The Mojave Desert’s Airplane Graveyard / Ransom Riggs

I thought it was a mirage the first time I saw it. I was driving through the wastes of the Mojave Desert, two hours from anywhere, when off in the shimmering distance appeared the silhouettes of a hundred parked jetliners. I pulled off and tried to get closer to them, but a mean-looking perimeter fence keeps onlookers far away. All I could do was stand and stare, wondering what the hell this massive armada of airplanes was doing here, silently baking in the 110 degree heat. For years afterward I’d ask people what they knew about it, and I kept hearing the same thing: the place has been on lockdown since 9/11, and they won’t let civilians anywhere near the boneyard. But last week my luck changed — I met a very nice fellow who works there, and with a minimum of cajoling on my part he agreed to take me beyond the high-security fence and show me around. Of course, I brought my camera. — via mental_floss

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