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Breathe
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Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

Sun May 10, 2020 10:38 pm

With so many airlines retiring fleets of planes, it got me wondering how common it is for decommissioned planes to sit in boneyards for years and never seem to get round to being properly scrapped?

Is it not cheaper to scrap the metal into beer cans rather than pay the boneyards to keep the skeletons of planes on their property? Also, I'd imagine these airfields can only physically hold so many derelicts on site.

Cheers
 
bx737
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Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

Sun May 10, 2020 11:08 pm

I think that at times there could be problems with ownership of the aircraft. The company who owns it goes bust, who then owns it? There could be issues with finance companies holding liens over aircraft. Legal issues can go on over years and it can be difficult to figure out who owns it.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

Sun May 10, 2020 11:13 pm

Breathe wrote:
Is it not cheaper to scrap the metal into beer cans rather than pay the boneyards to keep the skeletons of planes on their property?


Apparently not. There's probably some significant market disconnect between costs of dismantling, scrap values, and environmental liabilities. The U.S. may be a cheap place to store aircraft -- there's plenty of Southwest desert -- but it can't be the cheapest place to recycle.
 
LHA320
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Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

Sun May 10, 2020 11:46 pm

Breathe wrote:
With so many airlines retiring fleets of planes, it got me wondering how common it is for decommissioned planes to sit in boneyards for years and never seem to get round to being properly scrapped?

Is it not cheaper to scrap the metal into beer cans rather than pay the boneyards to keep the skeletons of planes on their property? Also, I'd imagine these airfields can only physically hold so many derelicts on site.

Cheers


It also, in extend, depends on the aircraft type how fast it will be scrapped. For example there are still some L1011s sitting in deserts because there is no demand for spare parts of this aircraft type. That's why you may have seen photos of the CV990 (was it in VCV?), TWA 741 or some 747SR or DC10s which were retired by ANA and JAL in the mid 2000s still sitting at the boneyards nearly complete.
On the other hand there are A32x or 737 being scrapped within weeks of their arrival into the desert because demand for parts is high.
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mxaxai
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Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

Sun May 10, 2020 11:57 pm

bx737 wrote:
I think that at times there could be problems with ownership of the aircraft. The company who owns it goes bust, who then owns it? There could be issues with finance companies holding liens over aircraft. Legal issues can go on over years and it can be difficult to figure out who owns it.

I've seen this happen to quite a few houses. The original owner dies but doesn't leave a will. So now there are several parties fighting over ownership. But the valuation of the house, on paper, is much higher than it is in reality because it's in a poor location or in a poor condition so somebody has to eat the loss. It's not even worth it to go to court. Eventually it's let to rot because that's the cheapest option for everybody and the local administration can't do anything either because it's still private property.

I would imagine that the situation for aircraft is similar when the original owner goes bankrupt (or some other reason for ownership issues like shared ownership, bank securities etc.) but the aircraft has a much lower value than what it says on the accounting sheets.
 
rfields5421
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Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

Mon May 11, 2020 12:22 am

A lot of bone yard queens belong to the scrap yard, and there is no urgency to tear them apart. Some times the amount of recoverable metal, the value of the metal and labor costs don't make economic sense to tear the plane apart. The aircraft will sit there until the values of the metal come high enough to make it worth scrapping. Though that might be 30, 40 50 years or more..

I see this with some automobile 'recyclers' / junkyards. The average cost of a car in the yard is about 20 dollars, and the car can sit for 20+ years selling a part or body part every year or two. A junk body crushed for the smelter sells for about 50 dollars, and only a few times a year are smelters looking for cars. Many, many more available than the smelter companies want.

That scrap aluminum for an aircraft is probably worth about $0.14 per pound. After cleaning of any wiring, non-aluminum bolts, rivets, etc. That's $280.00 per TON, and getting it down to a ton of weight is a lot of work.

The copper wire in an aircraft is the most valuable scrap part at 4 to 40 times the value of aluminum depending upon size and insulation type.
Last edited by rfields5421 on Mon May 11, 2020 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Polot
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Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

Mon May 11, 2020 12:31 am

LHA320 wrote:
Breathe wrote:
With so many airlines retiring fleets of planes, it got me wondering how common it is for decommissioned planes to sit in boneyards for years and never seem to get round to being properly scrapped?

Is it not cheaper to scrap the metal into beer cans rather than pay the boneyards to keep the skeletons of planes on their property? Also, I'd imagine these airfields can only physically hold so many derelicts on site.

Cheers


It also, in extend, depends on the aircraft type how fast it will be scrapped. For example there are still some L1011s sitting in deserts because there is no demand for spare parts of this aircraft type. That's why you may have seen photos of the CV990 (was it in VCV?), TWA 741 or some 747SR or DC10s which were retired by ANA and JAL in the mid 2000s still sitting at the boneyards nearly complete.
On the other hand there are A32x or 737 being scrapped within weeks of their arrival into the desert because demand for parts is high.

That’s the big reason. The primary value in cutting up the airplanes is in the parts, not scrap metal.

If there is not a high demand for parts there is no urgency to scrap. Storage is plentiful in the Southwest, and you can scrap something with greater parts demand and make more money off your time.
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

Mon May 11, 2020 1:51 am

So when Delta ships the MD's out, do you think they have to pay someone to take them or are they worth at least something as scrap? With no resale market for the parts, I can't imagine Delta will pay to store them. Does anyone know how much Delta is making or paying to unload these birds?

Now I know why the Royal Australian Air Force buried their F-111's under the dirt - it must have been too expensive to scrap them.
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    FLALEFTY
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    Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

    Mon May 11, 2020 2:21 am

    MohawkWeekend wrote:
    So when Delta ships the MD's out, do you think they have to pay someone to take them or are they worth at least something as scrap? With no resale market for the parts, I can't imagine Delta will pay to store them. Does anyone know how much Delta is making or paying to unload these birds?

    Now I know why the Royal Australian Air Force buried their F-111's under the dirt - it must have been too expensive to scrap them.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_M ... _operators

    When Delta retires their MD88's in June that will reduce the active fleet of MD80's (all types) down to approximately 150. While some operators are in "no-sell" markets like Iran and Venezuela, there are still enough operating to provide a limited market for usable parts. Since Delta is retiring the MD88's 6 months early and only flying sparsely since March due to COVID-19, they will likely have quite a few JT8D-200 engines available with some decent "green time" left in them. I expect there will be a demand for these engines.

    Another expensive and out-of-production part on Delta's MD88's like the cargo hold "doggie heaters" should have some demand among the remaining users. Not to mention items like landing gear, rudders, flaps, elevators, hydraulic pumps, actuators, pressurization valves, avionics and other odds & ends.
     
    MohawkWeekend
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    Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

    Mon May 11, 2020 11:49 pm

    So is Delta getting some cash from the bone yard? Or does Delta have a department that markets parts from it's retired aircraft. When I shipped my Ford Windstar off to a junkyard (bad engine) for $300, the tow driver commented on how clean it was and how parts from it would keep many Windstar's running. But the junkyard was the one going to make the money on parts.
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      dopplerd
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 12:05 am

      Some military airplanes are left in the open and largely intact to satisfy strategic treaty requirements. A treaty might require 100 B-52 bombers be removed from service so the Air Force puts them in the desert, cuts the wings off and leaves them there for the Russians to see.
       
      PSU.DTW.SCE
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 3:17 am

      I deal with the disposal of industrial assets from manufacturing companies and there is typically a robust process within most organizations.

      I don’t know all the nuisances of aircraft asset sales but most large companies including airlines have departments/ groups that specialize in asset sale and disposal.

      The overall goal in most cases is highest and best use of the asset. The sale price either as a whole or for components needs to exceed the scrap value. There is a cost in terms of logistics, labor, and other expenses in both component harvesting and also in dismantling and scrapping an aircraft down to raw recyclable materials.

      What tends to happen is an RFP is sent out to a qualified list of vendors. The will submit a proposal based on the terms of the RFP. For example an airline may send out a request for component harvest or they just be for scrap. There may be a whole bunch of terms and conditions such that the asset must be destroyed.

      These companies often specialize in component harvest and or part-out.
      Scrapping may be put off until a later time due to a variety of reasons including playing the scrap/materials market waiting for prices to peak, waiting until they have labor available as they may be doing other tasks and scrapping during slower periods, or when they need to make space in the storage yards.
       
      strfyr51
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 3:37 am

      Breathe wrote:
      With so many airlines retiring fleets of planes, it got me wondering how common it is for decommissioned planes to sit in boneyards for years and never seem to get round to being properly scrapped?

      Is it not cheaper to scrap the metal into beer cans rather than pay the boneyards to keep the skeletons of planes on their property? Also, I'd imagine these airfields can only physically hold so many derelicts on site.

      Cheers

      I've actually recovered airplanes from the long term storage facilities and returned then to service. The market just has to be there with the right need and desire to do so, And a facility that knows what they're doing. I did it at the Evergreen facility when it was at Marana AZ.. And I did it with 2 DHC-7's then 3 DC8-62's (Ex Alitalia birds).
      the Aiurlines had a lot of guys on Layoff and work was hard to come by. I was trying to gain experience to be hired by a Major and I was willing to work 16 hours a day and for not much more than $1500/Mo and Expenses. So? I did it and later wound up at United where I stayed for the next 33 yeas. Would I do it Again? Maybe Not for $1500/mo, But I couldn't help but love the challenge. I had to source my own Parts, Reconcile all the incoming Bills, and I got to oversee the airplanes as there /was nobody else. In short? I had a Ball!!
       
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      N14AZ
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 4:40 am

      strfyr51 wrote:
      I've actually recovered airplanes from the long term storage facilities and returned then to service. The market just has to be there with the right need and desire to do so, And a facility that knows what they're doing. I did it at the Evergreen facility when it was at Marana AZ.. And I did it with 2 DHC-7's then 3 DC8-62's (Ex Alitalia birds).

      Sounds very interesting. Who took the DHC-7‘s, if I may ask?
       
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      Mortyman
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 6:17 am

      Norway Airforce has finally sold 5 old C-130H Hercules to Coulson Aviation. They have been at AMARG in Arizona for almost 12 years. Coulson Aviation will convert and use them as fire extinguisher Aircraft.

      https://www.tu.no/artikler/snart-i-luft ... liv/486735
       
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      Embajador3
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 6:26 am

      Very interesting topic. I always wondered the same. If you take a look at CCS airport with Google Maps satellite, you will see dozens of aircraft stored all over the place! Will those MD-80s, DC-9s, 727s, 737s... ever get scrapped?
      Flying Together
       
      KFTG
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 9:11 am

      Is the Air Caribbean 737-200 still in VCV? That thing has been there for decades.

      Here's a good one most people have forgotten about. At KMGE near Atlanta, there is an ex-Delta L1011 and a gaggle of C-130s that were originally destined for the Iraqi Air Force (IIRC).
      https://goo.gl/maps/TvJmS6fHtVwYfmsD9
       
      IWMBH
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 9:40 am

      KFTG wrote:
      Is the Air Caribbean 737-200 still in VCV? That thing has been there for decades.

      Here's a good one most people have forgotten about. At KMGE near Atlanta, there is an ex-Delta L1011 and a gaggle of C-130s that were originally destined for the Iraqi Air Force (IIRC).
      https://goo.gl/maps/TvJmS6fHtVwYfmsD9


      I wonder why the -200 would be still there, there is plenty of demand because their unique role in rural areas of the world.

      I didn't know that there where planes stored at KMGE, does anyone have some pictures?
       
      LHA320
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 9:47 am

      IWMBH wrote:
      KFTG wrote:
      Is the Air Caribbean 737-200 still in VCV? That thing has been there for decades.

      Here's a good one most people have forgotten about. At KMGE near Atlanta, there is an ex-Delta L1011 and a gaggle of C-130s that were originally destined for the Iraqi Air Force (IIRC).
      https://goo.gl/maps/TvJmS6fHtVwYfmsD9


      I wonder why the -200 would be still there, there is plenty of demand because their unique role in rural areas of the world.

      I didn't know that there where planes stored at KMGE, does anyone have some pictures?


      The plenty demand you are talking about is approx. 60 aircraft still in service around the world. There were 1114 732 build. Not exactly what I would call a high demand. Airlines like Nolinor have warehouses full of parts already which should be enough for the remaining service life of the 732.
      This demand is mainly focused on the Adv. model of the 732. The standard model is theoretically worthless for 20 years now, only common parts with the 737 classic models are the main aspect of their value. With more and more 737 classic being phased out, the 732 lost nearly all of its value, which is why none is scrapped at the moment.
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 9:51 am

      KFTG wrote:

      Here's a good one most people have forgotten about. At KMGE near Atlanta, there is an ex-Delta L1011 and a gaggle of C-130s that were originally destined for the Iraqi Air Force (IIRC).
      https://goo.gl/maps/TvJmS6fHtVwYfmsD9


      The L-1011 is N781DL which blew the aft P Dome over the Pacific Ocean.

      https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19950823-0

      The C-130s have been sitting since 1972!

      http://www.marietta.com/30-years-after-purchase-libyas-c-130s-are-still-in-marietta
      This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
       
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 10:14 am

      N14AZ wrote:
      strfyr51 wrote:
      I've actually recovered airplanes from the long term storage facilities and returned then to service. The market just has to be there with the right need and desire to do so, And a facility that knows what they're doing. I did it at the Evergreen facility when it was at Marana AZ.. And I did it with 2 DHC-7's then 3 DC8-62's (Ex Alitalia birds).

      Sounds very interesting. Who took the DHC-7‘s, if I may ask?


      The UN surely, with a Canadian operator!
      some you lose, others you can´t win!
       
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      frigatebird
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 10:22 am

      MohawkWeekend wrote:
      Now I know why the Royal Australian Air Force buried their F-111's under the dirt - it must have been too expensive to scrap them.


      MohawkWeekend wrote:
      ]FYI - Google "Buried F-111's" to see the shots of Australian recycling methods!


      Thanks, never knew about that. According to one of the articles I googled, it was too expensive to remove the asbestos from the aircraft.

      DL_Mech wrote:
      KFTG wrote:

      Here's a good one most people have forgotten about. At KMGE near Atlanta, there is an ex-Delta L1011 and a gaggle of C-130s that were originally destined for the Iraqi Air Force (IIRC).
      https://goo.gl/maps/TvJmS6fHtVwYfmsD9


      The L-1011 is N781DL which blew the aft P Dome over the Pacific Ocean.

      https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19950823-0

      The C-130s have been sitting since 1972!

      http://www.marietta.com/30-years-after-purchase-libyas-c-130s-are-still-in-marietta


      Wow, the C130s seem to be very close to perfect flying condition! :eyepopping:
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      KFTG
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 10:28 am

      It’s a shame those 130s are still there. They could be in firefighting use around the world.
       
      WayexTDI
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 3:18 pm

      MohawkWeekend wrote:
      So is Delta getting some cash from the bone yard? Or does Delta have a department that markets parts from it's retired aircraft. When I shipped my Ford Windstar off to a junkyard (bad engine) for $300, the tow driver commented on how clean it was and how parts from it would keep many Windstar's running. But the junkyard was the one going to make the money on parts.

      Delta Air Lines has a subsidy called Delta Material Services (if I remember well the name) that oversees the parts harvested from the retired aircraft; they are "sold" to Delta Air Lines or sold to other customers.
       
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Tue May 12, 2020 3:32 pm

      I once saw VN's former Yak-40s and Tu-134s were laying in the paddy fields and I am not sure that those airframes will be scrapped.
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      Breathe
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Fri May 15, 2020 1:26 pm

      Some interesting replies.

      Thanks all for your contributions so far.
       
      KFTG
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Fri May 15, 2020 3:16 pm

      There are still NW 747-100, 727, and DC10 at MXE.
       
      scflyboy
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Fri May 15, 2020 8:31 pm

      I think you mean MEB - Laurinburg-Maxton, N.C.
      I was there in November and got to see them.
       
      tnair1974
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Fri May 15, 2020 9:02 pm

      There are a couple of C-133 Cargomasters (aka, Flying Hotdog, although also Widowmaker early on due to high accident rate) that have been stored at MHV for decades. Even as other planes around them get scrapped, the C-133s stay intact except for missing a few parts. They were owned by Cargomaster Corporation in Alaska; who is fitting the bill for these planes to still be stored?
       
      MohawkWeekend
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      Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

      Fri May 15, 2020 9:49 pm

      I just want to know if Delta will take $300 and drop off an MD88 off at my local GA airport.
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        mxaxai
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        Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

        Fri May 15, 2020 10:50 pm

        MohawkWeekend wrote:
        I just want to know if Delta will take $300 and drop off an MD88 off at my local GA airport.

        I think they would as long as you pay for the transport of the aircraft to your destination, and they get to take out any valuable parts (mostly instruments and engines). There's a plethora of old jets scattered all over the world as restaurants / hotels / theme park attractions / museum pieces / firefighting trainers / roof decorations...
         
        MohawkWeekend
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        Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

        Fri May 15, 2020 11:22 pm

        I'll have to drive the crew home because Delta dropped service to CAK. :D

        My old Flight instructor (back in the early 70's) would tell me that after the war, guys could pick up surplus military aircraft for next to nothing. Looks like history is repeating itself. Just not sure the Department of Homeland Security would be keen on letting an average Joe buy an airliner. That's ok, the plane I want is that ex-TWA CV-880 that some guys almost got airworthy a few years back.
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          Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

          Sat May 16, 2020 12:37 am

          LHA320 wrote:
          That's why you may have seen photos of the CV990 (was it in VCV?)


          Probably Mojave, CA. An ex-APSA CV-990 resided there for years amongst the dozen-odd ex-TWA (and several bare metal) CV-880s. CV-990s were also stored at Marana, AZ (Pinal Air Park) in the mid-80s when Denver Ports of Call disposed of their beautiful fleet and I think there was an ex-APSA CV-990 at Marana too. IIRC one of those (in the final Denver POC scheme) ended up in Africa then back at El Paso, TX airport. I saw it there in the late 90s still in the former POC scheme.

          At least one of the former POC 990s (in the final scheme) was broken up at the former scrapper off Kolb Road just north of Irvington Rd adjacent to DMAFB in Tucson. I have photos of it in pieces in 1999. That scrapyard no longer exists and is an open field. Many many 707s, 720s, and other airliners and military planes were scrapped at that one scrapyard alone in the years I was visiting it.
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          chrisair
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          Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

          Sat May 16, 2020 6:14 am

          LHA320 wrote:
          TWA 741


          The rumor about the TWA 747 at Marana is the owner is a fan of TWA and hopes a museum will take it and preserve it. That’s why it’s still in the (rather faded) TWA colors. No idea if that’s urban legend or what.

          dopplerd wrote:
          Some military airplanes are left in the open and largely intact to satisfy strategic treaty requirements. A treaty might require 100 B-52 bombers be removed from service so the Air Force puts them in the desert, cuts the wings off and leaves them there for the Russians to see.


          That’s why there are pairs of B52 wings sitting on the ground next to the rest of the B52 at Davis Monthan.
           
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          SEPilot
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          Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

          Sat May 16, 2020 1:06 pm

          LHA320 wrote:
          IWMBH wrote:
          KFTG wrote:
          Is the Air Caribbean 737-200 still in VCV? That thing has been there for decades.

          Here's a good one most people have forgotten about. At KMGE near Atlanta, there is an ex-Delta L1011 and a gaggle of C-130s that were originally destined for the Iraqi Air Force (IIRC).
          https://goo.gl/maps/TvJmS6fHtVwYfmsD9


          I wonder why the -200 would be still there, there is plenty of demand because their unique role in rural areas of the world.

          I didn't know that there where planes stored at KMGE, does anyone have some pictures?


          The plenty demand you are talking about is approx. 60 aircraft still in service around the world. There were 1114 732 build. Not exactly what I would call a high demand. Airlines like Nolinor have warehouses full of parts already which should be enough for the remaining service life of the 732.
          This demand is mainly focused on the Adv. model of the 732. The standard model is theoretically worthless for 20 years now, only common parts with the 737 classic models are the main aspect of their value. With more and more 737 classic being phased out, the 732 lost nearly all of its value, which is why none is scrapped at the moment.

          As I understand it, the 732 with gravel kits is about the only jet airliner that can manage gravel runways. That is why there are so many still flying in arctic and other remote areas. There simply is no other plane that can do what they are doing. With that in mind if a scrap yard has one that still has life in it it makes sense to hold on to it, as the 60 or so still flying will need replacement at some point.
          The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
           
          TheEuphorian
          Posts: 417
          Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:35 am

          Re: Planes in boneyards that are never scrapped

          Sat May 16, 2020 1:23 pm

          There are a bunch of former TG 747-400, A340-500 and A340-600 still sitting in the TG maintainance apron in UTP, alongside a L-1011, 737-400, and a bunch of turboprop aircraft.
          www.google.com/maps/@12.6858834,101.012 ... a=!3m1!1e3
          Meanwhile, in DMK, there is a former TG A300B4-600R and A340-500 still parked alongside former Orient Thai 767-300 and also a single Phuket Air YS-11, all parked in the cargo apron.
          www.google.com/maps/@13.8987444,100.593 ... a=!3m1!1e3
          Also, in PHS, a single 747-146 formerly operated by JAL, JapanAsia and Orient Thai, was stored there for years, without engines.
          www.google.com/maps/@16.7722947,100.281 ... a=!3m1!1e3

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