BA 747 in boneyard Photo by Bastian Ding from airliners.net

The image above shows Boeing 747s stored in a boneyard.

Why are the aircraft left with the doors open? Won't this increase the probability of further damage and/or faster corrosion?

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    $\begingroup$ Compare to the neighboring 747, where the doors are intact. It appears tha the doors and their hardware have been cut from the airframe, rather than simply left open. The aircraft in question is likely being scrapped. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 7:02
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    $\begingroup$ the only aircraft parked there with the doors open is the 737 in the bottom right. The 747 has no doors left, the others have their doors closed. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 8:37
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    $\begingroup$ Even the engines are gone $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ "Free to a good home!" $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 4:46

2 Answers 2


Scrapped aircraft are often cannibalized for parts, it's possible that the parts that were needed from this specific aircraft were the doors.

The photo provided in the question points to Victorville boneyard, and some detective work using the partially visible registration indicates the 747 in the picture to be G-BNLU. Some digging on the reg shows us it was withdrawn in 2014

Withdrawn British Airways Boeing 747-436 G-BNLU positioned Cardiff-Wales – Victorville this morning as BA9156.

It seems that at various times there have been 7 BA 747's stored at victorville

747-400s; G-BNLA, B, C, D, G, H, U

And at least one has visited Victorville for a refit

I was on airliners.net reading some posts/threads and I read one: G-BNLV is back from the desert!!

(Both above quotes from this thread)

Which lends weight to my original assertion of cannibalization, however nothing concrete as to whether U provided new doors to V.

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    $\begingroup$ Looks like they took the entire door frames and structure, not just the doors. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 11:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry - yes it does, this is obviously just a guess but perhaps they needed the entire structure such as hinges, locks, even escape chute mechanism etc. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 11:27

Protection from nature is one reason why places like Victorville are chosen. The climate is naturally warm and dry, which helps to prevent corrosion. If there is any residual moisture in the aircraft, leaving it open will help to dry it out.

While the aircraft could still suffer from dust and debris blowing inside, that's probably not important. If they are to the point of cutting large parts of structure out of the plane, they're probably not too concerned about the inside getting a little dirty. It's basically like a totalled car in a junkyard.

The aircraft are parked inside the airport area, which is out in the desert, so the perimeter is fairly secure. Even if someone did get in, the open areas on the 747 are at least 20 feet above the ground, so it makes it even more difficult for someone to get inside. If they could climb that high, a door wouldn't do much to stop them anyway, as they're not designed to be locked.

When an owner does plan on the aircraft flying again, they put a lot more effort into covering and sealing vulnerable parts of the aircraft. You can also see this with the China Airlines 747 in the background, which has covers on the engines and tires.


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