Brazilian cargo VarigLog DC-10 airliners at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (Staff Photo)
The Pinal County Airpark, located in Marana, Arizona, northwest of Tucson, is a county-owned airport just north of the Pinal/Pima county line along Interstate 10. It was originally known Marana Army Air Field.
On the grounds of the airport are a variety of tenants, both private sector and government.
One primary function is serving as a "boneyard" for civilian commercial aircraft as well as airliner storage, reconfiguration, and reclamation. Out-of-service airliners are stored there since the dry, low humidity of the Sonoran desert provides an ideal storage environment.
We have visited Pinal on several occasions over the years.
Boeing 737-706N GOL Brazilian airlines, registration N320GL, undergoing salvage at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona
The Pinal County Airport Economic Development Department is responsible for the development and management of two airports in the County. San Manuel Airport is a General Aviation Airport that is located in the town of San Manuel. Pinal Airpark is a reliever airport whose main tenant s perform A&P service on aircraft for a multitude of customers, as well as aircraft storage.
Airliners in storage at Pinal Airpark in Arizona
The airpark covers an area of 2,080 acres, and sits at an elevation of 1,893 feet above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 12/30 with an asphalt surface measuring 6,849 by 150 feet.
The Airpark is open to the public. However, there are though two distinct sides to the airport just like most others. The Airside which is the side where the planes are parked, the runway, and other areas that are dangerous or off limits for security reasons, and the Landside which is generally accessible to anyone.
The Pinal Airpark has limited availability for tours. Please contact Christina M. Martinez at (520) 866-6448 or email PinalAirPark@pinalcountyaz.gov for information/tour questions.
Regarding photography: If you are on the public side, photography is permitted. If you are on the Airside of the Airpark being escorted or on a tour you are asked not to, unless you are told you may. The reason is that many planes are missing engines or other recognizable parts, and some of the owners or operators of those aircraft have asked that people not take pictures because the planes are not in a good condition. It is asked that people respect the wishes of those owners and operators.
For more information, visit the website of the Pinal County Airpark, or contact Jim Petty, the Economic Development Director for the airport, at 520.866.6545.
Entrance area, Pinal Airpark
Pinal Airpark lies between Tucson and Phoenix, and can be reached via I-10 Exit 232 onto the Pinal Airpark Road ... the gate area is about 3 miles west of Interstate 10.
When we last visited Pinal, dozens of airliners were parked at various locations around the airpark.
While the airpark was previously not accessible by the general public, the entrance gate and guard house have now been removed and several roads are open and drivable. Airliners can be seen from these roads, some close-up, others at a distance.
As always, we recommend obeying all warning signs and avoiding restricted areas.
Aerial view of airliners parked at the Pinal Airpark near Marana Arizona (courtesy of Google Maps)
Pinal Airpark was in the news in early 2018, with the arrival of the last Boeing 747 from Delta Air Lines. (see videos below on this page covering the final flight, and final flyover at Marana).
It joined other 747s and airliners from Delta and a variety of other airlines for storage and reclamation. About 38 Delta airliners are parked at Pinal, including most of Delta’s fleet of retired Boeing 747s.
The last Boeing 747 of Delta Air Lines, N674US, lands at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (January 3, 2018)
Boeing 747s of Delta Air Lines in storage at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona
Two Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-232 jetliners undergoing reclamation at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2017)
The Airpark experienced significant storage activity in 2020 and 2021. Most have now returned to active service.
Ascent Aviation Services offers secured ramp and storage area for all sizes of aircraft at the Pinal Airpark.
The company is a Class IV 14 CFR Part 145 certified repair station specializing in every aspect of aircraft maintenance for the service life of an airline's fleet. It maintains narrow and wide body, small to large, regional to long-haul aircraft and one of the largest storage and reclamation operations in the world.
It features nearly 500 acres of secure storage for aircraft in Arizona’s ideal dry climate. This includes short and long-term storage and ramp capacity for over 400 aircraft.
The company also provides heavy maintenance services, as well as reclamation services ranging from basic component removal to complete airframe teardown and disposal.
For more information, visit the Ascent Aviation Services or phone 520.682.4181. It is physically located at 24641 Pinal Airpark Road, Marana, AZ 85653. The company also has operations at Tucson International Airport.
Restricted area at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona
JetYard LLC is a FAA 145 Repair Station #7QAR515C at Pinal, providing complete aircraft storage and parking along with part-out and disassembly services. These services can also include demolition and recycling for aging aircraft and engines. Jet Yard can disassemble, part-out and recycle all commercial and military aircraft manufactured by Boeing, Airbus, McDonnell Douglas, Bombardier, Embraer, Lockheed Martin and others.
Jet Yard has an inventory of aircraft parts for sale. These parts have been harvested from aircraft or engines that Jet Yard has purchased. All parts have been removed and tagged by experienced FAA licensed Airframe and Powerplant Technicians. Jet Yard will also source parts to facilitate customer needs.
The company's storage facility is located at 85233 E. Pinal Airpark Road, Suite 100, Marana, AZ 85653. Phone 952.224.2424.
For more information, we recommend you contact the airpark and/or tenant companies and government agencies for current information on access and possible tours.
A great starting point is the website of the Pinal County Airpark, or Jim Petty, the Economic Development Director for the airport, at 520.866.6545.
Exit 232 off Interstate I-10 to Pinal Air Park Road, between Tucson and Phoenix (May 2017)
Air China Boeing 777-2J6, registration B-2061, at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2017)
|Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-232 N604DL at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona
|Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-232 N604DL being salvaged at the Pinal Airpark
Surinam Airways Airbus A340-300, registration PZ-TCP, at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2017)
Boeing 747 wide-body jetliner in storage at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2017)
Boeing 747-412 BCF, B-2453, on the apron at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2015)
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 being reclaimed at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (Staff photo)
Airbus A330-243, of Hong Kong Aviation Capital, Registration OE-IER, in storage at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (Staff photo)
Boeing 747 jumbo airliners in storage at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2015)
Panoramic view of airliners in storage at the Pinal Airpark
Brazilian cargo VarigLog DC-10 airliners in storage at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2015)
Evergreen International Boeing 747s at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2015).
Seen in the foreground is Boeing 747-230B, registration N487EV.
Ex China Eastern Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-82 at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (May 2015)
|News Articles Related to the Pinal Airpark
|SAS Prepares To Fly Its Final Airbus A340 To Retirement at Pinal
Simple Flying - 11/23/2020
|Arizona’s Pinal Airpark Houses Airline Fleets from Around the World
Airline Geeks - 05/23/2020
|Airlines parking planes at local Tucson area airports
KOLD News 13 - 04/08/2020
|Airlines begin parking jetliners north of Tucson as virus restricts destinations, demand
Tucson.com - 03/20/2020
|Commercial jets landing at Pinal Airpark as airlines cut flights due to corona virus
AZfamily - 03/16/2020
|Cathay Pacific retires lone 747-400BCF to Pinal Airpark
Cargo Facts - 10/01/2019
|Japanese Air Force One for Sale - Parked at Pinal Airpark
FlighGlobal - 08/13/2019
|Pinal Airpark: Take a look inside Arizona's 'airplane graveyard'
ABC 15 Arizona - 02/12/2018
|Delta Air Lines sends its last Boeing 747 to Arizona "boneyard"
USA Today - 01/04/2018
|Retired 747 makes final landing at Pinal Airpark
Tucson News Now - 01/03/2018
|Where airplanes go to die - and be reborn
Popular Science - 06/02/2017
|Where Do the Largest Airplanes Go to Die?
Smithsonian Magazine - 03/30/2017
|Aircraft Demolition, LLC Expands at Pinal Airpark
Aircraft Demolition - 05/23/2016
|Delta flies hail-damaged NWA Boeing 747 to Pinal Arizona boneyard
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal - 07/10/2015
|Pinal Airpark: Once secretive aircraft boneyard slowly opens its gates
AZcentral - 03/29/2015
|Arizona's Pinal Airpark serves as airport, graveyard, junkyard and museum
Los Angeles Times - 01/08/2015
Spotting Airliners Stored at Pinal and Elsewhere
Identification of individual aircraft models can be hard, considering the number of jet airliners serving the worldwide travel industry, and in desert storage at Pinal in Arizona.
Visit our new website and explore guides to spotting the common jet airliners of the day from Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and Bombardier.
With the beginning of World War II, the War Department had to quickly mobilize its air forces, and train its airmen. The prime areas selected for new training airfields were the deserts of the southwestern United States, which offered wide-open spaces and year-round flying conditions.
Nearly 200 airfields and air strips were built in the southwest, from West Texas to Southern California. More than 60 airfields and strips were built in Arizona alone between 1942 and 1944, the majority in central and southern Arizona.
The impact of the rising tide of military air power came quickly to Marana. Among the dozens of bases built by the War Department in Arizona from 1942 to 1944 as part of that immense mobilization was a dusty airfield just south of Picacho Peak.
In 1942, the U.S. Government bought about 3.5 square miles of the old Aguirre Ranch southwest of Red Rock for construction of an air base.
The air field was built in 1942 by the Sundt & Del Webb Construction Companies in just three months. The construction transformed what was mostly farmland surrounded by desert into a bustling Army airfield, with a "lean-to" kitchen and small shacks with screenless windows. By 1943, the base was in full operation.
The base was originally known as Marana Army Air Field, and was under the command of the 389th Army Air Force Base Unit, AAF West Coast Training Center. Its prime function was a pilot training base, and conducted basic flight training & the training of transport pilots in instrument flying and navigation.
The Marana AAF became the largest pilot-training center in the world during WWII, training over 10,000 flyers. To serve the nearby military facility, the highway from Tucson to Casa Grande was improved and soon became the major road through the Marana area. A German and Italian prisoner-of-war camp was also built northwest of Marana, and the prisoners helped harvest crops.
In addition to the main Marana air field, there also were several satellite fields used for landing and takeoff training:
The Marana Army Air Field became the largest pilot-training center in the world during WWII, training over 10,000 flyers.
The field was closed after World War II and in 1948 Pinal County took possession of the property. From 1948-51, Pinal County leased the property to multiple tenants, and from 1951–56, Marana was reused as a contractor-operated USAF flying school, operated by Darr Aeronautical Technical Company.
During the Vietnam War, the airfield was dominated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and used as one of the Agency's primary facilities for global covert air operations. A number of CIA false "front" aviation companies operated there, including Intermountain Airlines. "Air America" had its roots at Marana.
In 1979 Evergreen International Aviation, a provider of passenger and cargo services, took over the facility lease. Three years later, in 1982, Evergreen Air Center opened its doors offering maintenance, initially on Evergreen’s fleet.
The last of the small Beechcraft Starship fleet was built in 1995, and by 2003 Beechcraft had decided that supporting a small fleet of airplanes was cost-prohibitive. Raytheon Aircraft thus began scrapping and incinerating the aircraft, with Pinal Airpark chosen as the locale for the work. Several Starships still survive today, some in airworthy condition.
Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site
Just north of the airpark is the Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (WAATS) located at the Silverbell Army Heliport Marana. Co-located at the heliport is the 1st/285th Apache Helicopter Attack Battalion, a unit of the Arizona Army National Guard. The site is used for Apache (ARNG AH-64) helicopter training and military combat training operations.
The WAATS is the premier training site for attack and aero-scout helicopter training for the Army National Guard. The training site also serves both active duty and National Guard aviators with simulation support, utilizing the AH-1 Flight Weapons Simulator or the AH-64 Combat Mission Simulator.
Pinal Airpark also hosts the U.S. Special Operations Command's Parachute Training and Testing Facility. In 1992, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) bought 480 acres of Airpark land in the southwest corner of the leased property for $1,000,000. The acquired property includes the use of the Airpark runway.
Another airport in the area is Marana Regional Airport (AVQ), purchased by the Town in 1999 from Pima County. It is classified as a general aviation reliever airport for Tucson International.
It is located approximately 15 nautical miles northwest of Tucson and is 5 miles west of Interstate 10 on Avra Valley Road. The airport is home to more than 310 based aircraft and had more than 110,000 takeoffs and landings in 2010. The airport's main runway is 6,900 feet and the crosswind runway is 3,900 feet.