A Visit to the Aircraft Boneyards of the Southwestern United States

Throughout the deserts of the Southwestern United States, large groupings of parked, retired planes—aircraft boneyards—lie scattered. Most aircraft at the boneyards are either kept for storage or turned into scrap metal. The desert’s dry conditions reduce corrosion and preserve the aircraft throughout the years.

Aircraft boneyard contents tell the story of cycles in the airline industry. They first filled up after World War II when the military downsized. Later, waves of classic propeller airliners arrived when they were retired en masse in favor of jet passenger planes. Rising oil prices have also led to plane retirements in recent history.

A handful of enthusiastic Instagrammers have documented these surreal parking lots. Check out their photos and videos from the location pages below: