Scrapped Planes More Valuable As Scrap Metal
If you've ever wondered what would eventually become of the more
than 4,000 old aircraft hulls sitting in the US military's boneyard
at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ... we now know.
They'll start going on the auction block next week, but don't
expect to take home anything resembling an aircraft.
The three-day, online auction of 27 million pounds of scrap is
expected to net somewhere between $9 million and $10 million, or
about 36 cents a pound. Government Liquidation, a subsidiary of
Liquidity Services Incorporated, has been chosen to conduct the
Reuters reports the Pentagon will require winning bidders to cut
the scrap into pieces no larger than 4-by-4 inches, to make sure
none of the old warbirds, or their parts, ever return to
"There is some sensitivity that the items not get out of
(government) control and risk national security," said Tom Burton,
president of Government Liquidation. "So the purchaser will do the
mutilation into itty-bitty pieces. There will not be anything left
that could be used as parts or that anyone but a smelter would be
Such an auction probably had to happen. Rising worldwide demand,
especially in developing nations, has driven metals prices much
higher in recent years. Copper, for example, was 60 cents a pound
four years ago. Now, it's four dollars.
"The Chinese have been humongous buyers of aluminum and copper
scrap," Burton added.
Many communities around the US are seeing frequent news reports
of drug addicts staging bold thefts of everything from guard rails
to rooftop air conditioners to sell for scrap metal to fund their
Still, the old ghosts in the desert evoke emotions no guardrail
can. The 50-year collection includes C-141 Starlifters, Navy and
Marine A-4 Skyhawks, T-34 trainers dating from 1948 and HH-3E
"Jolly Green Giant" helicopters. They've been picked clean of most
useful parts long ago... but if you're a former military aviator,
or even just an aircraft buff, it's still difficult to see them
headed for the smelter.
The auction is open to qualified bidders only, and runs from
12:01 am Eastern Time Monday through 8pm Thursday. Be sure and
bring your Sawzall.