Legends are made of places like this. On the outskirts of the city of Tucson, Arizona, this airbase has become the last resting place for most of the US inventory of aircraft. The B-52's that were scraped as part of the START II treaty were dealt with here. Generations of aircraft have sat here in the sun, standing one final duty before succumbing to the breakers axe.
The Arizona climate means the aircraft don't deteriorate very rapidly, and sealed in plastic they can be maintained, to some degree, for long periods. SR-71's spent time here before being reactivated a few years ago. Of course the six or so that were resurrected are all back here.
As the perimeter fence runs by public roads around all sides of the base, a significant number of aircraft can be seen. However, there is more land area to D-M that can easily be seen from just the outside fences, many aircraft sit well back, hard to see. As you will see from some of these images, huge fields of aircraft form effective barriers!
My 1996 and 1998 visits found me looking at the various scrapyards around the periphery of the base, here older models are sadly strung out in varying degrees of decomposition. Strangely, there are complete aircraft scattered about, almost as if these models are going to be spared a grizzly death, and given to museums.
The 1999 visit involved a trip through the based to see heart of the 'collection'
In 2007, we passed by the airbase again. 11 years of trips indicate that while new types certainly appear here and things happen, the pace of change is very slow. However, one thing I did note was the appearance of earthen berms along the line of the fence (inside the fence) that has really restricted viewing of some areas of the AMARC. This is sad, but in these days of increased security, with the chance that a terrorist could break in and steal a B-52 (ha!) we have to be ever vigilant.
Mr. Reagan's airforce is here. These images probably contain aircraft valued at several billion dollars. The cold war is over, but the axe has yet to fall on the fleets.
To get an idea of what the layout is and what can be found I have cooked up a map and some tables of aircraft types and where you might view them.
Autumn 1999 Visit
In the Autumn of '99 I made a visit to Davis-Monthan and got myself aboard one of the trips organised by the PIMA Air & Space Museum.
The images from that visit are mostly shown on the trip page, but can also be pulled from the database here.
|All images Copyright A. Maclean 1996 -|