…aka the Pima Air & Space Museum and the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) “Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The first time I heard of this place was while watching Can’t Buy Me Love with Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Peterson back in 1987. That was one of my all-time favorite high school movies, and I’ve wanted to visit the Airplane Graveyard ever since.

Scene from "Can't Buy Me Love" - Sneaking over the wall (internet photo).

Scene from “Can’t Buy Me Love” – Sneaking over the wall (internet photo).

Admiring a plane salvaged from the sea (internet photo).

Admiring a plane supposedly salvaged from the sea (internet photo).

I believe this is a  Grumman F-4 Panther (internet photo).

I believe this is a Grumman F-4 Panther (internet photo).

Surprisingly, most of that date scene wasn’t actually shot at the Boneyard, it was filmed at what was then called Bob’s Air Park. “Bob” has since passed away, and most of the yard was purchased by K-Tech Aviation that continues to recycle old aircraft and sell them for parts.

The difference between the recycler and the Boneyard is that the recycler is completely private, and the Boneyard is run by the Air Force as official government storage. The planes are also in much better shape in the Boneyard.

The story Patrick Dempsey’s character tells about pilots reminiscing over salvaged planes from the bottom of the sea or gazing at charismatic aircraft riddled with bullet holes…those planes would probably not have been found in the gov’t storage but over at the recycler.

A T-37 Tweet on "Celebrity Row" with a bunch of Boeing C-135s in the background.

A T-37 Tweet on “Celebrity Row” with a bunch of Boeing C-135s in the background.

A few rows of the massive C-5 Galaxies.

A few rows of the massive C-5 Galaxies.

Driving by K-Tech on the way back from the Boneyard.

Driving by K-Tech on the way back from the Boneyard.

Not sure how you go about visiting K-Tech. But you can take a nice air-conditioned bus tour of the Boneyard if you book it through the Air & Space Museum, which we did. The prices weren’t bad at all…$7 for adults and $4 for kids.

Entry to the museum was also $7 for adults and free for kids, and they had a huge selection of planes from all different eras and had some that the kids could crawl in. Obviously the ones on the base were only military, and we weren’t allowed to get off the bus. The museum also had a nice display on “Women in Aviation” and a hanger dedicated to space exploration.

Me by an F-4.

Me by an F-4.

Air Force One used by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson from 1961-1965.

Air Force One used by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson from 1961-1965.

NASA Super Guppy 1965-1995.

NASA Super Guppy 1965-1995.

A model display of the Space Shuttle.

A model display of the Space Shuttle.

I figured we’d be there for a couple hours in the morning. But we (me, hubby, son and grandma) arrived at 9am to avoid the worst of the heat, and the first Boneyard tour wasn’t till 11:30am, and it last for over an hour. A lost interest fairly early on and spent most of the time taking pictures of the imaginary zombies running alongside the bus.

After the tour we were a bit peckish, so we stopped into the museum café called the Flight Grill and had some of the best blue cheese burgers we’ve ever had. A even ate most of his slice of cheese pizza. We didn’t end up leaving until almost 3:00. But it was a day well spent!

N and A checking out the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

N and A checking out the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

A's favorite display...an interactive WWII cockpit.

A’s favorite display…an interactive WWII cockpit.

Cool tri-fin tail on a TWA Lockheed Constellation 1943-1958.

Cool tri-fin tail on a TWA Lockheed Constellation 1943-1958.

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