Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Bucket List item gets checked off.

I’m an unrepentant Airplane Nut. I have been one as long as I can remember. My bedroom was full of model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. My allowance was spent on new models, paints, balsa wood. And the best thing ever was an airshow.

Museums come next. Smelling, touching, seeing airplanes, especially old and preferably very rare ones is where I get my kicks.

The world's smallest biplane

There is a very special place in Tucson AZ. Actually it’s two places but they are so tightly connected they seem to me to be one. They are the Pima Air Museum and Davis Monthan Airforce Base.

Maybe the only Bolo bomber left on the planet?
Davis Monthan is legendary amongst fellow airplane nuts. Know around the planet as “The Desert Boneyard” it is where the US military stores and scraps it’s outdated aircraft.

Hundreds of cocooned helicopters

In the past it has seen fleets of B52’s parked in the desert in case they might be needed, then seen them cut up for scrap when they weren’t. Now it’s full of C5’s, F-15’s, P3’s, C130’s and hundreds of T24’s. According to the tour guide there are 4500 aircraft there today with a mix of fixed wing and helicopters.

Rows and rows of mothballed Navy P3's

Immediately next door is the Pima Air Museum. I first visited there in 1985 with a fellow airplane nut Tommy Wilson. Back then it was mainly outdoors but had some rare aircraft like a B24 and an A12. It got most of it’s collection from the Boneyard simply by moving the fence and towing them in.

A B50 with 4 propeller engines and 2 jets.

B47 6 jet engines

Today it’s HUGE. 5 hangers and 80 acres of aircraft displayed outside. It’s at least a full day to see everything. The tour bus of Davis Monthan is run by the museum and the only way you can see the Boneyard (Unless you have Military ID is via the museum.

Be aware that the Boneyard tour fills up fast so get there early. We arrived at 11am and got seats in the LAST TOUR OF THE DAY at 3.30pm.

I was in Hog Heaven, Barbara was glad to get a rest on the tour bus for an hour after walking around the Pima facility for 4 hours!

A Vickers Viscount airliner. We flew on one t go on honeymoon in 1971.

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