When an Aircraft Is Unable to Fly, Where Do They Go?

Aircraft, like all mechanical marvels, have a finite lifespan. When their flying days come to an end, they find themselves in a unique resting place known as an aircraft boneyard. In this article, we delve into the world of aircraft boneyards, exploring their purpose, processes, and locations across the globe.

1. Understanding Aircraft Boneyards

  • Definition and Purpose: Explaining the concept of aircraft boneyards as storage facilities for retired airplanes.
  • Maintenance vs. Scrapping: Discuss the two possible outcomes for retired planes – remaining in storage or being scrapped for parts.

2. The Fate of Retired Aircraft

  • Factors Influencing Retirement: Analyzing the reasons why aircraft are retired and sent to boneyards, including technological advancements and age.
  • Process of Decommissioning: Detailing the steps involved in preparing a retired aircraft for storage or scrapping, such as draining fluids and removing usable parts.

3. Locations of Aircraft Boneyards

  • Desert Environments: Exploring the prevalence of aircraft boneyards in dry, desert regions due to their preserving qualities.
  • Notable Boneyards: Highlighting prominent aircraft boneyards, such as the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, and the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

4. Environmental Impact and Sustainability

  • Recycling and Reuse: Discussing the environmentally conscious practices of recycling materials from retired aircraft, such as metals and plastics.
  • Minimal Maintenance Requirements: Explaining how desert storage minimizes the need for maintenance, preserving aircraft for potential future use.

5. Public Access and Interest

  • Accessibility: Addressing the limited public access to aircraft boneyards due to security and safety concerns.
  • Alternative Viewing Options: Suggest alternatives for aviation enthusiasts to catch glimpses of retired planes, such as satellite imagery and designated viewing areas.


Aircraft boneyards serve as the final resting place for retired airplanes, offering a glimpse into the past and the evolution of aviation technology. While these facilities may remain largely inaccessible to the public, their significance in preserving aviation history and supporting sustainable practices cannot be overlooked.

Leave a Comment