Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Mojave Desert’s Airplane Graveyard- Mojave, CA

North of Los Angeles- Near the intersection of the 14 and the 58 freeway, you will notice to the southeast, LOTS of airplanes. I don't know the whole story, but there appears to be an active airport nearby, where jumbo jets fly in and out everyday. I suspect this is a jiffy lube for 747's. The planes themselves are fenced off, but the airport is open to the public. There are several very tall, thin hangars which look like they could have rocket ships inside or something. There is also an animal shelter in the middle of the airport. Very strange. Most of the planes are stripped of their windows and engines. There are several junked heavy-duty military planes, and I am guessing this used to be a military base.
This is a storage area for surplus and obsolete airliners. It is also a major site for aircraft modification work, research (Burt Rutan, designer of SpaceShip One, has his facilities here) and test flying for commercial companies. The blue and white jet at the main entrance is an extremely rare Convair 990, a commercial failure from the early 1960's. This is also one of the few places in the US to see Vietnam-era F-4 Phantoms in operation -- they are turned into target drones at the BAE Systems hangar here. Mojave is a good place to see strange and rare aircraft, in addition to its proximity to Edwards AFB, the Air Force's test center with its own population of unusual planes.