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Surreal military boneyard timelapse footage is quite stunning [Video]

Commonly referred to as the “Boneyard,” the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., contains about 5,000 retired military aircraft throughout 2,600 acres. Crews at the Boneyard preserve aircraft for possible future use, pull aircraft parts to supply to the field, and perform depot-level maintenance and aircraft regeneration in support of Air Force operations. ( More...

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wylann 5
I live nearby to this. Tours of the boneyard are available through the Pima Air Museum (which I also highly recommend if you're an aviation enthusiast).
The Cessna "tweets" jet trainers at 1:50 just kill me - wish I could resurrect one of those beauties !!
bbabis 5
Williams engines and a Garmin panel. That would be a sweet tweet!
themold 1
It was said that the Cessna T-37 converted jet fuel into noise. I visited DM AFB back in the mid 60's to pick out a Beech T34 for our Navy flying club. There were a lot to choose from!
Robert Seery 2
The most surreal thing about it is how awful the music is....
joel wiley 1
Great job. Never see those angles from the tour bus in the middle of the day!
Got to visit back in the late '70s; back then they would pile us on a USAF bus and drive around, stopping when we cried loud enough. Driver would tell us to be back in 30 minutes or learn to love rattlesnakes. 40 rolls of film in three hours... amazing experience!
joel wiley 2
Definitely not the same ride in 2016. Worthwhile going anyway.
Bernie20910 1
The most surreal thing I saw in that was the complete absence of graffiti.
skylab72 2
I visited the bone-yard back before I went "across the pond", Spring of '67, and that was before the AF had officially designated a reclamation unit and the Pima Air Museum was still in the idea stage. The aircraft "storage" area back then was much more informal and much much bigger. out of service aircraft were scattered from Davis-Monthan down through where the Pima Air Museum is now, back to the west to the east end of the Tucson airport, plus another two miles or so to the south. The oldest I found were just skeletons of WWI era designs. Several fragments of Jennys, and Curtiss "Hawk" fighters, and an almost complete B-9. The newest I saw back then were F-80s, an FJ-1. The one that get me going though was a B-18 that I wished I could restore and fly. At the time I thought 5 to 10 grand could have gotten her certified flyable and looking pretty "authentic"...

Oh, but the point of all this? Back then there was graffiti. Not much over a couple hundred yards from a road, but the first layer of hulks adjacent to roads almost all had something.
joel wiley 2
location, location, guards
wylann 1
It is located on a military base. Contrary to what you might see in the movies, getting caught trying to sneak in could be very bad for your health. ;-)
Ron Tucker 1
The ultimate fate will be the furnace. What will remain from all the human toil will be a few ingots. Their purpose evaporated like the water in the desert where they wait.
That's really cool!
Ian Deans 1
wow...that's an awful lot of metal out there.
AWAAlum 1
Having lived down in Phoenix for 20 years, I've driven past the boneyard often. It's never failed to give me goosebumps. Don't ask - I don't know why. But I've also wonder why it's there. Why do those acres and acres of desert serve as a graveyard? Are they preserved there for a specific purpose?
joel wiley 1
I 'de-mothball' a term? Replacement for a broken BUFF a while back.
joel wiley 1
That should be "is 'de-mothball'... stuck 's' key.
wylann 1
Some of it is temporary storage, often for foreign countries buying US hardware. Some of it is long term "emergency" storage. I forget the exact number but something like 20% of the aircraft there are in a state of storage that they could be un-mothballed in 72 hours and used in a major military need.

There are also (again, I don't know percentages) many that are bought by the military, but never activated, as part of the DoD procurement agreements (your tax dollars hard at work)!

The rest are mostly waiting to be chopped up.
Robert Hirst 1
There is another need: spare parts. Many parts such as panels, instruments and other removables are actually available for depot order. The rest is melted down after a time. BTW, the Pima Museum next door has amazing examples of aircraft of yesteryear and today. Get out there. If you do it right, you can book a tour of the boneyard with them.
skylab72 1
Recycle Reuse. The 309th has an effective "usability" protocol for recovery of parts and the remainder is recycled for valuable metals. On occasion, as the need arises, whole aircraft are resurrected when there is ROI for a particular use/mission.
Mike Williams 1
That airplane junkyard has been there for many years. And the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has supported the Titan ICBM sites back in the days. And Raytheon's missile plant has been near too. It was a target for the bad soviet Russians back in the "good old days". WE GOT LUCKY!
About a year ago a automobile junkyard had an explosion because a worker dismantled a military metal piece. Bad inspection.
Jim Etten 1
Very well done, sad, extremely powerful time lapse. Sad to see all these beautiful planes in this shape. A lot of memories. Thank you very much.
joel wiley 1
Your comment gave me pause, and reminded me of other airframes that due to accidents can combat losses never made it to the boneyard. Sobering to remember their purpose and need still exist.
Pete Schecter 1
very nicely done, dramatic lighting and great transitions...


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