Probably one of the strangest and saddest land uses you will ever encounter are aircraft boneyards – essentially, these are airport junkyards for discarded airplanes. Some sites specialize in commercial aircraft, while others in military hardware. In either case, used airplanes are parked, stored, cannibalized, recycled, and/or sold for reuse or parts from these facilities. These sites are also sometimes used for filming movies and television shows due to the availability of a variety of aircraft. As you will notice from the list below, most, but not all are located in the Southwestern United States. Why? Because the arid desert climate helps preserve the equipment (merchandise) for a longer period of time.
Flying into or visiting one of these facilities must be a surreal experience as zombie aircraft essential lie in wait in the equivalent of aviation purgatory for some possible future use or reuse. Here is a weblink to a fascinating article about a visit to Pinal Air Park, where bot the aircraft and the airport appear to be in varying states of decay.Here is a list of those airplane boneyards in the United States that store/hold “commercial aviation aircraft” in a sort of semi-permanent stasis.
- Abilene Regional Airport – Abilene, Texas
- Kingman Airport – Kingman, Arizona
- Laurinburg-Maxton Airport – Laurinburg, North Carolina
- Mojave Air and Space Port – Mojave, California
- Phoenix/Goodyear Airport – Goodyear (Phoenix), California
- Pinal Air Park * – Marana (Tucson), Arizona
- Southern California Logistics Airport – Victorville, California
- Tupelo Regional Airport – Tupelo, Mississippi
- Wilmington Air Park * – Wilmington, Ohio
* Doubt the pun was intended, but calling such a facility an “Air Park” sure seems like one.
“But I can’t help but contemplate how first the 737’s, and then the Dreamliners, too, will end up in airplane boneyards — if not very soon, then some twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years from now, when their systems and designs are exhausted, when we need new dreams.”
Christopher Schaberg — The End of Airports