As big/fast airplanes become obsolete, they are typically just parked somewhere. The lucky ones get a second life like the last DC-7 produced which is being turned into a restaurant in Florida. It was built in 1956 and retired in 2006 after flying 33,000 hours. After 50 years of service, it has earned the rest(aurant), I guess.
One of the best-known “boneyards” of retired aircraft is at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz. Having lived in Tucson, albeit decades ago, I can vouch for the “Wow” factor of seeing acres of military and civilian aircraft – including helicopters - just sitting there in the Sonoran desert heat. It’s the dry air and dense desert sand that makes storing old aircraft in the Southwest so practical. Besides military aircraft, Davis-Monthan also stores aircraft for other federal agencies, including more than 10 of NASA’s aerospace vehicles. They even have the “control car”of a non-rigid Navy airship that was operated in the late 1950s (see the June 15th blog for more about the Navy’s airship program.)
Other airports/air bases that store older aircraft are in California, Nevada and Texas
Some of the aircraft at Davis-Monthan are so well preserved that it seems like they could be in queue for take off in just a matter of days. Others are missing parts, which just makes them look even more derelict.
|A T-33 Shooting Star in front of a B-47 Stratojet bide their time at Davis-Monthan AFB|
|The late Gerry Beck looks over the Squadron's Mustang after it was trucked to his company, Tri-State Aviation in 2004 after crashing at an air show in May of that year.|
In 2009, when the restored and flying Mustang was introduced to the public at EAA AirVenture, it won the Phoenix Award.
|A recent photo of the Mustang, taken when it made its historic visit to Tuskegee this spring.|
The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and the Mustang will be at the Tri-State Airport Balloon Fest in Angola, Indiana on July 7-8.
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven 501c3 non-profit organization that operates under the auspices of the Commemorative Air Force. For more information, please visit redtail.org.