(Image: Daniel Berek, reproduced with permission)
In Part Two of our abandoned aircraft and plane graveyards of the world series, we explore a number of diverse sites from official aircraft boneyards to desert and jungle wrecks. While hardcore aviation enthusiasts might prefer to see such aircraft restored, many of these wrecks present undeniably fascinating scenes on the landscape, and often tell us something about the rich – sometimes bloody – history of a certain place.
Plane Graveyard near Edwards AFB, Mojave Desert
(Images: Jim Gordon (top left, top right, middle), cc-3.0; Jim Coulter (left), cc-nd-3.0; Alan Radecki, cc-sa-3.0)
This plane graveyard in the desolate Mojave Desert, in the immediate vicinity of Edwards Air Force Base, is likely one of the more inaccessible aircraft boneyards of America’s west. Home to a variety of airframes, including two battered B-52 bombers, a B-47 and a B-58 Hustler known as “Snoopy”, the site is actually a radar range used for reconnaissance testing. More photographs accompany this full feature article by Urban Ghosts.
Plane Graveyard at Băneasa Airport, Bucharest, Romania
(Image: Post-Industrial, cc-nc-sa-3.0)
French aviation pioneer Louis Blériot made the first flights around Băneasa in 1909. Then, in 1912, Romania’s first flight school was opened at Băneasa Airfield, making it the oldest continually operating airport in Eastern Europe and among the five oldest airports in the world. Băneasa Airport remains operational today although the small fleet of abandoned airliners above, tucked behind a hangar, have clearly been grounded for good.
Abandoned Aircraft Series by Daniel Berek
(Images: Daniel Berek, reproduced with permission)
Daniel Berek has catalogued a wide range of abandoned aircraft in this impressive Flickr set. The battered hulks above have certainly seen better days. But since several of them reside in the plane boneyard of the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, perhaps they will one day be restored to their former glory, or simply provide spare parts to their more complete brethren.
Abandoned Aircraft at Madang Airfield, Papua New Guinea
(Image: Matthew Laird Acred, cc-sa-3.0)
This Nakajima Ki-49 Hellen aircraft was abandoned following a U.S. raid on Madang Airport in Papua New Guinea. The airfield was heavily damaged and several aircraft were simply left to rust. According to photographer Matthew Laird Acred, the original base was far larger than Madang’s current airport, but would have cost too much to restore. Acred photographed this historic plane wreck in 2002.
Abandoned Aircraft, Egypt
(Lars Plougmann, cc-sa-3.0)
Deep in Egypt’s Sinai Desert, this isolated hangar might look as though it stands in the corner of a dusty provincial airfield, but this is actually the boneyard at Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport. The condition of the hangared jet is unclear, but the battered wreck outside is obviously abandoned. Likely used in some training capacity, the cabin top has been cut away and the plane now looks fit only for scrapping.
Miscellaneous Abandoned Aircraft
(Images: Taro Taylor, cc-3.0; ch images, cc-3.0; Yuriy Lapitskiy, cc-sa-3.0; Gazjo, public domain)
This miscellaneous collection of abandoned aircraft includes the remains of a wrecked World War Two bomber lying in a river in Papua New Guinea, several old airliners rotting away in Russia and a light aircraft deserted in the outback. Abandoned aircraft and plane graveyards are intriguing sites on the landscape and are found across the world, from massive military aircraft boneyards to isolated island wrecks.