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Monday, February 6, 2012

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Marti's eyes glazed over.  It was one of those things you do for love and she must really love me...because I took her to another museum, this time the Pima Air and Space Museum.

 Like the good trooper she is, she came along and made the best of it.  I know exactly how she feels, I feel the same way every time we go shopping together, she's a shopper, I'm a buyer. 

The museum has a fabulous collection of over 300 military and civilian aircraft, even some from foreign countries like several Russian MIGs.  I love looking at the World War II aircraft, some of those are my favorites like this B-29.  My dad flew on and maintained these aircraft during the war.

One of the interseting things about this museum is you can get right up to the aircraft and look inside.  Here is the view looking up into the bombay of the B-29.

The main reason we went to the museum was to get on the bus tour of the aircraft "Boneyard", where over 4000 aircraft from all the military branches (even the Coast Guard!) are stored. 

The planes are kept for a variety of reasons: they are excess, have been superceeded by a newer model, are kept for parts to keep other aircraft flying, (like the B-52 bomber of which the very newest one was built in 1962 and plans are to keep about 50 of them flying for another 50 years!) or are destined for scrapping. 

One other reason some of the aircraft are stored.  They become flying drones for target practice.

Here is one of several hundred F-4 Phantoms.  It will be taken to an area where it will be restored to flying status.  It will then have remote controls installed into it so it can be flown without a pilot in the cockpit.  It will be used for training new pilots and after about 25 flights where it is a target but not fired upon, it gets fired upon for real and shot down.  By the time it is destroyed, another F-4 is readied to become the next target drone.

Aircraft that have no further military use are given the dreaded "D" painted on the nose with an "X" through it, for destruction and scraping.

It is an amazing tour to see all the kinds of aircraft stored here.

Also stored here are the jigs and tooling for aircraft that are currently in use but no longer in production.  If a national emergency occured where more aircraft are needed the equipment can be reused and production can be resumed.

A few more random pictures from around the Boneyard.

Unlike most government operations, the Boneyard, officially know as the 309th Aircraft Maintenance And Repair Group (AMARG) makes a profit from the sale of scraped aircraft to make it self sustaining.  Now if other government operations could learn from them...

The tour starts at the Pima Air and Space Museum.  It is about an hour and a half long on a nice, air conditioned bus, with a tour guide.  The cost is $7 and requires a picture ID.  Lot of fun to see your tax dollars at work!  ;c)

Now I owe Marti an extended shopping trip...

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Very cool, I would love to see that some day! Thanks for the tour...

  2. my eyes have glazed over too..sorry Paul..planes must be a guy thing!..I can remember going to the air museum in Tillamook..Doug loved it..I thought it was okay!..
    have fun shopping!!

  3. Cool couple of tours, hope those Burgers didn't come back to haunt you for a second time. I'm with you, there soooooo over rated.

  4. Thanks for the tour. It is interesting to see our government working efficiently;o))

  5. The museum has changed since we visited in the '90s ... and so has the tour of the Boneyard; looks like it was more extensive than the one we took.

    Perhaps you can take Marti a patch of cacti-filled desert ... I recall reading her new-found interest in all things cacti ... might save your wallet some :-)))

  6. ***yawn***.. oops pardon me :) Pretty cool that you have access to things like that. Not my cup of tea, but George says that while you and he could spend the day there, Marti and I would go to get :)

  7. The boneyard looks very putting it on my places to go list.

  8. Now that's the type of museums I like!!

  9. Yup. Definitely a guy thing. I'd go shopping :)

  10. Sounds like Jerry and myself...that is one of the reasons I love photography. Jerry loves doing any and all museums and me...not so much. But, if I take my camera I am in another world and then I can tolerate the museum, uh, I mean enjoy myself at the museum.