This summer, we invite you to discover and visit the different places of our tracker to learn more about the places and monuments of cultural and historical importance in our region.
The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309th AMARG), more commonly known as the Boneyard, is the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world. The Boneyard is located in Tucson, Arizona at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
What is an airplane boneyard? An airplane boneyard is a area for storing out-of-service aircraft. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Boneyard takes care of nearly 4,000 aircraft. The original purpose of the Boneyard was to store surplus planes from the Department of Defense and Coast Guard. Today it stores decommissioned planes from all branches of the US government. They also stock US-made planes from other countries.
You might be wondering why there is such a large storage facility located in Tucson. Well, Tucson’s humidity levels are low, so it’s great for preventing corrosion of metals. The ground is also hard enough to prevent planes from sinking into the ground.
The Boneyard receives around 300 aircraft and puts 50 to 100 aircraft back into service each year. (1) The Boneyard also transforms old fighter jets into aerial target drones. It is also an auxiliary installation of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
There are 4 types of aircraft stored in the Davis-Monthan AFB Boneyard:
When planes are stored at the Boneyard, all weapons, classified equipment, clocks and nameplates are removed. Each aircraft is thoroughly washed to remove any corrosive elements such as salt from the aircraft. The fuel system is drained and then given a protective coating of light oil. The exterior of the aircraft is sprayed with a protective coating called Spraylat which is a vinyl coating that seals the interior of the aircraft and helps regulate the interior temperature of the aircraft. Then, the plane is towed to its storage location in the cemetery.
In Tucson you are in luck because you can take a little tour of the Boneyard through the Pima Air and Space Museum. Other aircraft cemeteries in the United States are restricted and prohibited. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, in-person tours of the Boneyard are suspended indefinitely. However, there is another option. You can Check out 360-degree aerial footage of the Boneyard here. Scroll down to the 360˚ image on the page. Enjoy!
This press release was produced by the Pima County Public Library. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.