Thursday, July 26, 2007

AMARC aka "The Boneyard"

While I was down in Tucson, I got to visit AMARC, Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Center. It is basically a big area of the Desert in Tucson, AZ where the military stores all it's extra planes until they are needed to fly again or they get scraped. As of right now there are approximately 4,200 planes in AMARC. Think about that number... of aircraft! Holy shit that is a lot!

The first section of pictures are planes that are technically still flyable. They have just been put into long term storage. Periodically (Every few years,) they take them out, check that they are still intact, wash them, then reseal them and put them back out in the desert.

These are some of the very last flyable F-14s in existence... but probably for only a few months. The only other country in the world that flys F-14s is Iran. Because the F-14s that are out in AMARC have to possibility to supply parts to the Iranian F-14s, they have all been ordered to be destroyed. From what I under stand it takes about a day to "dismantle" an F-14.

Holy smokes there are a lot of F-4's out here. My estimate is in thousands... but I don't know. Most of these still flyable F-4's will end up being made into drones and shot down as targets.

The Two pictures above are all T-37's. I am pretty sure that every jet I flew in training is out here somewhere. I hope they end up flying again some how.

Hueys! I am not worried about these guys at all. I am sure that we will sell them to some South American country... I thought about trading transmissions with some of these guys though... Also, note the impressive number of F-4's behind the Huey. I think there is no way to exagerate how many F-4's are out here.

Now for the "never going to fly again" section. These planes are all either being cannibalized for parts or are slowly making there way to the crushing and shredding equipment for processing.

F-111's! Though they were crazy on maintenance, I have heard from a somewhat reliable source that when they are completely clean they can play around with MACH-4 type speeds. I don't know that for sure, but they did have a "Skin Temperature Limit" so that if you flew to fast for to long, the friction of the air on the skin of the aircraft would make the skin to hot... It would seem that must be an impressive speed.

These C-141s are just waiting to be chopped up and made into popcans. They cut them up by taking a big crane and dropping a slab of plate steel vertically. Then the plane is towed off by a scrap metal company.

F-18's being cannibalized. B-52's and B-1's in the back ground getting the same done to them.

This picture is truly DEATH ROW for airplanes. Click on this picture and zoom in to see the details. By the time you read this the F-14's on the right side of the picture will be nothing more than entries in log books and stories in bars. In the center you can see chopped up B-52 sections. They are cut up and left out there for a few months so the Russians can count them with satellites then they are scrapped also. The B-1's are probably just being cannibalized right now...

C-5's I have always thought these things on the ground look more like ships at anchor than real airplanes. Either way, they are impressive... for now.

This is the back half of a fuselage of a PBY Catalina. It was a WW2 amphibious patrol plane.

All sorts of shit in here...

These look like T-2 Buckeye cockpits as well as some A-7 or A-8 cockpits

The craziest part about seeing all this is that every one of those planes out there had had countless life and death struggles happen in its cockpit. Aircrews have risked their lives to bring them home, maintenance guys have sacrificed blood, sweat, and little kids baseball games along with countless anniversaries all to keep them in the air... now they all end up here.


amateur.sophist said...

It's safe to say that we would be officially unstoppable given the resources of that desert

(did they let you just wonder around in there? did they check your pockets afterwards? I've been looking into a second-hand air-speed indicator for the Fiat)

Notorious said...

They keep a pretty tight control on things when you are out there with the regular public tours. There was no way that I could have gotten anything useful from the planes in AMARC. The place that I think would be much more lucrative as far as parts would be all the independant scrap metal companies and aircraft parts dealers. They have piles of airplane chunks sitting around. There has to be working parts on most of those!

Notorious said...

I was thinking about it, pretty much anyone with this desert would be unstopable... there are thousands of fighters, bombers, cargo and patrol planes out there... It is a vertual air armada that just needs some jet fuel!

Chestocrates said...

We could fly to secure the fuel supply which would allow us to continue flying to secure the fuel supply.(forever)

Lois Lane said...

Where are the Greece pics?!?!