From afar, the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) looks like an airplane modeler’s wet dream. Lots of miniature flying machines just sitting there, waiting to be cast in a suspended animation scene. Amusingly enough, they aren’t toys. Instead, they’re real, decommissioned birds awaiting their future fate.
The place, more popularly known as the Boneyard, is where old military airplanes go to die. Reputed to be the world’s largest aircraft cemetery, the airbase covers a sprawling 2,600 acres of desert. It’s located at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, chosen for its high-altitude and arid climate that slows deterioration for the aircrafts. Apart from being a massive plane yard, AMARG also fixes up some planes, refurbishes others or prepares them for land transport.
For the first time, many of us are getting a satellite view of the facility, courtesy of Google Earth. And it truly is grand, just like how I imagined my adult backyard will look like when I was a child. Ah… the disappointment of growing up.
Home to over 4,200 retired military aircraft and aerospace vehicles, the site has been used in numerous films, the latest being Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Planes currently on the lot include F-14 Tomcats (yep, the ones from Top Gun) and Cold War-era B-52 bombers. I’m sure airplane buffs will have an enjoyable time identifying silhouettes visible from the new high-res Google Map (screenshot above).
The cool thing is that the Boneyard is actually open to the public. Pima Air and Space Museum, which is situated nearby, runs daily tours.
[Google Earth via BBC News]