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So many 747s, so little access

At the Pinal Air Park in Marana, Ariz., there is a surplus of parked 747s. But no public access.

At the Pinal Air Park in Marana, Ariz. is a parking lot for commercial airliners, including a large number of 747s. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

MARANA, Ariz.--I was driving down Interstate 10 today, on my way from Phoenix to Tucson, where, as part of my Road Trip around the Southwest, I am visiting the airplane boneyards of the Pima Air and Space Museum and Davis Monthan Air Force Base's famous Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), as well as the Titan Missile Museum.

But as I was driving along I-10, I noticed a whole bunch of airplane tails rising above the low trees. This instantly reminded me of last summer, on my trip around the Pacific Northwest, when I discovered the Japan Airlines 747 pilots training facility.

I was really hoping to arrange a quick tour, so I took the proper exit, drove to the facility and announced my intention. It seemed to be all the security guard could do not to laugh when he told me the public is not allowed. I told him I was a reporter, and he gave me a number to call to see about arranging a visit, but he didn't look optimistic.

I called, and found that the person I needed to talk to was busy, so, being an intrepid reporter, I left, took the nearest side road, drove as close as I could, and snapped a couple of pictures.

They're not great, I understand, but boy are there a lot of 747s at this place, and the pictures sort of capture that. In truth, I've never seen so many 747s, even at the factory in Everett, Wash., where they're made.

I have to leave now, but if they do decide to let me in, you will be the first to know about it.

Without entry to the facility, it is only possible to see the planes from afar. Daniel Terdiman/CNET