There are more than 100 planes…! A spectacular view of the “airplane graveyard” in the desert | FRIDAY DIGITAL

There are more than 100 planes…! A spectacular view of the “airplane graveyard” in the desert

Mojave Desert, California, U.S.A. A large number of planes, including ANA planes, that have been "sorted out" by the Corona disaster are being transported here.

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A view of the Mojave Airport taken in early November. There is a large area where retired airplanes are parked on the grounds.

About a two-hour drive north of Los Angeles in the U.S. state of California, there is an airport nestled in the desolate Mojave Desert.

The graveyard of airplanes.

This is the Mojave Airport, so called by the aviation industry. The Mojave Airport is a “graveyard of airplanes,” as it is called in the aviation industry, where retired passenger and cargo planes come from all over the world.

The area has a very dry climate with only about 50 to 70 mm of rainfall per year, making it ideal for long-term storage of aircraft. The site is also home to the home port of the British Virgin Group and other spacecraft, as well as an aircraft test pilot training school.

It is also not far from Hollywood, where large equipment can be transported by airplane, and has been used as a filming location for various movies and TV dramas such as “Die Hard 2” and “24. Incidentally, the roads around the airport are famous as a place where BMW and many other car manufacturers conduct tests undercover.” (Kumiko Kato, automotive journalist)

Qantas Airways, Thai Airways International, EVA Air, Lufthansa Airlines …… The sight of aircraft from various countries lined up in the middle of the vast desert is a spectacular sight. There are currently no regular flights to or from Mojave Airport, but there are tours departing from Los Angeles and other cities that take visitors around the airport, and they are very popular with aviation fans from around the world.

Many of the aircraft collected are dismantled and only their parts are recycled, but in some cases they are sold as used aircraft. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for major parts such as engines to be removed and left for several years.

Mr. Kato, who visited the area in early November this year for the first time in four years, was surprised at the rapid increase in the number of aircraft.

The number of aircraft had doubled. I think there are more than 100 aircraft now. This is probably due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

In the midst of the corona scare, airlines were forced to cut fixed costs because of the inevitable large decrease in revenue and profit. As a result, a number of airlines were forced to retire passenger aircraft earlier than planned. For example, it was reported that Japan’s All Nippon Airways retired 13 Boeing 777-300ERs, its mainstay for long-haul international flights, between last year and this year.

Four years ago, we could only find one, but this time we could see more than a dozen. I was impressed to see that the “ANA” logo on the Triton blue tail fins had been erased.

Aircraft that are stored here for a long period of time are often coated with a special white paint to protect the exterior surfaces, but most of the aircraft parked here now had not yet been painted. In other words, they may not be dismantled, but waiting for their next turn. Once a buyer is found, they will be repainted in the new airline’s colors and take off again.

We can only hope that the congestion at Mojave Airport will be cleared soon.

The company logo was hidden, but several ANA planes could be seen.
The Mojave Airport in the U.S. is 285 times the size of Tokyo Dome. Incidentally, the Mojave Desert is more than 2.5 times the size of Iwate Prefecture.

From the December 10, 2021 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Hiroto Kato

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