You have heard, of course, about aging elephants that wander off to die in a specific communal place, a kind of elephant graveyard. It’s sort of the same concept in south central Tucson, in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, where old airplanes instead of old pachyderms come to rest
Mojave is in the high desert. An airplane graveyard is not just a fence around airplane carcasses and piles of scrap metal. Rather, many millions of dollars worth of surplus parts are salvaged to keep active aircraft flying, including U. S. planes that have been sold to foreign governments.
It is dry because the mountains near the ocean rob all of the rainfall, leaving central and eastern California with almost no rainfall. The low humidity makes an ideal place to store aircraft, and the hard desert floor is able to support these mammoth beasts without being paved over. The result is that Mojave is a first choice as a storage location for aircraft that you wish to use again in the future. At the current time, there are several hundred airliners in storage. This ranges from the puddle jumpers, small jests like the Fokkers, up to the wide bodies and jumbos such as the L-1011 and Boeing-747. The post 9/11 aviation economy is the biggest reason for airliners being sent to Mojave. Entire fleets have been sent here due to airlines going bankrupt. Secondary reasons include older 727 and DC-9 that do not meet new noise guidelines, and older aircraft who will have a second life as cargo transports.