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Do Airplanes Retire? – Aircraft Graveyard

Did you read it right? Is it even a valid question? How do planes even retire? Like, what exactly happens to them?
Yes, this is actually true, airplanes do retire. Let’s see how, when, and why airplanes retire.

There are a few reasons why aircraft retire:
1) They have reached a fatigue stage wherein the age of the aircraft is a safety concern.
According to experts, on average, the life of aircraft is 15-20 years approximately.
However, it is not necessary that all aircraft reach this age limit before retiring.
2) The cost of aircraft parts as a whole is more than the actual aircraft operating cost for flying.
3) When the aircraft undergoes an accident or incident and is not in a condition to be repaired.
There are multiple reasons for aircraft retirement, above being the primary ones. Now, what happens to these aircraft once they retire?
The place where aircraft are flown post their retirements is called “Aircraft Graveyards,” yes, you read that correct similar to what we humans have.
There are many such aircraft graveyards around the world, but most famous among all of is the Mojave Desert in southern California. This place is full of retired planes; wherever you lay your sight on, you will find them.
For all Aviation enthusiasts, Mojave Desert is a “must visit.” On the flip side, being an aviator, it is a sorry sight to see so many aircraft grounded, which were once made to soar the skies.
Also, not all planes that end up at these graveyards are meant for retirement; some are temporarily parked here due to change in ownership, among many other reasons.
The whole dismantling and scrapping procedure is initiated once an aircraft arrives at the graveyard.

The engine is the most valuable component stripped off from a plane, which has its engines in perfect condition.
Then comes in navigation and radio equipment. Also, seats in the aircraft, flooring, and carpets are all equally re-usable.
A lot of other parts and components from an aircraft are still valuable and can get the owner a lot of money by selling or re-using them in other aircraft.
After all these re-usable parts are removed from a retired plane, the metal body is totally scrapped and sold. An interesting fact is that market for second-hand parts of an aircraft is booming. There is a high demand for used aircraft parts worldwide.
An Aircraft’s journey does not stop here; you will be surprised and amazed at the same time hearing this.
A few die-hard enthusiasts who have lived and loved aviation all through their life, buy these aircraft for various reasons other than flying them.
Some people buy the aircraft and store it in a museum for future generations to come and see these mighty planes, which once rocked the skies.
Few aircraft are converted into living hotels and restaurants at the best sight-seeing places in the world – I can bet that this is altogether a marvelous experience.
These people want aircraft to be still alive, even if they are not flying in the skies.
I have also heard people using metal scarp from the aircraft to make treasured personalized gift items.
All in all, an Aircraft’s journey is a next-level thing – aircraft are flying when they are airworthy, retired when they are not up to flying standards, re-used when they can be – by donating their components/parts to other aircraft.
And if nothing else, they are stored and valued for other interesting purposes.
We can definitely co-relate an aircraft’s journey with a living being – giving joy over their lifespan.

Until next time, and as always, “WE SPEAK AVIATION.”


  • Gloria
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    A very excellent article on How dose aircraft retired thank for all information pilotamireh media member!👍🙏🏻👨🏻‍✈️🇶🇦

  • sahil chowdhury
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Loved this article. Had so much knowledge in it. Love your articles. I really liked the facts and the explanations in this article. Really interesting. One of the top articles I read so far. Hats of to you ad your writing team. You are all epic. Please make more because I love them. I will definitely share this with my other aviation lovers. Great job.

  • Aniesh mky
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Really a great article with interesting facts thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Lyne Westbrook
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:57 am

    A well-composed article. Creative writing in the sense of its analogy relating to aged human beings who have used up their air time in flight and have retired to a form of a retirement home . ( or a graveyard of ghost aircraft) Everything of matter or energy has an expiration date. We hopefully live our dreams, and purpose before our expired time.

    It is my belief that whatever the condition of the aircraft or parts it can or may be subject to be restored or renewed adding new parts to the old. Or \”heavy metal\” to be recycled as a tool for future explorations.

    Do your article writers write articles in response to questions from your fans? If so, do they have aviation knowledge to answer questions accurately? or do your writers\’ research answers to questions online from journals, or publications? Was this a team effort of more than one writer?

    Who wrote the article? can you give the name of the writer?

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