Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

The dry climate of the southwest United States is a popular spot for airplane boneyards. When airlines need to stow away planes or lay them to rest, they will ship planes out to aviation boneyards in states like California and Arizona. And sometimes, photographers brave security patrols and barbed-wire fences to photograph these slumbering hulks.

The first set of photos comes to us from the urban exploration site Sleepy City, whose photographers snuck into a California boneyard to wander around this winged labyrinth:

Located 8 miles northwest of Victorville, California, the former George Air Force Base is now the resting place for some of the worlds defunct and disused giants of aviation. This is due to the perfect environmental conditions of the area, the lack of moisture in the air prevents the aircraft from rusting meaning parts can be salvaged and sold back for use as opposed to just scrap. Although no longer functioning as a military complex it is fully active as the Southern California Logistics Airport, meaning frequent patrols and some serious punishments were you to be caught within the fence.

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

And the following photos are from Ransom Riggs of Metal Floss, who visited an airplane scrapyard and refurbishing yard in the Mojave Desert. Unlike the prior photos, Riggs had permission to shoot these:

The first thing to know is that the Mojave Air and Spaceport, as it's officially known, isn't just a graveyard for inactive planes. It's an active airport, home to one of the nation's only civilian test pilot schools, and most famously the place where Space Ship One was developed and performed the first privately-funded human spaceflight in 2004. But it also functions as a giant parking lot for hundreds of jets owned by dozens of different entities, from major airlines to private individuals. If an airline doesn't anticipate needing some of its planes for an extended period of time, it's much cheaper for them to park those planes in the desert and have maintenance crews check them out once every few weeks than to keep them active.

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American SouthwestS

And here are some other airplane graveyards around the world (1, 2, 3).