Friday, March 9 – Today we visited the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) or commonly refereed to as the Aircraft Boneyard. This is the area where old military aircraft are stored here in the Tucson desert. The Military chose this location because of its dry environment, hard pack desert floor, and the presence of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The aircraft parked on these storage fields would make the Boneyard the third largest air force in the world. There are currently more than 3000 airplanes stored here. All the planes are Vietnam era or newer. Older aircraft are used as static displays, such as those at Air Bases, or are destroyed. Since 911, it has become very difficult for private citizens, states, or other public groups to obtain retired military aircraft.
There is an area where they are testing which materials are the best for covering stored aircraft.
Just about any military aircraft used since the Vietnam War can be found here. B-1 bombers, B-52 bombers, helicopters, F-16, F-14, huge military transport planes like the C5a Galaxy, jump jets as well as unique prototypes which never made it into service.
Some aircraft are stored for possible reuse, metal reclamation and others to be stripped for spare parts. You see aircraft in new condition wrapped in protective plastic, planes stripped for parts, and planes in the process of being cut-up and destroyed.
Paul enjoyed the hour bus tour but was a little disappointed in the tour over-all. He was looking forward to this experience for a long time and it just didn't live up to his expectations for some reason. It might have been because of post 911 security that required we remain on the tour bus at all times.
We chose not to tour the Pima Air & Space Museum today. We may come back, in a day or so, but we've been through several air museums.
Just down the road from these tours is the Saguaro National Park (East). There are two sections of the Park. Our campground is next to the Westside Park, and we toured it a couple days ago and have hiked there almost daily. The East park is very similar in appearance but may have a more dense population of cactus and desert flora. We drove the 8-mile loop stopping often to walk among the cactus.
It should be noted that one is not charged for visiting the Westside Park, but a $10 admission is charged for the East park, although with the Senior Pass it also was free. Both Parks are beautiful. We enjoyed driving and hiking in both areas.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!