Skip

33 billion dollars sitting on the lawn
February 28, 2010 4:14 AM   Subscribe


 
Come on down to Crazy Sam's Used Aircraft Lot, where all the prices are clearly written in soap on the windscreens!

Make an offer and fly off with your dream plane today!

All aircraft must go!
posted by bwg at 4:26 AM on February 28, 2010


What's crazy to think (as a P-3 NFO) are that many of the parts sitting (http://www.satellite-sightseer.com/id/1587 in the center) will at some point be rotated to the operational aircraft in the fleet.

Especially for the older aircraft (707 variants, etc) the production lines have decommissioned decades ago and it's a constant struggle to keep up the maintenance for these aircraft.

That being said the war stories these planes (and their crew members) could fill volumes of where they've gone and what missions they partook in.
posted by aggienfo at 4:33 AM on February 28, 2010


What's really crazy is thinking that this much muscle was wasted just to prove that this much muscle was wasted. GRAR!
posted by at the crossroads at 4:39 AM on February 28, 2010


Interesting that the hi-res image looks like a cuneiform tablet.

Is this pure coincidence, or is someone sending a message to their home-world?
posted by vhsiv at 4:44 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


This 33 billion figure sounds suspiciously like some journalist looking for a good headline summed a bunch of purchase/list prices without accounting for depreciation, making it meaningless. By that measure scrap yard owners must be sitting on piles of millions.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:51 AM on February 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Useless is pretty hyperbolic. Much of the aircraft that is there is still in flying order, the article itself says it's routine to return some of the aircraft to active duty with something like 20% having done so in the last 25 years.
posted by Mitheral at 4:56 AM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Useless? Wasted? Before we all start hyperventilating, let's take a tour at ground level: Sleeping Giants
posted by hal9k at 5:10 AM on February 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


well okay, 28 billion dollars worth of useless aerospace machinery :)
posted by Clementines4ever at 5:11 AM on February 28, 2010


For some reason (movies probably) I always thought that the boneyard was in the middle of nowhere - kind of like Area 51... I never realised that it was in the south-eastern suburbs of Tucson... Imagine giving people directions to your house: "Turn right when you reach the field of A4's... If you get to the B52's you have gone too far!"

I also like the idea of vacuum-packed aircraft!
posted by nielm at 5:27 AM on February 28, 2010


hal9k, what's with the tiny video window in that linked page?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:30 AM on February 28, 2010


Is this the same "boneyard" that was featured in Baraka? Because it seemed a lot bigger in the movie, what with the camera slowly trawling across it showing row after row of decomissioned B52s (and giving the impression that it extended for a long way in either direction). In the Google aerial/satellite view it doesn't really look that big, considering we're talking about the world's only remaining superpower and everything.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:40 AM on February 28, 2010


You can tour the Davis-Monthan boneyard by bus via the Pima Air & Space Museum. Also, at the Pima Air & Space Museum, you can walk around and poke at B-52s, Lockheed Constellations, all kinds of weird old helicopters, JFK's former Air Force One, and a whole lot more. It's a couple miles south of the boneyard. Better in the winter than summer, although their giant hangars are air conditioned.
posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 5:47 AM on February 28, 2010


I want to know how they parked them all so nicely....
posted by Tamzin at 6:01 AM on February 28, 2010


There better not be any SR71's in there .. still bitter .. grumble ..
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:27 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh so this is what all our money is going to buy never mind I totally see why we can't go to the doctor.
posted by DU at 6:27 AM on February 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


Is there a UK equivalent of this?
posted by srboisvert at 6:30 AM on February 28, 2010


My husband showed me the boneyard on my first day in Tucson. My first impression was that the U.S. was preparing to fight a backwards war. Lost the ability because of prolonged war to repair all those jet fighters? No problem - we'll roll out the prop planes. Obviously I read too much sci-fi.
posted by TorontoSandy at 6:32 AM on February 28, 2010


what's with the tiny video window in that linked page?

The clue is at the end of the presentation: "I've been here since 1982...almost 20 years..."
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:42 AM on February 28, 2010


LP Hatecraft: It looked larger when Baraka was filmed because a large number of first-generation B52 has recently been decommissioned, and were waiting to be taken to the guillotine to satisfy arms-reduction treaties (START II?). The B52s that are remaining are the later variant and not subject to being cut into irreparable pieces.
posted by thewalrus at 6:48 AM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


My first impression was that the U.S. was preparing to fight a backwards war. Lost the ability because of prolonged war to repair all those jet fighters? No problem - we'll roll out the prop planes. Obviously I read too much sci-fi.

You could have also simply read some history on the Second World War.

60 Minutes or someone did a story on the boneyard years ago and I always thought it'd be neat to visit.
posted by Atreides at 6:58 AM on February 28, 2010


This is two miles from my house.

This is not useless machinery. AMARC is an interesting operation. They're able to preserve an aircraft to withstand high desert heat and they're also able to get it back to flight ready status in a matter of hours after it's been sitting for years. They are also able to supply parts to the Air Force cheaply. If an A-10 engine fails, it's well into six figures to rebuild it. Or they can take an engine off of a mothballed aircraft and have the plane back in the air the next day for under a thousand bucks. They claim that they save the armed forces $20 for every $1 invested in AMARC. As someone mentioned upthread, the 707 went out of production a long time ago, but the Air Force still flies 707 airframes for a lot of purposes. As a result, there are a lot of 707s sitting at the yard.

There are also several scrap yards ringing the perimeter of AMARC. Once they've gotten all they can out of an aircraft, they'll sell the carcass to the scrap guys to be melted down. Some of these guys, however, must be hanging on to planes for parts or something, because there are aircraft there that have been sitting for years, untouched.

It's kinda fun to watch the rotation of planes in the yard. Right now they seem to be heavy on C-130s and F-15s. The B52 tails at one time dominated the skyline of the eastern yard, but many of them have been destroyed in accordance with arms pacts. (They destroy them at AMARC by using a plane guillotine to slice the airframe into several pieces. They then leave to remnants out for a little while so that the Russians can verify the destroyed plane via satellite.) They're starting to bring in B-1s to the yard, so there's been several in the sky here lately.

We have them out here because of our low humidity, and the layer of caliche (a sort of bedrock) that is out here. Any homeowner that's had to dig more than a foot down out here can tell you about it; the damn stuff is impossible to go through with hand tools. The caliche makes for an ideal place to park aircraft that weigh many tons. The air out here is non-corrosive - if a vehicle here has rust, it's because it lived through several winters back east - and is ideal for storing the planes. The spraylat covering they use seals the plane, while also keeping the internal temperature close to ambient. (Cars out here can have interior temps of nearly 200 degrees in the summer, so this is no small achievement.) Airframes can last a long time in the yard without deteriorating.

So, yeah, I wouldn't call this 33 billion worth of useless machinery.
posted by azpenguin at 7:03 AM on February 28, 2010 [56 favorites]


Lost America: Aircraft boneyards. Night photography by Troy Paiva.
posted by The Mouthchew at 7:13 AM on February 28, 2010


"If you get to the B52's you have gone too far!"

You hear about life imitating art all the time, but you don't often hear about aerospace imitating popular culture.
posted by mhoye at 7:22 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


They destroy them at AMARC by using a plane guillotine to slice the airframe into several pieces.

*updates birthday present wish list*
posted by kirkaracha at 7:24 AM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


@azpenguin: I would and did, thanks for your input
posted by Clementines4ever at 7:24 AM on February 28, 2010


What are the rows (well, columns) at the right side of the large pic?
posted by ardgedee at 7:32 AM on February 28, 2010


My first impression was that the U.S. was preparing to fight a backwards war. Lost the ability because of prolonged war to repair all those jet fighters? No problem - we'll roll out the prop planes. Obviously I read too much sci-fi.

Now this is driving me nuts. Wasn't there a movie in which the good guys had to resort to old aircraft, or similar military equipment, because it wasn't subject to computer/alien authority?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:32 AM on February 28, 2010


taken to the guillotine to satisfy arms-reduction treaties

Does anyone have a link to the aerial photos that satisfied said treaties?
posted by phaedon at 7:35 AM on February 28, 2010


@azpenguin: So, yeah, I wouldn't call this 33 billion worth of useless machinery.

Clementines4ever: I would and did, thanks for your input

Just so I follow along, the reasoning is that even the operational aircraft -- some of which are boneyard craft sent back out, and others of which are kept operational by parts from the boneyard -- are ALSO useless? So this is just a handy illustration of the worthlessness of all military expenditures?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:36 AM on February 28, 2010


If you look closely, you can see Makarov's men fighting Shepherd's.
posted by battlebison at 7:46 AM on February 28, 2010


Clementines4ever: I would and did, thanks for your input

Don't ever, ever let the truth stop you from being a sensationalist douche.

Thanks, azpenguin, for adding some interesting context to an otherwise ... useless ... post.
posted by kbanas at 7:49 AM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


@kbanas: And thank you for your pseudo input.

Look, the point is the "Allies" (U.S., U.K., Commonwealth countries, etc.) decided that they were going to, instead of scrapping scrap metal, use it to jump start obsolete barely airborne capable junk.

You do not see the likes of Russia (ex. USSR), China, India, Brazil, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea for crying out loud, using any of their own "309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group[s]." You know why? Cuz they ain't idiots (to have any).
posted by Clementines4ever at 8:15 AM on February 28, 2010


I bet there's a charity or school that would love to have these.
posted by Legomancer at 8:19 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a similar pile at work, made up of espresso machines; throw one away and you're guaranteed to need a part off it a couple days later.
posted by bizwank at 8:28 AM on February 28, 2010


Look, the point is the "Allies" (U.S., U.K., Commonwealth countries, etc.) decided that they were going to, instead of scrapping scrap metal, use it to jump start obsolete barely airborne capable junk.

You do not see the likes of Russia (ex. USSR), China, India, Brazil, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea for crying out loud, using any of their own "309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group[s]." You know why? Cuz they ain't idiots (to have any).


I freely confess I don't know much about this area, and you can confine yourself to quoting that admission if you will, but:

1. I do not know why it would be idiotic to keep still-capable aircraft going with spare parts, unless you assume a world in which we double down on military expenditures and junk old stuff like yesterday's cell phones;

2. I'm curious as to the basis for concluding that other countries (a) don't behave similarly (or perhaps the claim would be that some, like North Korea, at least have the common decency to keep inventory underground or otherwise inaccessible); (b) are better off for not behaving similarly (e.g., do not spend more than they should, do not run out of spare parts, etc.).
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:41 AM on February 28, 2010


Clementines4ever, this is not my area of expertise, but three things are plain to me:

1. You are wrong about the value of the Boneyard as a source for spare parts and plane reconditioning.
2. You are acting like a dick to anyone who disagrees with you.
3. Using the @ symbol makes you look like a noob.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:42 AM on February 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


If i wanted to find that place in google earth myself, what would i type?
posted by NotSoSiniSter at 8:43 AM on February 28, 2010


> If i wanted to find that place in google earth myself, what would i type?

"Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona"

(Or just type "davis-monathan afb" and click on Google's search suggestion.)
posted by ardgedee at 8:51 AM on February 28, 2010


@Clyde Mnestra: I won't confine myself to just quoting your admission, for decency's sake.

There is a show on TLC about to debut in a month or so called "Hoarding to Death" (or similar). If you want to have 28, or 33, or 35, or however many billions sitting idle, well that's your choice. Scrap the garbage and develop a 6th gen superiority vehicule*.

*See PAK-FA T-50, Russian 5th gen.
posted by Clementines4ever at 8:53 AM on February 28, 2010


Typing "Davis-Monthan Air Force Base" works just fine.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:55 AM on February 28, 2010


Wasn't there a movie in which the good guys had to resort to old aircraft, or similar military equipment, because it wasn't subject to computer/alien authority?

The Battlestar Galactica reboot? Newer ships/Battlestars were networked and could be turned off by the Cylons. The older stuff couldn't.
posted by Cyrano at 9:05 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed. Cool it, folks. If you need to keep talking about mefi etiquette, go to Metatalk and do it there.]
posted by cortex at 9:07 AM on February 28, 2010


let's keep in mind that 20 B-2 bombers cost us $44.75 billion
posted by Hammond Rye at 9:19 AM on February 28, 2010


Scrap the garbage and develop a 6th gen superiority vehicule [sic]

And when our existing 4.5th generation aircraft essentially give us air supremacy in current and foreseeable conflicts, such an exercise would be more than an excuse to throw money at the military-industrial complex because...?
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 9:19 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because Russia is going to fuck you hard, we think two steps ahead, the least you can do is think one ahead :)

[All in good fun]
posted by Clementines4ever at 9:25 AM on February 28, 2010


Scrap the garbage and develop a 6th gen superiority vehicule

Pretty sure that's a false choice there. See: the F-22 Raptor.

Pretty sure that the military uses older airframes for logistical support, training and the like on a very large scale. Not everything needs to be 6th gen whizzbang explodey computer stuff.

Pretty sure as well that measuring the cost of the AMARC by measuring the original purchase value of this admittedly obsolete equipment is completely fucking stupid. Unless you think this stuff can actually be sold for $27 billion.

Azpenguin made the point best, so I'll just add that while there is certainly vast, vast wasteful spending by the US military industrial complex, this reclamation project just ain't it. In fact, it's basically the opposite.

45762 > 32489

Oh, and you're being a dick.
posted by ScotchRox at 9:30 AM on February 28, 2010


F-22 Raptor?? lol
That's why it's going to end up in the Boneyard a couple years from now, gracias to Obama
posted by Clementines4ever at 9:33 AM on February 28, 2010


My theory is that the Boneyard suddenly appeared during the filming of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:34 AM on February 28, 2010


Yeah, the U.S. has some old planes in the air and in storage, but guess what? Aircraft like the B-52, last produced in the early 1960s, are a time-tested, flexible, and effective solution -- so effective and economical that the Air Force plans on keeping them in the air until the late 2030s. That's right; 80-year-old planes in the air. Similarly, planes like the C-130 are aging, too. But they're aging well. We're looking at economicalbombers and transports. While, sure, advances in aviation technology could theoretically make a more efficient transport, it's not necessarily worth it when you have something that works so damn well. Why design and build an entire fleet of new and operational transports, when keeping a few older ones in storage but at the ready -- a much cheaper proposition -- works nearly just as well? And it's not like the U.S. is terribly behind, elsewhere, where it actually matters; our 5th-generation fighters have been in service for several years now, while the Russian equivalent isn't going to be put into service for another few years.

And other countries? You really think the Iranian military isn't sitting on a few junkers? You really think North Korea doesn't keep their MiGs in the air with spare parts and a shoestring? And it's not like Russia has thrown out their Tu-22M bombers or Il-76 transports just because those models are getting a little old.
posted by SpringAquifer at 9:38 AM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wasn't the raptor program shut down? Reminds me of the line in The Hurt Locker:

Spc. Owen Eldridge: Aren't you glad the Army has all these tanks parked here? Just in case the Russians come and we have to have a big tank battle?
posted by craven_morhead at 9:41 AM on February 28, 2010


Scrap the garbage and develop a 6th gen superiority vehicule

There are still 96 B-52s in service, even though no new B-52 has been built since 1962. The B-52's replacement (the B-2) costs $750M per bomber, where the B-52 was a $50M sunk cost 50 years ago and can easily be kept running from all that "garbage" you talk about.

And there are moments where you don't need a B-2. For example, pounding Iraqi troop placements during either Gulf War -- you roll up, bomb the bejeezus out of them, and head home. They're not out toting SAMs and radar on the front line, so there's no need for stealth; stealth is far better suited to bombing installations deep behind enemy lines.

The problem with the military-industrial complex in this country is we've suffered from the same "more cupholders!" attitude in the rest of society. The F-22 stealth fighter, which cost $65 billion to develop but ultimately has proven to be only slightly more effective than the F-15 that is far cheaper to build.

It's not about using the cheapest tool for the job, it's about using the best tool for the job. And sometimes the best tool is the cheapest and oldest one. You don't need a Cuisinart to slice up one cucumber.

Even if there were $33 billion in planes there, there isn't $33 billion in value there if you scrap them, and $33 billion wouldn't get you a "6th generation superiority vehicule." The business of designing killing machines is far more costly than that.

The Boneyard is cost-effective and ultimately saves money. It's probably saved the American taxpayer $33 billion over its course of use, not cost it $33 billion.
posted by dw at 9:43 AM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of the old Russian anecdote:

The Yankees developed a 1 million dollar space pen where the Russians used a graphite pencil because their computers used ionized gold wires in case some graphite pieces got inside the computer module.
posted by Clementines4ever at 9:46 AM on February 28, 2010



Reminds me of the old Russian anecdote:


Which is also false.
posted by D_I at 9:55 AM on February 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well, if it's going to be that kind of a thread... Yeah, those Russians and their superior, more cost-effective engineering solutions. Their nuclear submarines beat the pants off ours in reliability and safety, too.

Oh, wait.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 9:56 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shit happens, Russians testing the latest Bulava missile aboard the Kursk (oh woops, should not be divulging state secrets..).. whereas the Americans letting some amateur behind the helm and surfacing on a fishing trawler..good stuff
posted by Clementines4ever at 10:00 AM on February 28, 2010


Wasn't the raptor program shut down?

or, as was put more idiotically:

F-22 Raptor?? lol
That's why it's going to end up in the Boneyard a couple years from now, gracias to Obama


They stopped making new ones; the USAF has 180 or so.

The rationale behind this decision is that:
1) the raptor has no role in the current conflicts
2) current fighters fulfill the air superiority role just fine and most importantly
3) the f-22 is fully developed. the USAF isn't magically going to forget how to build the things. So if China / Russia actually develops a new gen of fighter, and if tensions heat up (two big ifs), the factories can be started up again whenever we feel like it.

But yeah, Comrade Obama scrapped the F-22 program and left our Homeland vulnerable to the commie sino-soviet taliban airforce or something.
posted by ScotchRox at 10:02 AM on February 28, 2010


Shit happens, Russians testing the latest Bulava missile aboard the Kursk (oh woops, should not be divulging state secrets..).. whereas the Americans letting some amateur behind the helm and surfacing on a fishing trawler..good stuff

You know, I really like the image of some Russian intelligence agent getting REALLY MAD on a metafilter thread and posting state secrets while directing incomprehensible insults at America.
posted by ScotchRox at 10:07 AM on February 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Clementines4ever The Yankees developed a 1 million dollar space pen...

I'm pretty sure that whole story is pure urban legend, and also I'm not sure how it's in any way relevant?
posted by cirhosis at 10:08 AM on February 28, 2010


Let me get this straight. Your argument, Clem, is that the Russians, like Real Manly Men, routinely abandon perfectly functional old equipment in favor of spending money developing new whiz-bang stuff like the T-50.

But they also have a cunning thriftiness that gives them a strategic edge. Million dollar space pen! har har.

Yes yes that makes perfect sense.

hey guys I solved the thread!
turns out Clem is a troll
do not feed

posted by zjacreman at 10:10 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Amen
posted by Clementines4ever at 10:12 AM on February 28, 2010


I want to know how they parked them all so nicely....
so that certain satellites could go over and confirm that we were in fact living up to our decommission promises.
posted by krautland at 10:12 AM on February 28, 2010


BTW, I'm rooting for you Yankees today against the Canadians (where I'm stationed as per ScotchRox's assumption). The Canadians bought Nabokov (Russian netminder). Just wait for Sochi.
posted by Clementines4ever at 10:13 AM on February 28, 2010


could this thread be closed already
posted by bam at 10:16 AM on February 28, 2010


could this thread be closed already

Think of it as the Boneyard for MeFI discussions about politics, the military, and etiquette. Root around a while and you'll find what you need.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 10:20 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Canadians bought Nabokov (Russian netminder). Just wait for Sochi.

The crow flies east at midnight; tuesday was sunny in Minsk.

we vill catch Moose and Squirrel.
posted by ScotchRox at 10:31 AM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


vee vill sans doute
posted by Clementines4ever at 10:32 AM on February 28, 2010


Yet another manifestation of a massive inferiority complex.

(Aimed at troll, not boneyard)
posted by psolo at 10:38 AM on February 28, 2010


This thread makes no sense.

- Monino is like the best military aircraft boneyard ever.
- There are something like a hundred Soviet-era nuclear submarines, many of them not even defuelled, rusting out at various Russian North Sea ports.
- The Soviets thought it would be neat to run automated atomic lighthouses using radioisotope thermoelectric generators. These facilities are sitting out there, derelict, their radiation sources still in place.

All big militaries are wasteful. A boneyard that rehabilitates old planes is the opposite of wasteful. The incoherent anti-American jingo here is getting to me. Clementines, there must be some Livejournal you can go post this stuff on.
posted by killdevil at 10:40 AM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well at least our inferiority complex is bigger and better)))
posted by Clementines4ever at 10:43 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I knew a woman who did giant sculptures out of jet engine casings and such, I think she got them at some kind of military scrapyard in Nevada. But useless? Let me at 'em. I'll invite everyone for a weekend meetup at my magnesium, titanium, aluminum, and stainless country house.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:44 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


sure killdevil:

bureaucrat.livejournal.com (in Russian though, so maybe you won't be able to comprehend it either..)
posted by Clementines4ever at 10:45 AM on February 28, 2010


Pretty sure that the military uses older airframes for logistical support, training and the like on a very large scale.

Indeed. Blew my mind the other day when I read that the chase plane on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's inaugural flight was a T-33 Shooting Star.

And other countries? You really think the Iranian military isn't sitting on a few junkers?

Interesting sidenote: All of the U.S. F-14 Tomcats have been permanently destroyed. Why? The only other nation that owned an F-14 fleet was Iran -- the U.S. sold them a bunch before the fall of the Shah. When we retired our fleet of F-14s, we destroyed them to ensure that they couldn't be illegally stripped for spare parts and sold to Iran on the black market.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:03 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow; an aerospace-geekery thread was really not the one I expected to flameout today.

But useless? Let me at 'em.

If you live near a major military post, especially one that's in the process of being decomissioned or takes in a lot of old equipment, you can buy surplus crap online in an eBay style auction. (GovLiquidation is a private company but they have some sort of contract with the DRMO to sell off small lots.) Here's the aircraft parts section.

I've purchased random bits and pieces of electronic test equipment from them, and it's always been an … interesting experience. You generally have to drive to some old military post in the middle of nowhere at a very specific day and time and (after getting through the gate, if there's one), proceed to some old Indiana Jonesian warehouse in some corner, and then pick up your stuff and haul it away. If you're into this sort of thing, it's worth buying something sometime just to be able to have the experience of going to pick it up.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:09 AM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


cool stuff to do with 707's

http://www.flickr.com/photos/telstar/7900634/
posted by atomicmedia at 12:46 PM on February 28, 2010


Cool! Maybe now I can find a replacement "Jesus nut" for my UH-1D gunship...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 12:52 PM on February 28, 2010


Wow. At least I learned a few interesting things despite the best efforts of the person posting the FPP.
posted by maxwelton at 12:53 PM on February 28, 2010


Those tags aren't helpful.
posted by breezeway at 3:33 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just chiming in to give some kudos to azpenguin for doing such a great job of illustrating and explaining what that place really is.

I know that in the past major assets were often destroyed for the sake of expediency, deep war-time pockets were always able to replace things.

It looks like now, the U.S. military is running the biggest "recycle/reuse" operation in history.

Good show!
posted by snsranch at 4:42 PM on February 28, 2010


There is a show on TLC about to debut in a month or so called "Hoarding to Death" (or similar). If you want to have 28, or 33, or 35, or however many billions sitting idle, well that's your choice. Scrap the garbage and develop a 6th gen superiority vehicule*.

*See PAK-FA T-50, Russian 5th gen.


Not that this hasn't been criticized to death, but: the PAK FA is designed to be comparable to the F-22. The PAK FA had its first flight four weeks ago. The F-22 had its first flight 20 years ago.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 7:05 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


love your idea sticky carpet.

also, IDK how many of these would qualify, but mils sell ships to civilian operators too. A friend of mine used to fly for Chalk's (back in the days before they let maintenance go all to hell and kept splashing the paying customers) and he had some great photos of the trip when he and a bunch of other pilots were sent to Japan to pick up a bunch of surplus Grumman Albatrosses they'd just bought.

especially fun was the weekend they spent on one south pacific island in "jail" because they didn't have the right landing permit. the jail was a pleasant cottage on the beach, complete with fishing gear and bicycles and they passed a nice couple of days until the permit was processed and they were "freed" to continue on to hawaii and, eventually, miami.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:02 PM on February 28, 2010


The PAK FA had its first flight four weeks ago. The F-22 had its first flight 20 years ago.

Hell, the VF-1 Valkyrie saw its first combat last year and can pick its teeth with F-22s and PAK-FAs and all kinds of shit you ain't never heard of.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:52 PM on February 28, 2010


What are the rows (well, columns) at the right side of the large pic?

Stacks of assorted parts.

If you go all the way to the east end, after the aircraft end, Davis Monthan has a gunnery range there. And then once you get past the range (if you Google map or earth it, it's where Harrison
Rd. shows up at Irvington Rd., on the north end) there is 20+ miles of pure mountain bike heaven. It's a network of trails called Fantasy Island. Sometimes riding out there you'll hear them taking some firing practice.
posted by azpenguin at 10:53 PM on February 28, 2010


I think some of you guys are missing the point. This facility certainly seems like a great idea, and I'm sure it's already paid for itself many times over. However the fact that our gigantic military apparatus requires such a huge warehouse for spare parts indicates how screwed up our priorities are.

It's one thing to hear that half the federal budget goes to military expenditures. It's another thing to see one of the consequences of that in these pictures.
posted by heathkit at 1:31 AM on March 1, 2010


debating the worth of OEF/OIF aside (which is a great one), the "military apparatus" that you malign is the same one that saved the asses of Haitians. No other entity on earth could put in helicopters, air traffic controllers, hospital ships, cargo aircraft with medics and hospitals ready to help.

These aircraft - serviced by the tens of thousands of man hours in flying and maintenance - kept the communist at bay, delivered food during the Berlin Airlift, among many other things.
posted by aggienfo at 6:23 AM on March 1, 2010


My grandpa was at Davis-Monthan during WWII, and I found a stack of black & white 8x10s after he died.

I'm sure I'm misinterpreting this, but the fourth picture (look behind the color guard) looks like they were beginning their collaction even then!
http://ibiblio.org/himself/gallery.html
posted by wenestvedt at 10:01 AM on March 1, 2010


wenestvedt, neat pics. I'm looking at those and I see a lot of familiar scenery... and a lot of land that's now been turned into acres and acres of rooftops.
posted by azpenguin at 11:40 PM on March 1, 2010


Both the article linked to in the FPP and the resultant, uh, 'discussion' have been fascinating.

It's so lovely to see all the nationalists out in force.
posted by WalterMitty at 11:59 AM on March 3, 2010


« Older Pavement: So much style that it's wasted   |   Debunking the myth of Lady Jane Grey Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post