decommissioned aircraft are parked and stored for various purposes. These facilities are typically large, open-air areas with extensive space to accommodate a large number of aircraft. Here are some key points about aircraft boneyards:
Storage of Retired Aircraft: Aircraft boneyards serve as long-term storage facilities for aircraft that have reached the end of their operational lives or are temporarily taken out of service. These aircraft may be older models, no longer economically viable to operate, or awaiting resale or repurposing.
Preservation and Reuse: The dry and arid climate of some aircraft boneyard locations, such as those found in the southwestern United States, helps slow down corrosion and deterioration. This preservation allows some aircraft components to be reused or salvaged for spare parts.
Part-Out Operations: In some cases, retired aircraft undergo “part-out” operations, where valuable components and parts are removed and sold for use in operating aircraft. This process can be economically beneficial for airlines and maintenance organizations.
Recycling and Disposal: When aircraft reach the end of their useful life, they may be dismantled and recycled. Parts made of aluminum, steel, and other materials are often salvaged and repurposed. Proper disposal of hazardous materials and compliance with environmental regulations are essential aspects of this process.
Potential for Resale: Some retired aircraft are stored in boneyards with the intention of being sold or leased to other airlines, charter companies, or private operators. These aircraft may undergo maintenance and refurbishment before being returned to service.
Aviation Museums: Some aircraft boneyards may be affiliated with aviation museums or serve as temporary storage for historic aircraft before they are restored and put on display.
Security and Access: Aircraft boneyards typically have restricted access due to safety and security concerns. Visitors are usually not allowed without prior authorization, and photography might be prohibited in some areas.
Notable Boneyards: Some well-known aircraft boneyards include the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, USA, which houses a significant number of military aircraft, and the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, USA, which serves as a storage and maintenance facility for a variety of aircraft.
Aircraft boneyards play an essential role in managing the retirement and repurposing of aircraft, ensuring that valuable resources are utilized effectively and safely throughout the aviation industry.
List of Some of the Famous Aircraft Boneyards Around the World
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base “Boneyard” – Tucson, Arizona, USA: Operated by the United States Air Force, it is one of the largest aircraft boneyards in the world and houses a vast collection of retired military aircraft.
Mojave Air and Space Port – Mojave, California, USA: Besides being an active aerospace testing and development facility, it also serves as a storage and maintenance location for various retired aircraft, including commercial and military planes.
Pinal Airpark – Marana, Arizona, USA: Located near Davis-Monthan AFB, Pinal Airpark is a boneyard known for storing a significant number of commercial airliners.
Roswell International Air Center – Roswell, New Mexico, USA: A former military base, it now houses a variety of decommissioned aircraft, including both commercial and military planes.
Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport – Victorville, California, USA: This facility serves as a storage and maintenance location for a wide range of aircraft, including wide-body airliners.
Alice Springs Airport – Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia: Situated in the Australian Outback, this boneyard houses numerous commercial airliners, primarily from Asia and Australia.
Teruel Airport – Teruel, Spain: Known for its aircraft storage and maintenance facilities, it has become a significant boneyard for commercial and regional airliners.
Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées Airport – Tarbes, France: This French airport has a boneyard that holds a variety of commercial and military aircraft.
Kemble Cotswold Airport – Kemble, England, UK: Formerly an RAF base, it now serves as a boneyard for a diverse range of aircraft, including airliners and military planes.
Bob’s Prop Shop – Delta Junction, Alaska, USA: Specializing in storing retired propeller-driven aircraft, it is situated in a remote location due to the challenging logistics of aircraft storage in Alaska.
Please note that the status and availability of aircraft boneyards may change over time, and some locations may be accessible only to authorized personnel due to security and safety concerns. Always ensure to comply with any restrictions and guidelines before attempting to visit or photograph these facilities.