A Man Bought An Old Airliner For $100,000 - Then Transformed The Interior Into A Spectacular Home
Have you ever wondered what happens to retired airliners? Most of them are scrapped and sent to graveyards. However, a few select airplanes end up being displayed in museums, and some are purchased and transformed into homes or businesses. The preferred models used as homes have been the Boeing 727, Boeing 307, and Douglas DC-8. A man in Oregon purchased an old airliner and transformed the interior into an amazing home.
Bruce Campbell Purchased A Retired Plane For $100,000
Bruce Campbell is a former electrical engineer who bought a retired Boeing 727 airplane and transformed it into his home. Campbell has spent most of his life pursuing technological achievements, has never married, and has claimed to be "socially inept."
He purchased the massive three-engine commercial airliner for one hundred thousand dollars. It is currently propped up on concrete pillars in a wooded area outside of Portland, Oregon.
Bruce Loves Adventure
Bruce Campbell stated that he thinks of himself as a nerd but also a lover of adventure. When he was in his twenties, he purchased a ten-acre plot in the woods in Portland. He was very unsure about purchasing a property the traditional way.
Bruce said, "My parents were Air Force officers, and I was born shortly after the war, and I always lived near bases during my youth. So, I always saw the jets practicing overhead, and I became a pilot. Although I wasn't a jet pilot, just a private pilot. And I'm an engineer. So, the jetliner home concept evolved from the nature of my life rather naturally. And it's not so much that I was a fan of aircraft as that they're simply part of my life."
Taking A Different Path
He never wanted to borrow money to buy or build a house, so he went about things a little differently. He didn't want to buy a home and have a mortgage because he was happy living in a very humble and inexpensive mobile home.
His original plan was to build a home on his acreage using freight wagons, but that changed after he came across the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association. He aligned himself with the group and decided he wanted to use an airplane.
Determined Not To Be In Debt
He chose to use the aircraft because he would be able to save and invest some of the spare money that he had by building a modest home.
He wanted to wait and buy a home when he could pay for it in cash because he didn't want to be in debt. He saved money for years and then decided to build cheaper because he stopped thinking in provincial terms.
The Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association believes in the preservation of retired airplanes. However, they do not just want to restore the aircraft; they want them converted to fulfill other uses, such as homes.
The association brings together recycling companies, manufacturers, and aviation tech companies across the aircraft industry. They aim to promote environmental best practices.
Built To Last
The best thing about using an aircraft for your home is that they are structures that are built to last. They are extremely well designed in order to last decades and are extremely fire resistant, and provide superior security.
They are actually among the finest structures built by mankind. Sadly, many planes are retired every day, and most are just left to rot. Some salvagers will use select parts, but the rest is left behind.
The Boeing 727 passenger jet that Bruce Campbell renovated is actually a historical aircraft. He found the plane in 1999, and it came with a rich history. Before it was retired, the plane had once transported the body of shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis back home to his native Greece in 1975.
In addition, his very well-known wife, Jackie Onassis, sat in the cabin on that flight. Campbell hoped to inspire others to save a plane and repurpose it.
Getting The Plane Home & Secured
After he purchased the airplane, he needed to somehow get it to his property in Oregon. He explained how he moved it, saying, "Wayne Grippin house movers and Swanson Trucking managed to move the aircraft from the staging site next to the Hillsboro Airport through this path, which you can see was cut in my forest up to the site."
Once the plane was on Bruce's land, he needed to secure it. He also needed to make it as earthquake-proof as possible. He used the airplane's landing gear to secure and stabilize it.
Then The Hard Work Really Began
Once the plane was moved and secured, Campbell began the real work. He renovated the airplane, which cost him another one hundred and twenty thousand dollars.
He wanted to make the home safe and secure in the case of an earthquake. He also wanted it to be a home he could relax in and would feel comfortable in. The sky was the limit when it came to doing things the right and safe way.
Needing The Basics
Once the plane was ready to be transformed into a home, he made sure to take care of the necessities. First, he needed to have access to water, and when the plane was operational, a service door allowed water to be piped in.
Then, he connected both an electricity supply and a telephone line to his new home. In addition, he installed two working toilets, which share one sewage connection that transports waste out of the aircraft through another service door.
Once the practicalities were taken care of, he made some additions. For instance, he made it so that you could access the plane by a set of air stairs that retracted and extended. The steps bring you up to the rear of the airplane, where he installed a primitive shower.
The inside is an open cabin layout with living arrangements for one person. Bruce is single and has no children, so he has more freedom with how he wants to have everything set up.
Most of his living space is at the rear of the plane, including two bathrooms, which he called his guest lavatory. The bathrooms are very much like they were when the airplane was still in commission.
The bathrooms are compact, with a toilet, basin, and mirror. There is another section that is used as storage space, which he calls the aft galley. It is filled with all kinds of industrial or construction-related materials at the moment.
The Guest Room
The aft room in Campbell's airplane was functioning as a storage room, but he stated he has big plans for the room in the future. He stated that it might be turned into a guest space, laundry room, or some other space.
He stated, "I savor the company of loved ones and cherished friends there and enjoy very charming and rewarding recreation, including lots of exhilarating tennis and mini-volleyball. But there's more on my agenda too."
Another area of the interior has been established into a small office. He has a workbench, but he stated that it is often very cluttered. He is a retired engineer, so he still likes to work and be creative.
Another really neat part of the home is the transparent floor. He tore out the old flooring and replaced it with translucent panels, which allow you to see the structure's ribs and cables.
Central Living Space
Bruce's central living space is situated above the main landing gear bay. He has a futon sofa that he sleeps on, and he said he likes it because it can fold flat if he ever needs space for two.
He has a rail hanging up where he can hang his clothes, and he has a small kitchen where he mostly cooks with a microwave and toaster. He said that he usually eats cereal and canned food. He also likes to construct a lot of makeshift equipment.
Campbell's home boasts a modern design, climate control, and bespoke lighting. The jet's wings provide Bruce with an outside deck, with the right-wing serving as a recreational and work site.
The cockpit remains remarkably intact and serves as Bruce's reading room. He stated that he loves the way the trick doors were placed, and he loves the spinning knobs and multiple hatches in his plane.
Protection From The Elements
The inside of Bruce's home boasts various modern conveniences, and the outer fuselage provides protection from the elements.
He told Atlas Obscura, "The structure is incredibly strong, durable, and long-lived. And it can easily withstand any earthquake or storm. The interior is easy to keep immaculately clean because it is made up of sealed-pressure canisters. So dust and insects can't intrude from the outside. And planes are highly resistant to intruders."
His Has A Website, AirplaneHome.com
Since Bruce Campbell purchased his airplane and started transforming it, he has charted the progress that he's made on his website www.AirplaneHome.com.
He keeps track of all of his progress and his hopes for the future with his home. He also hopes to convince others to follow his lead. He believes that more people should buy retired airplanes and make them their homes.
Alternative Living Spaces
Bruce Campbell spoke to Alternative Living Spaces, a leader in the container housing industry and modern modular construction. The company is committed to expanding and having a global impact.
He gave a full interview about his airplane home and stated that he loves it, even with its flaws and all of the fundamental foundational problems. He told them that it's a wonderful living environment.
Home For 6 Months
Bruce Campbell loves his airplane home, but he only spends about six months of the year living in the aircraft. He spends the other six months in Japan. He revealed that he hopes to also build an airplane home in Japan as well and has been searching for a Boeing 747-400.
Some of the things he loves about his living arrangements are the neat interior lights, sleek gleaming appearance, amazing exterior lights, and titanium ducts.
Japanese Jet Home
Bruce has been searching for a Boeing 747-400, which will prove to be his biggest project to date. The jet has three times the number of seats and is a much larger space than his 727 home in Oregon. He published a piece in the San Antonio Express-News in 2016.
He said, "A superbly executed second project which very nearly fully preserves the original aircraft in all its sleek gleaming majesty will attract a great deal of world press interest for a very long time, and thus be a considerable promotional value to a partner airline."
Joe Axline constructed his unique home from two airplane fuselages. Project Freedom comes from loving all things airplanes and freedom. The Katy, Texas, airplane house features all of the usual comforts, including a bath, kitchen, multiple bedrooms, and a porch.
However, Joe doesn't want normal; he wants to add a small control tower and terminal and for them to be connected with walkways. He wants to live in an airport home, not just an airplane house.
Boeing 747 Restaurant
The Boeing 747 Restaurant is located in Mokpo City, South Korea, and is the world's first airplane restaurant. Its engine was converted to a signboard that shows the day's menu.
You can decide what you want to eat while climbing up to the passenger section, which is the restaurant. The plane accommodates more than one hundred and fifty tables and is currently being renovated.
Boeing 727 House In Costa Rica
The Boeing 727 House sits in the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica and is a 1965 Boeing 727. Tourists can actually sleep in the Hotel Costa Verde, which is located between the Manuel Antonio National Park and the Pacific Ocean. The hotel features three cliff-side pools, sundecks, and several other rooms.
The plane sits on top of a fifty-foot brick pedestal and includes two bedrooms, which each feature their own dining areas, kitchenettes, and balconies. Each room also has its own private bathroom and private entrance.
727 Fuselage Home
The home is owned by Hotel Costa Verde. The plane previously spent time shuttling people on South African Airlines and Avianca Airlines, a Colombian company. This home took five tractor-trailers and a trip to the Manuel Antonio jungle.
It offers everything that a fancy hotel offers but also includes an amazing view of the jungle, and the inside is retrofitted with wood to create synergy with the jungle theme.
Jo Ann Ussery's Home In Benoit, Lake Whittington, Mississippi
Continental Airlines' first Boeing 727-224 made its maiden flight on May 11, 1968, and it was retired in 1993. JoAnn Ussery purchased the aircraft after losing her house to an ice storm when trees fell on it and flattened it. She is a fifty-two-year-old hair stylist living in Benoit, Mississippi.
She paid two thousand dollars for the plane and another four thousand dollars to move it. She spent four months and twenty-four thousand dollars to turn the aircraft into her home. JoAnn did most of the remodel herself, and the home has three bedrooms, a living/dining room, kitchen, a laundry room, and a master bathroom with a Jacuzzi.
Red Lane's DC-8 Home
Red Lane's DC-8 home resides in Ashland City, Tennessee, but the plane was originally built for Eastern Airlines in 1960. The plane was sold to American Jet Industries, and they parted it out.
Red Lane acquired what remained of the airliner and had it moved to Ashland City, Tennessee. He renovated the plane to make it his home and has lived in it for more than twenty years and still lives in it today.
Vliegtuigsuite, Teuge Airport Hotel, Netherlands
Another plane was transformed into a Teuge Airport Hotel in the Netherlands and is called Vliegtuigsuite. It was converted into a single luxury suite for two guests.
The suite includes a Jacuzzi, separate shower, infrared sauna, three flat-screen televisions, a minibar, a pantry with oven/microwave combination, wireless internet, coffee, tea maker, and air conditioning. The plane is an Ilyushin 18 and was built in 1960 and is now situated at the center of the city triangle of Deventer, Apeldoorn, and Zutphen.
The airplane suite is modern and is close to the airport. It is upscale, with luxury amenities, and you can even book helicopter tours, plane tours, and flying lessons while staying at the hotel.
The plane was once used by the Netherlands government for DDR dogs. The hotel area also features a sauna, beauty, and spa resort and is a five-star sauna complex. In addition, there are several golf courses in the area.
Plane House in Abuja, Nigeria
In Abuja, Nigeria, there is a plane house that is a little extra. The house looks like an airplane house; not just an airplane renovated into a home. The couple wanted to showcase their love of travel.
The upstairs, or top floor, is where you can find the cock pit, which features the computer room. The body of the plane features a kitchen, and the property features several other aircraft-styled structures, such as a guest house and a two-story security booth.
Airplane RV Conversion
There is an airplane that was converted into an RV, which is powered by wind and solar. The RV has plenty of accommodations, and people rent it out to use as a rolling jumbo jet party bus.
It was a World War II-era Navy airplane that was converted into a three-hundred-square-foot RV. It even has a vintage pilot intercom system. Gino Lucci, a Nashville, Michigan-based Air Force veteran, repurposed the plane and made it ideal for family trips.
Toshikazu Tsukii's Retired Airplanes Guesthouse
Toshikazu Tsukii is a retired engineer and aviation enthusiast, and he used a mashup of different airplanes to build his home. The couches are made from airplane seats, and old turbine covers with glass on top that serves as tables.
The flight crews' serving carts serve the same function in the kitchen. He spent four years making a two-story guesthouse made up of airplane parts. The home is on a seven-acre lot.
Boeing 737 Artificial Reef
The Boeing 737 Artificial Reef sits at the bottom of the ocean and serves as an artificial reef. It was placed on the ocean floor by the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia.
The aircraft houses more than one hundred different species of sea life. It was sunk in 2006 and was the first artificial reef in BC made from an aircraft. The aircraft's home is in Southern Vancouver Island.
House In The Village Of Miziara, Lebanon
The House in the Village of Miziara, Lebanon, was built by a Lebanese couple. They wanted it to resemble an Airbus A380 and include forty-one portholes on both sides of the house.
It has an incredible view of the mountains and features several bedrooms and a living room. It also has a beautiful spiral staircase. The two-story plane house is located in a beautiful region that is famous for its weird and fancy houses.
There Are Tens Of Thousands Of Trashed Aircraft
There are tens of thousands of trashed aircraft and retired airplanes at Davis-Monthan. It is a logical choice for a major storage facility because the area has low humidity, very little rainfall, hard alkaline soil, and a high altitude of more than twenty-five hundred feet.
The area allows the aircraft to be naturally preserved for cannibalization or possible reuse. There are actually seven facilities full of aircraft. Used aircraft still have value, and the salvage yards know it.
1950s Bristol Freighter Plane Motel
A former 1950s Bristol Freighter plan was converted into a hotel. You can stay a night at the hotel for a few hundred dollars and can even get a double room if you pay a little more. You can even choose to sleep in the cockpit.
It will sleep four people, but you have to climb a very steep ladder to get to it. The tail also sleeps four and features a double bed along with a set of bunk beds. It is one of the most unique hotels in Waitomo, New Zealand.
Dave Drimmer's Boeing 307 Home
Dave Drimmer owns a very unique airliner home, a Boeing 307 'plane boat.' It is half boat and half airplane. The plane was one of ten built in the 1930s as a thirty-three-passenger airliner.
The plane was purchased, and the interior was changed to include a master bedroom, two bathrooms, a living room, a galley, and a stand-up bar. Drimmer paid ten thousand dollars for it and then invested more than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars rebuilding it into his 'plane boat.'
The Boeing 727 Hunting Lodge
The Boeing 727 Hunting Lodge was purchased by Mac McNeer, Gary Bright, and Doug Muse. They moved it to West Leflore County after paying one thousand dollars for it.
Today, it sits in a forested area on four thousand acres, which is a sportsman's paradise with an abundance of deer, doves, and ducks. Hunters stay in the lodge and gather in the evening to socialize, drink alcohol, and eat. The lodge has a comfortable but rugged feel to it.
British Airways Boeing 747 Converted Into A Party Plane
This plane was a part of British Airways' fleet in 1994 and was retired in 2020. In 2020, Susannah Harvey, the chief executive of the privately-owned Cotswold Airport near Kemble in England, took the opportunity to buy the Boeing 747.
She invested more than six hundred and seventy thousand dollars and spent more than fourteen months renovating the aircraft into a modern space for social occasions, parties, and even weddings. The rates start at about thirteen hundred dollars per hour to rent the party plane.
Party Room At A McDonald's In Budapest, Hungary
In Budapest, Hungary, an airplane was turned into a McDonald's party room. It serves as a sort of party room for birthdays and special gatherings. It was actually a very clever idea and a great use of old military aircraft.
They painted the old plane red and yellow to match the McDonald's theme. Who wouldn't want to eat their Happy Meal chicken nuggets in an airplane cockpit?
There is also an airplane that was transformed into a classroom. The aircraft is located in the country of Georgia and was thought up by the local school headmaster.
He wanted a fun, engaging environment for children to learn, so he got a Yakovlev Tak-42 and converted it into a classroom. They left the cockpit virtually untouched, which the kids loved. The plane also featured kids-size desks, games, toys, and educational equipment.
Grumman Greenhouse Sculpture
Philadelphia artist Jordan Griska was hired to build a sculpture for Lenfest Plaza in 2011, and he used a Grumman Tracker II aircraft. He used the aircraft as a feature piece of artwork for the plaza. It was a Cold War-era plane that was originally designed to bomb submarines.
The artist made a few folds in the body so that the plane appeared to be crumpling on the ground. In addition, he turned the inside of the plane into a fully functioning greenhouse. Produce from the greenhouse is used to feed low-income families.
In the United Kingdom, a former 1950s Douglas DC was completely transformed into a fine dining restaurant. The restaurant only seats forty people at one time, and it is known as the DC-6 Diner.
The diner is part of the Living Aviation Museum on the grounds of Coventry Airbase. Visitors are allowed to check out the cockpit and the overhead passenger call buttons are still in use. You press it when you want to get your server table side.
Chang Chui Bangkok Plane Night Market
In Bangkok, night markets are popular, and one of the more unusual night markets is the Chang Chui Bangkok Plane Night Market.
It is a huge airbus shell and sits in the center of the market with a huge red slide for the kids to have fun with. There are also several other shops, restaurants, and weird art pieces on site. There are often live music performances near the airplane.
El Avion - Pub Bar
The El Avion – Pub Bar is another airplane that was converted in the Costa Rica Manuel Antonio jungle. It is a 1954 Fairchild C-123 cargo plane that is the integral structure of the El Avion Bar.
It was the same plane that went down in the mid-1980s with a sole survivor who happened to offer testimony to the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration. The pub bar is located in the National Park.
Amber Scott, a twenty-five-year-old makeup artist, converted an Air Atlantique G-Conv plane into a beauty salon. Her parents had the plane lying on their land in Carluke, Lanarkshire and gave it to her.
They had the plane for ten years and had originally planned to convert it into a bed and breakfast, but they failed to get it going. Amber gave the plane new life and purpose and now runs her beauty salon out of it.
Airplane Slide In Ukraine
There is a plan in Ukraine that has been turned into a large slide. They used an old Tupolev Tu-124. It is located on the grounds of an airbase, and it sits very high, with the front wheel perched on a tiny pole. The children in Ukraine love it!
They have to climb a spiral staircase, make their way to the slide, and come shooting down. It gives children the experience of what it's like to evacuate an aircraft during emergency procedures.
The Cookie Time Cafe DC-3
Cookie Time is located in New Zealand and is the largest manufacturer of cookies in the country. They turned a DC-3 military aircraft into a café called Cookie Time.
The plane was once used by the Royal Air Force and logged more than four thousand hours. It's painted like a cookie plane and sits just outside the airport. It is home to the finest selection of handmade, fresh-baked, all-butter cookies.
Advantages Of Using A Plane As Your Home
There are many advantages of using a plane as your home or business. They typically have the same area as a normal house, but it's just in a different shape. The cockpit and tail of the plane are often turned into a bedroom or bathroom, and in the middle are the living room and kitchen area. The planes are well insulated, making them very energy efficient, and they have plenty of storage.
The average cost is between thirty-five thousand and fifty-five thousand dollars. The entire project costs much less than most suburban homes and requires a lot less maintenance. Bruce Campbell stated, "When you live in a structure like this, you feel a little more fulfilled with your life. And if you're an engineer, scientist, or anyone who appreciates the elegance and beauty of aerospace technology, it's just a happier place to live."