Aircraft Boneyards

Access Denied

An opportunity missed is a loss for many. As we spend time in Arizona I have made it a point to capture as many images of the aircraft graveyards adjacent to Davis Monthan Air Force Base. These are privately owned businesses that acquired surplus aircraft for many reasons…resale, parts and recycle the raw materials. At some locations there may be a single aircraft and in others there are rows upon rows of aircraft in various stages of dismantle.

As a Veteran and as an Aviation Photographer these places are a treasure trove of memories and endless imaging possibilities. The aircraft themselves are a part of history and have a story to tell, but more importantly those who gave so much to build, maintain and fly them.

I am quite aware of the potential hazards of poking around these hulks. Not only are there the dangers associated with the aircraft but also those that Mother Nature provides…poisonous snakes, spiders and vegetation that pokes and scratches. These things contribute to why these aircraft are secured behind high fences and locked gates. But it is also an opportunity missed by those who possess this pieces of aviation and military history.

Photographers like me would be willing to sign a waiver and pay a nominal fee for access to these lots to capture images of these hulks. Most of us would be willing to comply with common sense rules and safety requirements to gain access during the golden hours in the morning and evening. When scrap metal prices are low…maybe capitalizing on an income stream utilizing the same resource is both practical and profitable.