Airplane Boneyards and Storage Facilities
Commercial airliners and military aircraft have limited lifespans. Some are temporarily taken off flying status, and must be stored in a environment that is conducive to preservation. Others are kept as spare parts for flying aircraft.
Eventually, as airframes wear out and economics change, all aircraft are removed permanently from service and must be scrapped at an "airplane boneyard".
Military Aircraft Boneyards
The United States manufactured about 294,000 aircraft for the World War II effort. Once peace was assured, the U.S. military had a huge surplus of aircraft. By the summer of 1945, sales-storage depots, or "aircraft boneyards", were in operation to deal with nearly 120,000 surplus aircraft.
If a plane was not sold at boneyards such as those at Kingman AAF, Cal-Aero Field/Ontario, or Walnut Ridge AAF, it was stripped of classified information, sliced up with guillotines, and melted in smelters into ingots. Thousands of military planes had been scrapped by 1947.
Newer aircraft such as the B-29 Superfortress were held in long-term storage for future recall to active duty during the Korean War and the Cold War.
Today, surplus U.S. military planes are stored in the largest airplane boneyard in the world, operated by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group AMARG at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
Commercial Airliner Boneyards and Storage Facilities
Airliner "boneyards" in the western United States serve several functions: temporary storage, maintenance, parts reclamation, and scrapping.
To protect airliners during their storage from wind and sun damage, engines and windows are tightly covered with white, reflective materials. Eventually, all airliners are removed permanently from service and are scrapped for parts and materials.
This website includes coverage of several major storage, maintenance and disposal facilities for commercial airliners, such as those at Kingman Airport and Pinal Air Park in Arizona, and Mojave Airport in California.
Also included are reports on airliners in storage at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport and the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville as well as the Roswell International Air Center.
A list and map of major airliner storage and airliner boneyards is also provided.
This website is a "virtual" online community dedicated to the great aircraft of the past, and to the men and women who designed, built, maintained and flew those aircraft.
As such ...
We do not own or operate an airplane boneyard, or have an affiliation with any boneyard, the Department of Defense, or any aviation museum.
We do not offer tours, and we do not own aircraft or maintain a parts inventory.
Davis-Monthan AFB AMARG
As Air Force, Navy and Marine planes become obsolete and need to be disposed of, or saved for future return to service, they are stored in the largest airplane boneyard in the world, in the Arizona desert.
The storage facility is operated by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group AMARG at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
More about AMARG »
Jetliners eventually reach end-of-life due to airframe wear and/or obsolescence. Some jetliners are temporarily taken off flying status, and must be stored in a environment that is conducive to preservation. Others are kept for spare parts for flying aircraft, and eventually scrapped. Most of these airliner boneyards are located in Arizona and California.
Airliner boneyards »
Once peace was assured after WWII, the military found itself with a huge surplus of aircraft. Following the war, estimates of the number of excess surplus airplanes ran as high as 150,000. Consideration was given to storing a substantial number of airplanes, but the realization that the expense to store them was too great ... many needed to be sold or scrapped.
Post-WWII boneyards »
Virtually all airplane boneyards and storage facilities are limited access sites. Boneyards typically do not allow visitors and do not provide tours. We encourage potential visitors to check with individual sites to learn about access policies and tours, and avoid restricted areas. The largest boneyard in the world, at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, does allow tours of its AMARG facility.
Visiting/touring boneyards »