50 Aircraft Boneyards: Where Planes Go After Use
There’s something crazy about seeing an airplane in a context that isn’t an airport or in the sky. For instance, seeing several airplanes just sitting in the desert is an odd yet somewhat exhilarating thing. If you agree then you’re going to love what you’ll see here. These aircraft boneyards are the largest in the world and they are sure to surprise you. Enjoy!
The largest military boneyard in the world, Davis –Monthan AMARG is the only aircraft boneyard and parts reclamation point for all surplus military and government aircraft. The area’s low humidity, little rainfall, and high altitude make it a natural spot for aircraft to be preserved. The use of this facility as an aircraft storage space started after the Second World War and continues down to our day. As at the last count, the facility houses over 4,400 aircraft.
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards AFB is an important location for flight testing in the United States. It is the primary location for flight testing of combat aircraft. The base is also the home of NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. Although the base isn’t officially a storage facility, there are several aircraft found here that are rarely found anywhere else. Unfortunately, it is completely closed to the public.
We know we’ve shown you Davis-Monthan Air Force Base already. But we have more to tell you! Back in 1946, over 600 B-29 “Superfortress” aircraft and about 200 C-47 “Skytrains” aircraft was moved to the base. Some of these later resumed action, while others were scrapped for parts. Furthermore, in 1956, the Convair B-36 “Peacemaker” was sent to the base for scrapping.
Hawkins & Powers
If you are an aviation expert or lover, then you must know about Hawkins & Powers. For many years, the company carried out firefighting operations from the South Big Horn County Airport located in Greybull. However, in 2002, two of the planes from the company crashed during a firefighting operation. This accident caused some of the aircraft from the company to be grounded. The company didn’t recover from this blow and had to sell its aircrafts and other assets. Today, you can see the famous aircraft in the former base of its operations in Greybull.
Cal-Aero Field and Ontario Depot
Located east of Los Angeles, Cal-Aero Field and Ontario Depot was originally a civilian aviation school. It was established prior to the Second World War, and during the war was contracted by the AAF to assist in training combat pilots. After the war ended, the facilities became a military aircraft boneyard. About 2,000 aircraft were transferred to the facilities, and about a quarter of the aircraft was sold while the rest were disassembled.
Located near Lukhovitsy, Russia, the airport is managed by the Russian Aircraft Corporation. It is part of the Test Complex of the city. The airport has a small airplane boneyard that houses some old aircraft used in past wars.
Walter Soplata Farm
If you are an aviation enthusiast, you will likely recognize the name Walter Soplata. He was raised in Ohio by Czech immigrants and from an early age was fascinated by airplanes. He couldn’t join the military during the Second World War, but he found a way to channel his passion by scraping thousands of decommissioned warplane engines at the Cleveland scrapyard where he worked. Taking his passion a step further, he bought planes before they were scrapped. Today, you can see the planes he saved at the Walter Soplata Farm. It houses a B-25, and F2G Corsair, a Vultee BT015 trainer, and several other aircrafts.
Warner Robins Army Air Depot
Construction of Warner Robins Army Air Depot began in 1941 after approval from the War Department. Originally named Robins Field in memory of Brigadier General Augustine Warner Robins, the name was officially changed to Warner Robins Army Air Depot in 1942. The depot is currently home to a variety of aircraft from over 200 B-29s to one of the famous VC-140Bs. Today, the Robins Air Force Base, as it is now called is an active base.
Victory Field used to be a military airfield. Located about 10 kilometers from Vernon, Texas, the airfield was officially closed in 1945 after the Second World War. Some of the aircraft can still be found in the boneyard, although it is currently the site of the Adolescent Forensic Program for the North Texas State Hospital.
Kingman Airport was built when World War II started. The base is located in Mohave County which was an ideal location due to the low population and the open grounds. As with many bases, after the war, it served as a storage location for aircraft deemed as surplus. It is estimated that from 1945 to 1946 about 5,500 aircraft were flown to the base. Today, the Kingman Airport is home to dozens of airliners. The aircraft are behind fences and can only be seen.
Walnut Ridge Army Air Field
Located in northeast Arkansas, the Walnut Ridge Army Air Field is the home of several aircraft sent to the site after the end of World War II. After the war, the military had plenty of aircraft that it didn’t need. Due to its large land area and parking ramp, Walnut Ridge was chosen as one site to store these surplus planes. The boneyard received different types of planes, some of which can still be found there today. These include C-46 Commandos, B-25 Mitchells, Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, Curtis P-40 Warhawks, and so on.
Abilene Regional Airport
Abilene Regional Airport is a commercial airliner storage and maintenance facility. It boasts of an area of 1,686 acres and it offers its services to the commercial needs of central Texas. It is the base of Eagle Aviation Service Inc. Therefore, it services all American Eagle Airline aircrafts. Additionally, there is a boneyard on the property that houses a score of retired Saab aircraft. Since these aircraft are up for sale, they are regularly maintained, with fluid and oil used in lubricating any parts that might be susceptible to corrosion.
Arkansas International Airport
Arkansas International Airport is a public airport located three miles northwest of Mississippi County in Arkansas. The airport is owned by the Blytheville Gosnell Regional Airport Authority. Part of the features of the airport is the repair facilities for aircraft maintenance, storage, and disassembly. The maintenance services are primarily focused on turboprop and jet aircraft, while the disassembly service is geared towards CFM56, CF6-80, and CF6-50 engines.
Phoenix Goodyear Airport
Phoenix Goodyear Airport was originally built during the Second World War and it served as a naval air facility. At that time, it was called NAF Litchfield Park. After some time, it was renamed Naval Air Station Litchfield Park. After the Second World War, this naval air facility was converted to a storage and preservation ground. Many surplus US Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aircraft were sent here to be preserved.
William J. Fox Airport
William J. Fox Airport lies in Los Angeles County, California. The airport is commonly known as Fox Field by the locals. It is 717 meters above sea level and has an average of 224 aircraft operations per day – including housing old aircraft like this C-119G Flying Boxcar. The location of the airport makes it a great place to have a boneyard. High above sea level, the atmosphere is dry and rather conducive to airplanes.
Aberdeen Proving Ground
Aberdeen Proving Ground serves as a facility where helicopters and several military aircraft are stored. It is located in Maryland and is a US Army base. The facility was established as far back as 1917, and is focused on weapons and munitions testing, research, engineering, training, and development. It is a military installation; hence there is no public access.
Tupelo Regional Airport
The Tupelo Regional Airport lies about 175 miles from Jackson and 110 miles from Memphis, Tennessee. It is a state-of-the-art airport that offers some of the latest technologies to ensure safety of planes and passengers. There are instrument approaches, a brand new lighting system, and an air control tower. Recently, renovations and expansions were completed at the airport. Some of the new things added include a fire station, parking lot, and more. The airport also comes with its own boneyard. There are airliner storage and disassembly services offered at the airport. UAM (Universal Asset Management) is in charge of this service. Therefore, you can find aircrafts in storage and disassembled at the boneyard.
Mojave Air and Space Port
Mojave Air and Space Port is one of the most popular aircraft boneyards in the world. Although it is primarily known for the several relics found there, the port has tried to make itself into more than a boneyard and become a port for commercial space flying. Despite its efforts , it is still widely viewed as one of the places in the USA where you can find classic aircraft. The aircraft found here includes Boeing 707s, BAC 1-11s, and Convair 990s and 880s.
Check out the Lockheed EC-121 Warning Star (L-1049A). These aircraft contained some of the first warnings and control radar surveillance in the United States. The Navy and Air Force primarily used them in the 1950s, starting in 1954 for Signal Intelligence gathering (SIGINT). Eventually, the U.S. military phased them out entirely in 1978 though a modified version (E.W.) remained up to 1982. Today, you can find the EC-121H at Tucson – Davis-Monthan AFB (Municipal) (DMA / KDMA). Steve Williams took this picture on October 7, 1976, in Arizona, USA.
Vozdvizhenka Air Base
Vozdvizhenka Air Base is located in Russia and was a top-secret base in the far eastern section of the country. It reportedly is home to 18 gutted Tupolev Tu-22M Backfires. It was a former bomber base and used to house Soviet supersonic bombers. When the Cold War ended, the bombers were deemed surplus to requirements and just abandoned where they currently stand.
San Bernardino Intl Airport
Located about two miles east of San Bernardino and 60 miles east of LAX, the San Bernardino International Airport hosts several discontinued and decommissioned aircrafts. The airport is located on the former site of the Norton Air Force Base. The base was built in during the Second World War and was closed in the early 1900s. It has an airliner storage and disassembly where airliners from several airlines are kept and maintained. The grounds contain several repair and maintenance companies as well. These companies provide a variety of services from engine removal to aircraft deactivation.
Pyote Army Air Field
Pyote Army Air Field is a long-term military aircraft reserve storage facility. Back in 1947, the WAA had successfully disposed over 60,000 aircraft. However, there were still some aircraft that were in good conditions. These needed places to stay for a long time but still be combat ready when called upon. Several locations across the country were selected, including Pyote Army Air Field. At a point in its history, the base served as a storage facility for up to 2,000 aircraft. It was home to the now famous B-29 “Enola Gay” which dropped the atomic bomb over Japan. Today, what remains of the Pyote Army Air Field are a few ruins and some runways.
Laurinburg-Maxton Airport is located in the south-central part of Carolina and is a public-use airport. The airfield here is home to several vintage planes in various stages of decay. These planes are sold for their parts, with most of them missing their engines, rudders , and other essential parts. One of the planes here, a giant Boeing 747-100 had it nose cut off. The nose can be found decorating the front of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. Prior to 2017, visitors were allowed to come on the property and photograph these proud planes. However, after then, it is closed to the public due to acts of trespassing and vandalism.
Falcon Field is an airport found in Maricopa County, Arizona. It was built before the Second World War by Hollywood producer Leland Hayward and pilot John H. Connelly. It was originally meant to be named the Thunderbird Field III, as there were already Thunderbird I and II. The aim of the base was to serve as a training ground for British pilots. After the war, the airport became a civil airfield, owned and operated by the city of Mesa. The airport is home to the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum which boasts of rare World War II exhibits, American and foreign combat planes, and other aircraft.
This airfield opened in 1941 and has a rich, tumultuous history. The base was one of the RAF bases that were opened due to the vulnerability of England’s South West to attacks. As a matter of fact, the base itself was attacked by foreign enemies. The base was at the peak of its powers in 1944, however, after the war ended in 1945, it was closed. Today, Predannack Airfield is used as a practice base for the Royal Navy. A part of the base is the resting place of several old military planes and other aircraft.
Cotswold Airport, also known as Kemble-Cotswold Airport, is located near Cirencester, a market town in Gloucestershire, England. It isn’t a popular name outside aviation circles. However, among aviation enthusiasts, at this location lies the largest airplane boneyard in Europe. Originally, this location served as a maintenance base for the Royal Air Force, the US Air Force, and Red Arrows. However, since 1993, the airport has gone private and is serviced by Air Salvage International. The company offers storage, disposal, and maintenance services to airliners from around the world. There is parking for up to 60 aircraft at this facility.
In the 1960s and 70s, Alaska was a teeming center for air movement and transport to various places around the country. It served as a point for transporting seafood to the other states, and to supply materials for the construction of the pipeline. After these functions were drastically reduced, many airlines found their aircraft had become surplus to requirements. Since Alaska is naturally a cold place, a “freezer”, so to speak, the aircraft abandoned were preserved. Anchorage Airport is one of such places in Alaska. It is home to several aircrafts, some of which will never take to the skies again, and some that are used infrequently.
Altus Army Air Field
Altus Army Air Field is located in Oklahoma and is one of the large disposal facilities in the United States. The site was used heavily during World War II, but after the war, it served as a disposal facility for surplus aircraft. Dozens of news B-17s and other aircraft could be found lining the runway of the Field after the war. The aircraft served as a storage facility till those planes were sold to the Esparado Mining Company. In fact, some of the planes that were stored here were bought the US Navy. This storage location hosts some planes till today.
Albuquerque Army Air Field
In the 1930s, this location was serviced by West Mesa Airport and Oxnard Field. The Albuquerque Army Air Base was constructed in 1941 and lay adjacent to the local airport. At that time, the base served as a place to carry out advanced flying training procedures and training in the use of combat aircraft. The two main aircrafts used at the time were the B-17 “Flying Fortress” and the B-24 “Liberator”. After the war ended, the base became a storage facility for surplus bombers and fighters.
Bangkok Airplane Graveyard
Bangkok Airplane Graveyard is one of the most interesting attractions in Bangkok. The aircraft boneyard, located in Ramkhamhaeng is a vast, open wasteland that is home to scores of decrepit aircraft. The planes have been on the grounds since 2010 and are reportedly owned by a Thai businessman who salvages the plane part for sale. There is no much to be found in the planes as the interiors have been totally stripped, leaving empty shells. Part of the wreckage found on the grounds includes MD-82s and a Boeing 747 among others.
Clinton Naval Air Station
The Clinton Naval Station was established in 1942 at the beginning of the Second World War. The site was developed and had four runways and installation facilities on the grounds. The aim of the base was to develop and train naval aviators. At the end of the war, the base was closed, and like many such bases, was converted into a boneyard for the thousands of naval aircraft useless after the war. Today, this former naval station serves as and industrial airpark. You can still see vestiges of the past as you move around the facilities.
Everts Air Cargo at Fairbanks International Airport
Everts Air Cargo is based in Fairbanks. The fleet contains several aircraft including Douglas DC-G, McDonnell Douglas MD-80, and so on. Currently, Everts Air Cargo at Fairbanks International Airport is home to a variety of prop-based cargo planes like the Convair C-131, DC-6B, and more aircraft.
El Paso County
The El Paso County Airfield is an abandoned boneyard located in the city of El Paso. It is not very popular, however, those who have explored it comment on it eeriness and air of mystery. If such things fascinate you, then you should check it out when you can. There are so many planes, helicopters, motor homes, and other things on the grounds. The planes and parts are not listed for sale although it is open to the general public. Weeds have overgrown some of the planes and the El Paso County boneyard will give you the chills.
Greenwood-Leflore Airport is set some 125 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. The airport is a busy spot where flights land and take off. However, not all aircraft that lands here flies out. The airport features an airliner storage and disassembly facility. Several airlines for example, FedEx, United, Iberia, China Southern, and a host of others store their aircraft here. While these are functional and leave when required, some are brought here for disassembling. It is a boneyard where aircraft come to be recycled.
Harry S Truman Regional Airport
Harry S Truman Regional Airport is found in Missouri and lies around 31 miles east of Kansas City. The airport is home to over 2,500 aircraft. One of the main facilities found in the airport are the services offered by White Industries Inc. The company was founded in 1956 and it provides general airplane storage and parts repair and reclamation services. The company is one of the oldest supplies of used airplane parts to the general aviation industry. With the large number of aircraft in its inventory, walking through the boneyard is a dream for every aviation enthusiast.
The airport is situated 11 kilometers from Downtown Atlanta. It covers an extensive landmass (4,700 acres) and features up to five parallel runways. With almost one million annual flights, the Hartsfield Jackson Airport is one of the most popular airports in Atlanta. It was declared a military airfield in 1940 and was used to service various combat aircraft. It saw an increase in use during World War II.
Formerly known as Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Oscad-Wurtsmith is a remote facilty located in northern Michigan. The airport doesn’t offer any airline services, but it offers freight flights from the grounds. It served a base for Kalitta Air who carry out maintenance on the Boeing aircrafts stored there. There are currently up to nine Boeing 747s in this boneyard. Aside from Kalitta, there are also other airlines with their aircrafts stored here. If you are an aviation enthusiast and you are in the area, taking a trip to Oscoda–Wurtsmith Airport is worth it.
Manas International Airport
Located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Manas International Airport is currently an active airport that serves more than 12 different airlines. Airline going to Dubai, Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities lift off from this airport. Adjacent this airport is an aircraft boneyard that is home to several aircrafts from the now defunct Soviet Union. You will find a mix of aircraft, helicopters, and airliners here as well. The Boneyard isn’t open to the public, but if you are fortunate to have your flight taxi by, you will see some of these aircrafts.
RAF Shawbury, also known as RAF Shawbury, is located in the West Midlands of England. Although it functions primarily as a base for the Royal Air Force, you can find several RAF aircraft in storage. The RAF aircraft come in different types and are kept in long-term reserves on the grounds. The aircrafts are still functional and are carefully preserved in de-humidified hangars. They can be brought to combat readiness whenever their services are required. Asides from the still functional aircrafts, you can also find aircrafts that are deemed surplus and no longer needed for any operational services.
Roswell International Air Center
Located in New Mexico, Roswell International Air Center is a major aircraft boneyard. It was originally called Roswell Army International Airfield during the Second World War, and after the war was renamed Walker Air Force Base. The base was closed in 1967. Today, Roswell International Air enter is the home of various industries focused on the storage, repair, and scrapping of airliners. The large area provides enough space for these aircrafts. Furthermore, the humidity and dryness of Roswell makes the Center a great location for keeping these aircrafts in storage for a long time. Some of the aircrafts you can find here include American Airlines 737s, a Jetstar owned by singing sensation Elvis Presley, and more.
Located around 12 miles west of Tucson, Ryan Field is a mildly popular aircraft storage site. It houses ARDCO, which is a primary fire bomber operator in the United States. The grounds serve as the maintenance base for the company. At Ryan Field, you will find several aircraft, but the most popular ones are functional fire bombers. Aside from these, the base also houses a relatively small collection of aircrafts waiting to be converted in fire bombers.
Teruel Airport lies between the biggest cities in Spain. It is set about 1,000 meters above sea level and is a great spot for airplanes to take a long “nap”. The largest industrial airport in Europe, the Teruel Airport was built, not to ferry passengers across the skies of Europe, but as a resting place for decommissioned aircrafts. Whether permanently discontinued or just temporarily, planes find a dry, warm climate to rest. The airport has airliners that have been scrapped for their valuable parts, and also airliners waiting for financial or legal clearance before they can fly.
Tarbes Lourdes Pyrénées Airport
You can find Tarbes Lourdes Pyrénées Airport about nine kilometers south-southwest of Tarbes in France. The airport itself is a bustling center that regularly handles scheduled and charter flights in and around Europe. The Tarmac Aerosave, set on the grounds is a location that is built to store, maintain, and recycle aircraft and engines in a clean, environmentally safe manner. With space for more than 250 aircraft, it is the largest aircraft storage facility in Europe.
St. Augustine Airport
St. Augustine Airport airplane graveyard is located close to the St. Augustine Airport. The graveyard used to house eight decrepit airplanes that are scattered around the grounds. These skeletal, decaying airplanes are a stark reminder that sometimes, nature beats technology. The planes are Grumman S2 Trackers which are stealth planes. Owned by a private individual, these planes lay on the grounds for more than a decade. The planes were bought then stripped of their essential, and valuable parts e.g. engines, wings, seats, and so on. Then they were left to rot on the grounds. Although listed as private property, there are gaps to exploit to gain access to the planes. As at 2016, the planes had been removed from the grounds and it lies empty.
Southern California Logistics Airport
The Southern California Logistics Airport is located in Victorville, California. About 80 miles northeast of this location lies Los Angeles. The Airport is located in a great area for an aircraft boneyard. The Mojave Desert has the right climate conditions to preserve unused aircrafts for extended periods. The climate is warm and dry which reduces oxidation and other chemical processes that will make aircraft deteriorate faster. The airplanes here are either deemed surplus to requirements or have been retired. You will find several Boeing 747s, some MD-11 freighters, 727s, and more here. The aircraft are left here for good, broken up for parts, or sold to airlines.
Wilmington Air Park is a business airport located in central Ohio. The airport is a spacious airport boasting of almost 3 million square feet of space. Part of this space includes several hangars that serve as homes to several aircraft. Here, the aircraft are suspended in a kind of semi-permanent stasis. It serves as a commercial airliner parts reclamation spot. It might not have been intended, but naming the airport an “Air Park” ended up more fitting that might have been foreseen.
Pinal Air Park
The Pinal Air Park is set in Marana, Arizona and is currently a county-owned airport. The Pinal Air Park was formerly known as the Marana Army Field. During World War II, this location was the biggest pilot-training base in the world. According to record, more than 10,000 pilots were trained at the base. After the war, the base was closed and the county became the owners. Subsequently, it was leased to interested parties, including a USAF flying school. The Pinal Air Park serves as a boneyard and services civilian commercial aircraft. It also provides storage, repair, and reclamation services for aircraft. The desert location of the Air Park makes it an optimum environment for storing aircraft.
Ardmore is located in Oklahoma and houses many types of aircraft including military aircraft. It is an amazing place that includes big and small planes. At the boneyard in Ardmore, you will find Boeing 747s parked in a grassy park. You will also see what remains of a 747SP from United that was used by Pan Am. Aside from these planes, the park also houses original 747-100s.
Alice Springs Airport
Operated by the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage Ltd. Alice Springs Airport serves as an ideal location for an aircraft boneyard. In mid-2011, it was revealed that the airport had been chosen to be the first large-scale aircraft boneyard located outside of the United States of America. Operations began in 2014, and the Alice Springs Airport now houses commercial aircraft that are no longer in use, decommissioned aircraft, and similar airliners. The aircraft are stripped of parts which are then recycled to serve various purposes. The area is particularly suited to this use because of the dry, arid climate.
Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport
Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport is located in Saskatchewan, Canada. The airport is named after John Diefenbaker, the 13th Prime Minister of the country. The airport is a modern airport that has many impressive facilities. The airport was established in 1929, and in 1940, the city leased the airport to the RCAF. During the Second World War, this airport served as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. To assist with the new role four large hangars were constructed. Today, aside from the flights that come and go, the airport is also known for its boneyard. You can find 23 old Fokker F-28 aircrafts in the boneyard.
China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station
The China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station is a military facility located in the famous Mojave Desert region of California. The station is around 150 miles north of Los Angeles. The aim of the facility is to research, test, and evaluate programs of the United States Navy. This facility is reportedly the largest single landholding of the US Navy. Although it is still a functional base, there still exists a boneyard somewhere in the facilities. The dry air and the climate of the Mojave Desert ensure that the aircraft stored there are preserved for a long period.