Aircraft Boneyard

Originally, this small airfield was built as a training base for the U.S. Army during World War II. Today, the airport is home to the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team as well as several vintage aircraft. On any given day you may find a couple of retired DC-10s, 727s, 737s, 747s, or even a Korean Air A300 – all in various states of disrepair. A majority are former Northwest Airlines airliners, sent here once they are retired from service. When a plane arrives, the jet engines are one of the first pieces to be removed and can sell for more than $2 million.

The aircraft salvage company was formed in 1953 and currently uses a portion of the airfield for commercial airliner salvage. As the story goes, the founder Harold Jenkins “Jenks” Caldwell Sr. was in a restaurant and noticed a part of the building was constructed out of a portion of a U.S. Army C-54 transport fuselage. Fascinated by the plane, he purchased the airframe and removed it from the building. Caldwell obtained the necessary parts and built a fully functional aircraft for commercial service. His intention was not to sell the plane but instead create his own small airline. Over the years, the airline grew to include DC-8s and 707s. Eventually, the company transformed into a salvage operation, selling parts of the various aircraft to private and commercial companies.

Aircraft Boneyard
The early morning sunrise slowly rises behind a decaying Korean Air Airbus A300.

Aircraft Boneyard

Aircraft Boneyard
Many large commercial airliners are flown here to meet their final resting place. Some sit for decades. Others are dismantled and destroyed.
Aircraft Boneyard
In 1968, this Boeing 737 was delivered to New Zealand and was operated by Air New Zealand. The aircraft was the second 737 delivered to the country and the only early one still in existence. Its last operator was Olympic Airways in 1989. It has been at the boneyard since 1991.
Aircraft Boneyard
A pair of crudely welded doors look out of place on the old 737. On occasion, the salvage crew will use a plane for door installation practice.
Aircraft Boneyard
A United Airlines 747 and a Northwest Airlines 747 parked nose to nose. The Northwest airplane was built in the 1970s. It was flown to the boneyard when it was retired in 1994.

Aircraft Boneyard

Aircraft Boneyard

Aircraft Boneyard

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9 Replies to “Aircraft Boneyard”

  1. Hi there and thanks for this and all your other fascinating articles. Perhaps, I’m just overlooking the particular detail, but I can’t find where you mention the location of this aircraft boneyard. Thanks for any information you may be able to share! Take care.

    Yours truly,


    John S. Lemley Atlanta, GA

    Sent via mobile device.



  2. ASE purposefully leaves out the locations of his pieces. Most are on private property and he has been granted permission to shoot there. Please respect that.


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