National Geographic : 1953 Sep
© National Geographic Society 376 A Fiery Furnace Devours B-29's, Veterans of the War over Japan At the close of World War II the United States Air Force wrapped hundreds of surplus bombers in plastic cocoons and stored them on the desert at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson. War in Korea put some craft back into service and doomed others to cannibalization for spare parts. Stripped of everything but their aluminum skeletons, the B-29's are fed into a portable oil burning smelter. In goes half a wing (inset); out comes molten metal which may go into another warplane. One stripped fuselage yields 14,000 pounds to the molds (left). Flat on their bellies, proud old ships lie on the distant scrap heap.