The Great Aviation Graveyard: Thousands of Military Aircraft Carefully Abandoned to Die or Be Cannibalized

The Great Aviation Graveyard: New aerial footage shows thousands of military aircraft carefully left to die or be cannibalized in the Arizona desert

  • Haunting Aerial Photographs of Arizona Airplane Graveyard Show Thousands of Missing Planes
  • Photographer Bernhard Lang captured them at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group
  • 4,000 aircraft are housed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on 2,600 acres in Tucson, Arizona
  • It is the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world, with cargo planes and giant bombers

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Haunting aerial photographs from the Arizona Aircraft Graveyard show thousands of defunct aircraft laid out in meticulous rows in what may be their final resting place along the desert floor.

German photographer Bernhard Lang captured the incredible sights of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309th AMARG) at an airbase in Tucson.

Row upon row of planes at the end of their lives, waiting to rust or be cannibalized – or perhaps to fly again.

Aerial footage of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309th AMARG) at an airbase in Tucson

Often referred to as The Boneyard, it is a US Air Force aircraft and missile storage and maintenance facility in Tucson, Arizona.

Often referred to as The Boneyard, it is a US Air Force aircraft and missile storage and maintenance facility in Tucson, Arizona.

German photographer Bernhard Lang captured the incredible views of the AMARG Aircraft Graveyard in Tucson, Arizona, USA

German photographer Bernhard Lang captured the incredible views of the AMARG Aircraft Graveyard in Tucson, Arizona, USA

Aerial views of the Boneyard 209th AMARG Aircraft Graveyard in Tucson, Arizona,

Aerial views of the Boneyard 209th AMARG Aircraft Graveyard in Tucson, Arizona,

Abandoned military planes, some of which have already been dismantled, stand on the desert floor. Military aircraft are either parked for a period of temporary non-use or cannibalized and recycled

Each row is organized by model and size, including retired civilian airliners after demand for air travel plummeted due to the Covid pandemic.

Nearly 4,000 aircraft are housed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on 2,600 acres, making it the largest storage and preservation facility in the world.

Military aircraft are either parked for a period of temporary non-use or cannibalized and recycled. Usable components are removed and resold, raw materials are sorted and sent for recycling.

The cemetery, despite its name, is also home to planes that may harbor some hope of flying again, a subject brought to light by the war in Ukraine and the need to deliver weapons to the country to help it resist the Russian invasion.

The military uses aircraft graveyards, on the one hand to maintain a certain

The military uses aircraft graveyards, on the one hand to maintain a certain “reserve” of old but airworthy machines, and on the other – in the case of disarmament or modernization – to make full use of limited recycling capacities in the long term

The dry and arid conditions around the base make it an ideal place for aircraft storage, as there is very little humidity to corrode the planes and the ground is so hard that even the most giant planes won't sink. not in the ground.

The dry and arid conditions around the base make it an ideal place for aircraft storage, as there is very little humidity to corrode the planes and the ground is so hard that even the most giant planes won’t sink. not in the ground.

Aerial views of the Boneyard 209th AMARG Aircraft Graveyard in Tucson, Arizona,

Aerial views of the Boneyard 209th AMARG Aircraft Graveyard in Tucson, Arizona,

Each row is organized by model and size, including retired civilian airliners after demand for air travel plummeted due to the Covid pandemic.

The dry and arid conditions around the base make it an ideal place for aircraft storage, as there is very little humidity to corrode the planes and the ground is so hard that even the most giant planes won’t sink. not in the ground.

The Covid pandemic has brought much commercial aviation to a halt, meaning the Arizona boneyard has temporarily become home to fleets of Boeing jetliners operated by US flag carriers as They were mothballed until travel restrictions were eased earlier this year.

While some retired aircraft – like the Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 – will be sent to aviation museums to preserve them for posterity, the majority meet their fate in cemeteries like this.

Usable components are withdrawn and resold, raw materials are sorted and sent for recycling;  Aircraft graveyard at the AMARG aircraft in Tucson, Arizona, USA

Usable components are withdrawn and resold, raw materials are sorted and sent for recycling; Aircraft graveyard at the AMARG aircraft in Tucson, Arizona, USA

Massive cargo planes, from heavy bombers to outdated fighter jets sit on the dry ground next to some commercial and civilian planes

Massive cargo planes, from heavy bombers to outdated fighter jets sit on the dry ground next to some commercial and civilian planes

While some retired aircraft - like the Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 - will be sent to aviation museums to preserve them for posterity, the majority meet their fate in cemeteries like this

While some retired aircraft – like the Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 – will be sent to aviation museums to preserve them for posterity, the majority meet their fate in cemeteries like this

Aerial views of the Boneyard 209th AMARG Aircraft Graveyard in Tucson, Arizona,

Aerial views of the Boneyard 209th AMARG Aircraft Graveyard in Tucson, Arizona,

lanes that can hope to see the skies again are kept in a storage facility by flight technicians who ensure that all aircraft entrances are sealed to keep out dirt, dust and wildlife

Massive cargo planes from heavy bombers to outdated fighter jets sit on the dry ground alongside some commercial and civilian aircraft.

Aircraft that may hope to see the skies again are kept in a storage facility by flight technicians who ensure that all aircraft entrances are sealed to keep out dirt, dust and wildlife.

They run the equipment and engines regularly to make sure everything is working and the plane can be ready to fly shortly after being recalled.

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