What Is the History Behind the Aircraft Graveyard in Arizona?


Quick Answer

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona is home to what is sometimes called the largest aircraft boneyard in the world. This location has housed military aircraft since the end of World War II.

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What Is the History Behind the Aircraft Graveyard in Arizona?
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Full Answer

By May 1946, over 800 planes, including B-29 Superfortresses and C-47 Skytrains, had been relocated to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Some were scrapped for parts, and others were repaired for use in the Korean War.

In 1956, the first of 384 Convair B-36 Peacemakers made its way to Davis-Monthan. The entire fleet, except for four planes that were saved for air museums, was dismantled.

In 1965, the Department of Defense closed a storage facility in Phoenix that housed the Navy's surplus aircraft and transferred the planes to Davis-Monthan. The facility's name was changed from the 2704th Air Force Storage and Disposition Group to Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center.

By 1985, contents of Davis-Monthan's storage expanded to include outdated ICBM missiles, and the name was changed to Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center. As of 2015, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is the only aircraft boneyard and parts reclamation facility for aircraft from all branches of the military and government.

Its location in the desert makes Davis-Monthan an ideal location for aircraft storage. With low humidity levels, very little annual rainfall and a high altitude level, the aircraft are naturally preserved. The hard soil also facilitates transportation of the aircraft without having to pave the area.

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