When a plane dies, where does it go? The fate of graveyard planes

Just like everything in life, airplanes also have their own ages. They retire and they move to their graveyard, the aircraft graveyard, where planes sit still and silent in a solemn scene.

Why and when would an airplane move there?

Credits: Getty Images

1. To get maintained

What we actually mean when we say an airplane dies is that it ran out of service and is unable to go on with flying anymore. As we know, planes are the best engineered things in the world, but it’s not possible for a plane to be in business when there’s a defect to it.

That’s when it’s time for an airplane to move to the graveyard, which means that many airplanes there have a quiet possible opportunity to be back into business again when they get the proper and precise maintenance they need.

2. To get smelted and scrapped

Airplanes in graveyard are considered to be a source of spare parts and scrap for smelting, and by that they support other planes to keep flying and to keep in service.

Parts that get detached from the plane may get reused or resold again after checking their condition. They are also kept as reserves before being placed in business again.

3. To become a museum

Credits: nationalinterest.org

There is also another more joyful end for some planes and that is museums. For instance, the Boeing B-29 superfortress that dropped the “Bockscar” bomb was actually in graveyard before it was destined to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, and also the “Enola Gay” plane at the National Air and Space Museum.

4. To become a… home?

Credits: Dailymail.com

Yes, sometimes they are reused and resold or maybe destined to museums, but some other rare and extraordinary times they are destined home to be part of it, a major and substantial part of the home.

That’s what happened with the Boeing 747 decommissioned plane, it literally became home!

In the Santa Monica mountains lies the 747 wing house whose owner spent years and years looking for the right spot to place the 747 wings in after she spent about 50’000 dollars to get the unused plane from the Davis-Monthan Air Force Boneyard in Tucson.

The woman who owns the wing house wanted it to be feminine and curved so the architect of this house thought “Why try to build a wing when you could appropriate a wing?“.

credits: archdaily.com

The process of storing airplanes, whether in its whole shape or torn apart, isn’t easy at all. It actually requires a lot of money and highly precise conditions for storing, but what is really impressive about airplanes are their sustainability, their highly important role they play even when they are retired and out of service, and how they keep on providing other vital services than the ones they were used to.


  • http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1881770_1881787_1881783,00.html
  • https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/usa-canada/inside-airplane-graveyards-planes-go-21379185
  • https://www.mylondon.news/lifestyle/travel/hidden-abandoned-plane-graveyard-london-16756592
  • https://www.archdaily.com/165172/747-wing-house-david-hertz-architects
  • https://gettyimages.com (Cover Image)

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