Oh you know … another day, another story about a dude who lives in a retired Boeing 727-200 parked in the middle of the woods.
While I’ve blogged before about a solar-powered home in Malibu built almost entirely from the bits and pieces of a junked 747 complete with a roof made from the aircraft’s wing, an electrical engineer and self-confessed nerd of the highest order from Oregon named Bruce Campbell (no, not that Bruce Campbell) has taken a decidedly different approach to adaptive reuse involving a decommissioned jetliner. Instead of salvaging the raw materials of a former Olympic Airways 727 procured for $100,000 and going the deconstruction route by using said materials to construct a structure that has some semblance of a “normal” home, Campbell towed the aircraft (an additional $12,500 plus tens and thousands of dollars spent on logistics, temporarily removing the wings from the fuselage, etc.) from Portland-Hillsboro Airport to a rural 10-acre lot and moved right on in. Well, it wasn't that simple, but you get the gist of it.
Over the last decade, Campbell has embarked on some serious DIY interior renovating projects in an ongoing effort to transform the plane into a mostly habitable living space. And I’m not talking about simply rejiggering the configuration of the seats to make way for extra legroom. The seats in the main cabin have, for the most part, been removed and Campbell has transformed one of the three lavatories into a functional bathroom. Plus, the carpeting has been removed in an effort to showcase the wiring hidden underneath the plane's transparent sub-floor.
Campbell also plans on converting the forward galley into a working kitchen and replacing the left landing and nose gear with pillars to add stability. However, Campbell won't go as far to erect walls in order to create individual rooms within the main cabin which, along with the cockpit, offers over 1,000-square-feet of floor space. "I am more personally fulfilled and entertained with aerospace technology front and center than I would be with nice soft accoutrements," he tells MSNBC.
Inside the stripped-down cabin, short-sleeve shirts are neatly stored on hangers above a three-foot jumble of wires. Not far from the cockpit, which is intended to become a computer room, there’s a couch draped by a blanket and adorned with one pillow. Outside, the 727 remains painted with a horizontal, blue Olympic Airways stripe that runs the length of passenger windows. The wings, tail assembly and engine casings all have stayed.
According to MSNBC, Campbell’s unusual digs spent 32 years in service before making its final flight in 1999. In 1975, the aircraft carried Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Ted Kennedy en route to a Greek island where the former buried her second husband, Aristotle Onassis. So I suppose you could consider this the Presidential Suite at the Plaza Hotel of retired airplane homes from Greece. Or something like that.
Campbell, 62, elaborates on why he’s decided to live aboard a "glorious bird:"
Aircraft are flying homes for people. They stay in the sky sometimes for 12 to 14 hours at a time and people have to eat and use the toilet and do almost everything else we normally do — and all of those facilities are in there. They’re built along with lighting and climate control, everything. What I’m trying to demonstrate is that the conversion process can be really very simple and straightforward. If people want something different (inside), they can always redecorate.
In addition the MSNBC article — plus lots and lots of pictures, folks — CNN also published a video tour from affiliate KOIN-TV of Campbell’s plane back in June that got plenty of mileage around the interwebs. I’ve embedded it below.
I also highly recommend taking a look around Campbell’s project website, AirplaneHome.com, that serves as an exhaustive clearinghouse of everything and anything related to acquiring an old jetliner and transforming it into a home. The FAQ section is particularly insightful (be sure to check out Campbell's argument against stick construction). Campbell also takes the opportunity to give grammar lessons to the media, share some deep thoughts, scold the thieves who lifted some of his tools, and remind an unknown neighbor that they left a corkscrew on the left wing of the plane during a get-together last month.
And yes, you can visit Campbell's plane provided that the captain is in (he splits his time between Oregon and Japan) and that the tour been prearranged. It's also crucial that you leave your hunting gear and Marlboro Lights behind and bring along a pair of "scrupulously clean slippers" as Campbell runs an extremely tidy
ship plane. Driving directions of all sorts along with exact GPS coordinates can be found here.