When it comes to aviation, just popping down to the local breaker yard to get a part is not always the answer. Just like our daily drivers, airplanes also have to find a place of rest, sometimes at the end of the lives and in other times, just as storage just in case someone wants to invest the money to make them fly worthy again.
The daily Mail has reported on the Davis-Montham base near Tucson in Arizona, where thousands of ex military airplanes stand in the desert either part broken for spares or ready for flying again with an overhaul. For the aviation enthusiast a visit to this breakers yard would be heaven as historic planes are lined up in groups from B52’s through to Thunderbolts and F14s. For most of these planes they just won’t fly again, but equally should the need for a large war arise, many could be put back into service reasonably quick.
Where They Are Stored
The dry environment means no rust and they are parked on hard mud, so need for miles and miles of concrete, it seems like a perfect place for storage. Of course there are many planes in pieces, party stripped and ready to provide further spares should they be needed. You have to assume these are not parts that are high in demand, otherwise they would have already been removed, cleaned and distributed. The value according to the daily Mail of the planes could be around £22billion, not exactly spare change. Of course there is a huge amount of history here, 4400 in total, with every single plane probably seeing some sort of action, whether it be a far back as the Korean war, up to the more recent Gulf wars. I could see some airmen in tears watching certain planes being scrapped knowing how much time they spent in them. But time moves on and modern warfare require modern planes and a different approach. There are some more modern planes here also, just being stored in between deployment.
The Views Are Amazing
The aerial photos on this article are stunning and have been provided by Bing and are now in High Definition. We are not sure on copyright, so you can view them here at the Daily Mail. there are of course other plane scrap yards out in this desert for general aviation and commercial airliners. But this is the biggest, scrap yard scrapping military planes. Let’s hope they are not all dismantled and some are left for our children to see.
I wonder what paperwork needs to be completed before destruction. Do they have an equivalent of the DVLA for military airplanes.