Though not an official museum, the Boneyard, located in Tucson, Arizona, holds an amazing share of aviation history. The Boneyard has been featured in several major films in detail, the one that immediately springs to my mind is Iron Eagle II, which featured Lou Gossett, Jr. as an Air Force colonel that worked on the airplanes in the Boneyard as some sort of enjoyment and also pu8nishment for a minor misdeed during his time on active duty.
The story from BBC, once again reporting things about our nation that slip under the radar here (though it might have been covered on Fox, I wouldn’t know) tells of the number of planes located there, and the plans for the re-use of the materials stored on the Davis-Monthan Air Base.
Dubbed The Boneyard, but officially known as the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) facility, this sprawling US airbase is reputed to be the world’s largest military aircraft cemetery.
Spread across the huge 2,600 acre site, equivalent in size to 1,430 football pitches, is a collection of over 4,000 retired aircraft including nearly every plane the US armed forces have flown since World War II.
Now, for the first time, a series of high resolution satellite images of the four square mile-site have been released by Google Earth. They show in incredible detail the full range of aircraft found at the site.
Among the aircraft are B-52 Cold War-era bombers that were retired in the 1990s under the the terms of the SALT disarmament treaties signed between the US and the Soviet Union.
Also, on show are dozens of F-14 fighter planes which were retired from the US Navy in 2006 and featured in the Hollywood movie, Top Gun. The Boneyard has also featured in a series of films, the most recent being Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Located in Tucson, Arizona, on the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the facility was first set up shortly after World War II. It was chosen for its high altitude and arid conditions, that mean the aircraft can be left outdoors without deteriorating too quickly.
A major industrial centre, AMARG manages an inventory of more than 4,200 aircraft and 40 aerospace vehicles.
In addition to being a massive plane park, AMARG also refurbishes aircraft, returning them to flying status or preparing them to be transported overland.
Officials at the base say that the parts reclaimed and aircraft withdrawn turns every tax dollar spent into 11 dollars in return.
For those that have never seen any of these magnificent machines close up, I would suggest a trip if possible. Looking at pictures of these aircraft on television (even with the possibility of high definition) simply does not bring into the viewer’s mind the extreme scale of some of these planes. The size and power of the B-52 Stratofortress is something that cannot help but amaze. I was always amazed that, with the number of bomb runs carried out on the countries of Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia, by these gargantuan rulers of the sky that the nations were able to survive.
As someone that has been on tours of only a much smaller “boneyard” at March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, California, I can say that looking through the Boneyard at Davis-Monthan would definitely push the boundaries of an all-day excursion.
Perhaps a bit of history better gone, due to the destruction these planes could wreak upon an enemy, they are no less a testament to the incredible ability of the designers and builders of machinery. (I suggest following the link, and looking at the high resolution aerial pictures of the edifice to United States air superiority.)
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