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How Long Are Aircraft Stored In The Desert?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:13 am

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It says this plane has been stored since 1971! A-3s have been retired from service since 1991. What is the point of keeping it in storage anymore? I'm not a fan of the axeman but was just curious....
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RE: How Long Are Aircraft Stored In The Desert?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:02 am

Depends. Some are stored until they are sold or reactivated. Others are stored until they are broken up for parts. As for Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, there are many reasons that airplanes are stored long term. While many are parted out to maintain the active fleet, others are stored for other reasons. Each branch of the services has a unit that documents that branch's history-some aircraft are designated to be preserved for the historical record or to be loaned to museums, municipalities or military legion posts for display. AMARC stores aircraft for other government customers than the military, including the Smithsonian Institution. Boeing's 367-80 and an early United Airlines 727-100 were residents of AMARC for a while-both stored for the Smithsonian.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
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RE: How Long Are Aircraft Stored In The Desert?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:17 pm

Dry desert air is an ideal place to store aluminum airplanes because the main element of corrosion, moisture is at a very low level. If properly preserved and protected, the airplane can be stored indefinitely, exposed rubber items like tires will dry out and will need to be replaced.

Many year ago, the Confederate Air Force, now the Heritage Air Force obtained a B-29 that was abandoned in the desert to be used for target practice. Fortunately it was never used for this and they restored it back to flying condition. They said the condition of the airframe was excellent with no corrosion because of its time in the desert.
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RE: How Long Are Aircraft Stored In The Desert?

Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:05 am

TWA's CV880s were retired in 1974, and finally broken up in 2002(?-on the year).

As for military aircraft, I don't remember where I saw it, but they have 4 different grades of storage, somewhere along the lines of; short term-airworthiness maintained, long term-airworthiness maintained, parts salvage, and the end of the line-broken up. Why airplanes are kept so long in the desert, I am not sure.

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