Where all the airplanes go?

This probably would be a 10 year old child question but remarkably it isn't. Many people not so involved in aviation use to ask me that and some already have found the answer by them selves. A scrapyard. This would be the redundant answer and it isn't wrong at all, some of them go to scrapyards all over the world, in fact here in Portugal there are intentions to invest in the building of a new facility to that purpose next do the Beja Airbase and now civilian Airport.

Well the term scrapyard is correct but not entirely as for the aircraft go to this facilities to be stored in order to wait for the next owner that's why the remote areas chosen to this are areas normally with low rain rates during the year and low humidity so the aging process of the materials don't go to fast. With this pictures you will see the real number of stored airplanes and no, it is not possible to store them inside as they are so many so maintenance technicians have to conduct a "Long Term Storage Maintenance" where some fluids are replaced with "corrosion inhibitor oil" other are emptied and other filled to the top maximum, external breathers vents and holes get sealed and transparent surfaces as side windows and cockpit windows get covered to protect the interior and that surfaces as well after that they are put in the desert alongside with other aircraft waiting for their fate. Some after a period are recovered and get to the air again but the normal is to get all the components still available and with lifetime available to use out and them all remaining interiors go out also until the only remains are the structure itself, after that there it goes finally for scrap to recycle all the structural aluminium alloy.

Global Aviation Resource by Paul Dunn have a report of probably the most known facility related to aviation recycling refit and storage in the world. It's in Victorville California, here is a link to their website and a report with some aerial pictures of the site so you can get the main picture of the dimensions and numbers involved in this process.



© Paul Dunn - Global Aviation Resource
Global Aviation Resource photo


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