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(io9)   Pics from some of the world's largest aircraft graveyards   (io9.com) divider line 35
    More: Sad, United States, mirages, Marana, reformation, Lagos, aircraft, Southern California Logistics Airport, airliners  
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4073 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Jun 2013 at 8:55 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-06 07:38:22 AM
Is that a 787 Dreamliner? I guess those batteries really were a big problem.
 
2013-06-06 07:55:46 AM
Was Roswell a SAC base at one time?

Cool link!
 
2013-06-06 08:10:16 AM
I don't get these. Id think just those frames would be worth a fortune to refit with new engines/electronics. At the very least isn't the scrap value of air craft grade aluminum significant?
 
2013-06-06 08:18:16 AM
Your tax dollars at work.
 
2013-06-06 08:43:43 AM

NickelP: I don't get these. Id think just those frames would be worth a fortune to refit with new engines/electronics. At the very least isn't the scrap value of air craft grade aluminum significant?


I wonder the same thing when I see even automotive junkyards overrun by woods here.  Scrap iron is high as well, has been for years now.  Aircraft grade aluminum is certainly worth more.  Why is this suff rotting?  Who owns it and why aren't they cashing in?

Now the military ones might make sense, those may contain secrets that need kept, but why keep civilian air junk for decades?
 
2013-06-06 08:59:05 AM

nekom: NickelP: I don't get these. Id think just those frames would be worth a fortune to refit with new engines/electronics. At the very least isn't the scrap value of air craft grade aluminum significant?

I wonder the same thing when I see even automotive junkyards overrun by woods here.  Scrap iron is high as well, has been for years now.  Aircraft grade aluminum is certainly worth more.  Why is this suff rotting?  Who owns it and why aren't they cashing in?

Now the military ones might make sense, those may contain secrets that need kept, but why keep civilian air junk for decades?



They usually remove or "demil" all the classified stuff (demil = let the maintenance crew beat the shiat out of it).
 
2013-06-06 09:09:46 AM
Yeah I dont get it either... it cant cost more to cut them up and haul away the pieces than it does to just leave them there.... does it?
 
2013-06-06 09:14:19 AM

Dancin_In_Anson: Was Roswell a SAC base at one time?

Cool link!


At one time it was the largest SAC base.
 
2013-06-06 09:28:33 AM
The only thing that I can think of is that airplanes are rather large but not heavy in other words the manpower required to dismantle the sheet aluminum shrinks the profit margins.  It doesn't make much sense though because the wing frames and fuel tanks are pretty substantial.  I bet the fire retardant materials make them pretty hazardous to just start cutting apart too.  These are just wild ass guesses though.
 
2013-06-06 09:29:44 AM

spelletrader: At one time it was the largest SAC base.


I probably knew this as I know they had an Atlas F wing (same as Dyess 20 miles south of me) but in my morning haze I saw the Christmas tree and never made the connection. I was thinking fighter base but that's Cannon, right?

Oh waitress, one more coffee please!
 
2013-06-06 09:32:16 AM

Alonjar: Yeah I dont get it either... it cant cost more to cut them up and haul away the pieces than it does to just leave them there.... does it?


You'd be surprised.  Pulling the planes apart and dividing up the metals by type is labor intensive, plus probably requires support equipment to keep the plane from collapsing as you take it apart.  It's much easier for most companies to just drop it and run.  Now, the stuff at DM is all "mothballed" rather than destroyed.  They pull out the important components and store them and preserve the rest.  In theory, you could pull them out, clean them up and use them again.  They're actually doing that with some T-38s, remanufacturing them and selling them to Korea I think.
 
2013-06-06 09:33:52 AM

ChrisDe: Is that a 787 Dreamliner? I guess those batteries really were a big problem.


Which picture?  I highly doubt that a 787 was put to the desert already.  Most if not all of the planes were stored on tarmacs at airports while they waited for a battery fix.
 
2013-06-06 09:37:47 AM
All those old American Airlines 737s are our backup-backup-backup Air Force.  Just in case WWIII goes badly.
 
2013-06-06 09:40:17 AM
What amazed me was seeing whole fields of (i guess) former airline carriers planes all just sitting there...

Seems to me that a start up airline company could easily pick up a bunch of them and setup some kind of economic domestic airline, maybe even only worrying about doing a small region.
 
2013-06-06 09:58:26 AM
I see a lot of prebuilt livable space there.
 
2013-06-06 10:14:12 AM
I see the worlds most awesome paintball field....
 
2013-06-06 10:25:35 AM

Fark Me with a Chainsaw: I see the worlds most awesome paintball field....


It would certainly make for one awesome scenario game.  As far as scenario paintball goes, the more junk strewn around, the better.
 
2013-06-06 10:36:12 AM

Minarets: ChrisDe: Is that a 787 Dreamliner? I guess those batteries really were a big problem.

Which picture?  I highly doubt that a 787 was put to the desert already.  Most if not all of the planes were stored on tarmacs at airports while they waited for a battery fix.


I was being facetious, with all their recent troubles you know, and well, they don't all work.
 
2013-06-06 10:38:08 AM

ChrisDe: Minarets: ChrisDe: Is that a 787 Dreamliner? I guess those batteries really were a big problem.

Which picture?  I highly doubt that a 787 was put to the desert already.  Most if not all of the planes were stored on tarmacs at airports while they waited for a battery fix.

I was being facetious, with all their recent troubles you know, and well, they don't all work.


Ah.  Sarcasm detector is apparently broken this morning.
 
2013-06-06 11:09:00 AM

NickelP: I don't get these. Id think just those frames would be worth a fortune to refit with new engines/electronics. At the very least isn't the scrap value of air craft grade aluminum significant?


As someone else mentioned, those military aircraft are sitting around as part of contingency plan. In some cases, sister aircraft are still flying, and these have been scavenged for parts, and could be scavenged for more. In others, they seal 'em up as best they can, stick them in an arid environment, and keep plans in place to make them airworthy again in case of a new global conflict. Imagine if, say, the UK had these sort of reserves at the start of WWII. Yes, the US and others sent materiel, but it would have been nice to just slap an engine and guns in and go to town.
 
2013-06-06 11:19:13 AM

Alonjar: Yeah I dont get it either... it cant cost more to cut them up and haul away the pieces than it does to just leave them there.... does it?


Spare parts.  Lots of the aircraft models in those photos are still in use by the US or our allies.  If the particular aircraft model isn't, then the engines, avionics, radar, or other components are likely still in use on other platforms.

Aircraft - particularly military ones - aren't like cars.  You can't simply go down to Autozone and pick up a flux capacitor for your Block 15 F-16A.

At least in the case of the US sites, they're stored in locations where the environment is so friendly you can simply park outside and there's a minimal amount of impact from the elements and simply go pull a part when the need arises.  Storing in this fashion is vastly cheaper than disassembling, cataloging the parts, and then storing them somewhere else.

In more than a few cases, newer aircraft stored in the graveyards have been refurbished and sold.
 
2013-06-06 11:22:11 AM

KellyX: What amazed me was seeing whole fields of (i guess) former airline carriers planes all just sitting there...

Seems to me that a start up airline company could easily pick up a bunch of them and setup some kind of economic domestic airline, maybe even only worrying about doing a small region.


I bet most of those have reached the end of their fatigue life.  Combat aircraft are often retired for budgetary or combat effectiveness (there's something newer and better) reasons.  Airlines are in the money making business, so they fly their crap until it wears out.
 
2013-06-06 11:27:15 AM
I've visited the one near San Andreas. They actually offer flight lessons there, although you have to do it without an instructor...

/cool link
 
2013-06-06 11:28:11 AM

NickelP: I don't get these. Id think just those frames would be worth a fortune to refit with new engines/electronics.


Frame stress on older planes is not worth the risk. You can never trust those structures again. At least, i doubt the FAA would let them fly again. Maybe sell them in Africa or something, but thats about it.

KellyX: What amazed me was seeing whole fields of (i guess) former airline carriers planes all just sitting there...

Seems to me that a start up airline company could easily pick up a bunch of them and setup some kind of economic domestic airline, maybe even only worrying about doing a small region.


They would get killed on fuel costs. Over time, you spend more money on fuel than you do the plane, so its better financial sense over the long run to buy a new plane with good fuel use than get a cheap older plane that sucks down gas.


A Boeing 737-800w will kill an older 737-300 on fuel. Same for a newer 747-8 vs an older 747-200
 
2013-06-06 11:58:25 AM

Electromax: I've visited the one near San Andreas. They actually offer flight lessons there, although you have to do it without an instructor...


And if your instructor-free lesson doesn't work out, they just add your plane to the pile?
 
2013-06-06 12:18:36 PM
Would love to have a few days to wander Davis-Monthan AFB and just explore the old jets, but since most are stripped it would be anti-climatic for sure.

B-58 Hustler would be my first stop.
 
2013-06-06 12:32:38 PM

LemSkroob: Frame stress on older planes is not worth the risk. You can never trust those structures again. At least, i doubt the FAA would let them fly again.


It's not that they're necessarily worn out (though some, like that A320, probably are), but that they probably need a major maintenance event like a D check in order to continue to fly. Those are bloody expensive though, so if the aircraft is going to be replaced anyway, the end of a D check cycle is usually retirement time.

It's not exactly unheard of for aircraft at these storage sites to be brought back into service, but most of those airliners are outdated enough they probably aren't going to get used for anything but parts.
 
2013-06-06 12:41:18 PM

StrikitRich: B-58 Hustler would be my first stop.


That thing is art, not an airplane.
 
2013-06-06 02:35:31 PM
On the civilian side, there is park for scrap and then there is parked due to market conditions with hopes to fly/sell the plane.  Right after 9/11, a bunch of brand new planes were parked since the airlines didn't need them and there was some tax advantage to delaying putting them into service.  Those have all since started flying for the original airline, or were sold on to other airlines.

The ones pictured with the engines/windshields covered and all doors closed might fly again.

The ones being scrapped will be stripped of all parts that can be sold before being cut up for scrap.  Just like the military planes at DM, it is cheaper/easier to leave the parts in place until needed.  Once all the usable parts are removed, they wait until the scrap metal prices are favorable before chopping the planes up.  A 747 can be completely chopped up into recyclable pieces in just a few days.  Search Youtube for videos of the process.
 
2013-06-06 02:58:28 PM

Barricaded Gunman: Electromax: I've visited the one near San Andreas. They actually offer flight lessons there, although you have to do it without an instructor...

And if your instructor-free lesson doesn't work out, they just add your plane to the pile?


Nah you just respawn. Was a bad joke:  http://en.wikigta.org/wiki/Verdant_Meadows_Aircraft_Graveyard
 
2013-06-06 03:10:08 PM
I always wanted to get a flight stick off an old fighter jet and retro fit it to my stick shift.

/DANGER ZONE!!!
 
2013-06-06 05:12:04 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Your tax dollars at work.


And my tax Forints too!

img.gawkerassets.com

MALEV was the Hungarian national airline that went bankrupt last year, when the European Commission ordered it to repay the funding that it illegally received from the government, about 171 million USD, which is a big sum for my small country. The day after the bankruptcy was announced the perfectly good Boeings, Airbuses, and Fokkers were flying into their graveyards. Nice to see them once again.
 
2013-06-06 07:14:58 PM

Electromax: Barricaded Gunman: Electromax: I've visited the one near San Andreas. They actually offer flight lessons there, although you have to do it without an instructor...

And if your instructor-free lesson doesn't work out, they just add your plane to the pile?

Nah you just respawn. Was a bad joke:  http://en.wikigta.org/wiki/Verdant_Meadows_Aircraft_Graveyard



Oh, for craps' sake... I played that game and still didn't get the reference.
 
2013-06-06 07:31:15 PM

akuma976: I always wanted to get a flight stick off an old fighter jet and retro fit it to my stick shift.

/DANGER ZONE!!!


The one used on many, many aircraft was the B-8.
http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/ottopistolgrips.php

For a lower cost option, Thrustmaster makes an excellent replica of the A-10 grip for their Warthog PC flight controls, and the older (no longer sold new) Thrustmaster Cougar was a great repop of the F-16.

I've got the eject handle from an F-16. Trying to figure out where to use it in the Chevelle.  Maybe I'll put it on the passenger side and warn anyone who gets in "Don't touch that!"
 
xcv
2013-06-06 07:38:41 PM

Egoy3k: The only thing that I can think of is that airplanes are rather large but not heavy in other words the manpower required to dismantle the sheet aluminum shrinks the profit margins.  It doesn't make much sense though because the wing frames and fuel tanks are pretty substantial.  I bet the fire retardant materials make them pretty hazardous to just start cutting apart too.  These are just wild ass guesses though.


That why there's places like South Asia where all the shipbreakers are. Float, haul, crash those legal for export planes onto some deserted beach or wasteland. Safety and environmental standards are as nonexistent as cheap labor is plentiful.
 
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