The days of the jumbo jet are numbered. Since their debut in the late 1960s, Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 have been the undisputed queens of the sky.
Unfortunately, the size, four-engine dependability, and range of these big planes are no longer enough of a competitive advantage to justify their operating costs. These relics of the 20th century often end up in places such as the Southern California Logistics Airport — more commonly known as the “bone yard.”
The Southern California Logistics Airport is located in Victorville, California -- about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
Due to its location in the Mojave desert, Victorville's warm and dry climate make it the perfect place to keep ageing aeroplanes for extended periods of time.
Aeroplanes here have either been retired or declared 'surplus' -- not needed for immediate operations.
After they arrive, some planes are preserved so they can, one day, return to service with the airline or ...
Those planes have their windows covered in foil and their fluids drained as they prepare for to sit in the desert for the long haul.
After the valuable parts, such as the electronics, interior trim, and other reusable components have been harvested, the remaining pieces are chopped up and sold for scrap.
But as the average age of their 747 fleet near 20 years, British Airways is slowly retiring its older birds.
In addition to BA, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, and Cathay Pacific have sent their 747s to Victorville.
As a result, many of its older McDonnell Douglas DC/MD-10, and MD-11 freighters have been retired to the desert.
The bone yard is an ever-changing aviation landscape. As old tenants of broken up or sold, new arrivals fresh from mainline service are flown in.
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