Where airplanes go to die and others to live again

- If you've ever traveled from Phoenix to Tucson you may have seen them, hundreds of airplanes sitting out in the desert.

They are all at a huge facility called Marana Aerospace, which is the world's largest aircraft storage, maintenance, paint, and teardown facility.

The tails of these majestic birds sit idle, rising into the air from the desert landscape like mountains.

Some of these planes will fly again, some are here waiting on maintenance, and for others, it's the end of the line for their flying careers.

The facility sits on what used to be a former military base, but now it deals in all things airplanes and aviation.

The first stop on the tour of the facility is where airplanes sit and wait. Ed Meyer is the flight line storage manager.

"I'm in charge of 150 aircraft that are on storage," said Ed Meyer.

As newer aircraft come along, many airlines retire their older fleet, some of those planes end up at Marana until they figure out what to do with them. While they sit in the Arizona sun, their tires, engines, and windows are wrapped up to be protected from the environment.

"The material reflects back the sunlight and the heat," said Meyer.

The next step is the end of life area.

"End of life is when the aircraft reach their end of useful life as a whole, and they become more useful, more suited for spare parts than the aircraft as a whole," he said.

The next stop is the heavy maintenance area, where mechanics perform extensive safety checks on privately owned airplanes, as well as airliners like one from Air Jamaica.

"We have two aircraft in operation, and every 19 months we have to do a major check," said Meyer.

They literally strip the airplane bare to check every piece to make sure everything is in working order.

"You're basically taking an airplane that is already fully built, deconstructing it, for a lack of better words, and then reconstructing it, that would be a basic way of putting it," said Meyer.

At Marana Aerospace, the planes are all here for a number of different reasons, not just a boneyard, but a place where every facet of these airliners are taken care of.

Marana Aerospace is certified to work on almost every single type of aircraft in the world.

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