Sunday, June 22, 2014

Boneyard Tour

One of the coolest parts of the visit to the Pima Air and Space Museum was the bus tour of AMARG, known officially at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, and formerly known as The Boneyard. In sum, this is that great toy store in the desert where old aircraft got to be preserved, sometimes to fly again, other times to be parted out to keep newer aircraft flying. Currently, there are roughly 4,500 aircraft of all types here now, all covered in preservative spraylat, waiting for the day that they are needed again, either wholly or in part.

They've got C-130s in there, everything from old A models right up through newer J models.
They've even got a few with skis, for use in the Antarctic.
Many will eventually go on to the air forces of other countries or be repurposed for civilian use.

Almost all of the remaining F-4 Phantoms in the world are here now.
Same for the remaining F-14 Tomcats.
And A-4s. Lots of A-4s.
They got A-10s. (And they're making room for more as the Air Force is getting ready to retire the lot of them.)
They've got lots of Lockheed P-3 Orions in there.
And it looks like they'd got most of the Navy's 188 S-3 Vikings in here now, too.
All those "War Hoovers"...

But what surprised me was all of the Beechcraft T-34 Mentor trainers that they have in there--116 T-34C models and a handful of Bs.
No wonder I can't find one at a decent price--the Air Force is still sitting on a majority of the fleet!
But someone is getting some. These are being crated for export, destination unknown.
There's got to be a way that I can get one of those.

Stay tuned for Part Two to follow--I got lots more.

9 comments:

  1. Yep, lots of history there... However the Japanese are STILL flying F-4s as interceptors and that is the number one set of orders for a Japanese pilot! :-)

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    1. What? It's not "Kamikaze for the Emperor" any more?

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  2. Just discovered that the street view feature on Google Maps allows you to "walk" through the Pima Air Museum outside airplanes. Not quite the real thing, but at least it's air conditioned.

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    1. Yeah, but even though it was blisteringly hot, I got to walk up and touch 'em. (And so long as I watched where I put my hands, I didn't get burned.)

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    2. Oh, it doesn't change my mind about visiting in person by any stretch. In fact it probably sealed my checkbooks fate!

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  3. So, while taking the Tour, did you happen to run into OldNFO by the P-3s with his Checkbook in his hands? ; )

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    1. A lot of the P-3s did seem to have little signs on them saying "Old NFO was here." But then again, so do most of the biplanes at the Smithsonian. ;-)

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  4. Nice indeed. Releasing the Mentors to the general aviation community would be nice, as would the A4s and others. Certainly a better fate than scrap, and they'd get more for the aircraft as well.

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  5. Major amount of history is located there

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