22 incredible photos from where jumbo jets go to die

The days of the jumbo jet are numbered. Since their debut in the late 1960s, planes such as the Boeing 747 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 have been the undisputed queens of the sky.

Unfortunately, the size, four-engine dependability, and range of these big planes are no longer enough of a competitive advantage to justify their operating costs. These relics of the 20th century often end up in places such as the Southern California Logistics Airport – more commonly known as the "bone yard."

23 PHOTOS
Commercial jet graveyard in California
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Commercial jet graveyard in California

The Southern California Logistics Airport is located in Victorville, California — about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Due to its location in the Mojave Desert, Victorville's warm and dry climate make it the perfect place to keep aging airplanes for extended periods of time.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Airplanes here have either been retired or declared "surplus" — not needed for immediate operations.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

After they arrive, some planes are preserved so they can, one day, return to service with the airline or ...

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

... be sold to another airline.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Those planes have their windows covered in foil and their fluids drained as they prepare for to sit in the desert for the long haul.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

The aircraft's engines — the most valuable parts of the plane — are also removed.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

However, others — like this ex-Orient Thai Boeing 747 — are broken up and sold for parts.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

After the valuable parts, such as the electronics, interior trim, and other reusable components, have been harvested, the remaining pieces are chopped up and sold for scrap.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

As of March 2015, British Airways has quite a few 747s at the bone yard.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

The airline has a massive fleet of more than 35 747-400s.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

But as the average age of their 747 fleet nears 20 years, British Airways is slowly retiring its older birds.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

In addition to BA, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, and Cathay Pacific have sent their 747s to Victorville.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Other airlines include Air China, Evergreen International, Lufthansa, and United Airlines.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

FedEx is also a major tenant.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

The cargo carrier is in the process of updating its massive fleet of mostly older jets.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

As a result, many of its older McDonnell Douglas DC/MD-10 and MD-11 freighters have been retired to the desert.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

FedEx has also retired some of its Airbus A300 and A310 freighters.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

There are some smaller jets here, as well. Like this trio of retired FedEx Boeing 727 cargo planes.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Here, a trio of ex-Aeroflot MD-11F cargo jets sits next to three ex-United Airlines Boeing 757-200s.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Mixed in with the FedEx jets are some ex-Delta Airlines Boeing 767s.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

The bone yard is an ever-changing aviation landscape. As old tenants are broken up or sold, new arrivals fresh from mainline service are flown in.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

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