Re: Help: Redundant Civil Aircraft Storage

Date:         22 Feb 99 03:30:37 
From:         Lukas Lusser <>
Organization: Europainstitut Basel
References:   1 2
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Hi all,

there are several places where you can see old aircraft parked - most of
them are within driving distance from Phoenix (PHX), Arizona. A general
note: Most of these storage facilities are anything but "deserted
junkyards" They ususally belong to firms that earn their money by
storing, maintaining, rebuilding or parting out old airliners, and
access to their premisses is generally a "scarce good". Some of the
parts lying around may still be worth more money than your entire two
week vacation in the Western US costs, and the facilities' customers
(aka the owners of the planes) are not at all amused by the idea of
tourists and souvenir-hunters walking and climbing around their planes!
So: Always ask for permission to access any such site, never climb, i.e.
break into one, take a no for a no, and bring along your tele-lenses for
the latter case.

The storage airports are:

-> Already mentionned by Stephen: Pinal Air Park (aka "Marana") on I-10
from PHX to Tucson (TUS). Private operation run by Evergreen
International. As they are also rebuilding and scrapping aircraft, they
do not give access to visitors anymore. Official reasoning: "Our
customers do not want to have pictures of their derelict old planes
appearing in the press - if we'd let you in, we'd loose some of our
customers." A point that's hard to counter... But a little footnote,
though: They used to give access - provided you had arranged for a visit
well in advance - until about 7 years ago, but then the ramper who
always guided visitors in his spare time died, and no one else showed
the same spirit and dedication to enthusiasts as he did.

-> Tucson International Airport: Some airliners are in storage on the
Western edge of the airfield. Some pictures are possible from the fence,
and occasionally you may find someone who is willing and able to give
you access to one or two of the storage ramps. No guarantee, though,
especially as the airport is at the same time an active international

-> Avra Valley (between Tucson and Pinal Air Park). A few Convairliners,
DC-4s and L-749 (among them the active MATS Constellation) are usually
parked near the north end of the airport. I found that access was
possible as recently as 1998 - check with the duty officer before
walking into the airfield.

-> Chandler Memorial Airport, 10 Miles south of PHX, 2-3 Miles east of
the I-10:  Mainly DC-4, DC-6, DC-7 that were used as freighters and
firebombers, occasionally some Lockheed Hercules. Check in the office in
the westernmost hangar before accessing the ramp.

-> Goodyear, Arizona (West of PHX). DC-10s waiting for conversion to
DC-10F and/or MD-10F Freighters. No access to the storage ramp, but
limited possibilities to shoot some tele shots from a distance.

-> Kingman, Arizona (circa halfway between Flagstaff, Arizona and Las
Vegas, Nevada). Many commuter airliners, some B737, L1011s, B727 etc.,
mostly for parting out. Occasionally limited access to the ramp, some
planes parked really close to one of the old-fashioned, low fences. Best
time for some snap shots with the camera in the late afternoon (sun in
the back).

-> Las Vegas McCarren International Airport. Several ramps with stored
airliners at the western edge of the airport. No access, but limited
possibilities for viewing and photos from the perimeter. Planes usually
parked very "thightly".

-> And finally: Mohave Airport, northeast of Los Angeles / Palmdale:
Convair 880s, Convair 990s, B707, B747, L1011s, some junked B737, L188,
B727 etc.  Acccess can be arranged through the airport management at a
cost of US$ 20 per 20 minutes, but for that amount the airport even
provides you with a air conditioned minivan including driver.

Hope it helps, there are of course many more airfields, e.g. in Texas
and New Mexico, where airliners are being stored, but I never visited
these - yet ; - )

Lukas Lusser
jetstream swiss aviation magazine at
Bird Publishing's Ultimate Aviation Marketplace at