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Tucson’s Airplane Boneyard a Creepy Piece of History

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Transports in the desert.

There’s this really creepy, weird place down in Tucson, Ariz. Most people call it the Boneyard. The official name is the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, or AMARC. In short, it’s where airplanes go to die.

I just wrote a piece about it for Associated Content. That’s where you can get all the official-speak – how to get there, what to bring, what to see. But since this is my own blog, I want to give you a little something different, plus bigger photos!

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I'm guessing these are various types of C-135s.

I want you to picture thousands of acres. Then imagine rows of aircraft dating from post-WW II to practically present day. Dozens of B-52 Stratofortresses. Old Boeing 720s. Even the odd B-1B bomber! Helicopters, light transports, they’re all here baking in the sun.

This place just staggers my imagination. If this is where planes die, can you imagine how many are still flying? Can you imagine how many of these could find a second life better than being chopped up and turned into cans?

And the Boneyard is a starkly and oddly beautiful sight. If you’re riding the Fantasy Island mountain bikes trail network, the Boneyard is a backdrop for quite a bit of the ride. It makes me feel like Mad Max will soon coming roaring through the desert. No matter how many times I see it, I just wish I could spend a day walking among all these planes.

The Boneyard is a huge, impossible-to-miss piece of the military’s buying power and scope. I’m going to add a little something to that: Along I-17 and Highway 79, thousands of people pass decommissioned ballistic missile silos and never even notice them. In some ways, that’s more chilling than seeing thousands of aircraft strewn through the desert.

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4 thoughts on “Tucson’s Airplane Boneyard a Creepy Piece of History

  1. Vaishnavi Rajendran

    This place sounds cool. Umm….larger than life. All those planes, man, can you imagine the kind of fun small boys would have there?? Wow you have traveled a lot and I love reading your posts. The vicarious traveler in me loves it. This is only my second time here but I will definitely come back.

  2. admin

    Thanks for stopping by, Vaishnavi. Let me tell you, I must still be a small boy at heart because I could spend weeks poking my head into those planes!

    I’ll be sure to check your blog out thoroughly, too. Cheers!

  3. admin

    Barry, I’d be really surprised if there were any of that vintage. I haven’t seen any, and I’d bet they’d fetch a good chunk of change for Uncle Sam for private collectors or museums looking for exhibits or spare parts. Sorry!

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