This article was originally published on TheEcoFeed
Although an airplane has a broad spectrum of uses that range from transportation of goods and people to military and research use, there are some people who believe that the potential of airplanes is much more than their intended use. Meet Bruce Campbell, a retired electrical engineer who also happens to be a very inventive man. Bruce is known for using his imagination and creativity to turn planes (that would have otherwise turned to scrap) into really impressive masterpieces. So, keep on reading to know how he turned an old airplane into his home.
A Big Dreamer From the Very Start
Bruce Campbell always had big plans and a creative vision. He knew planning ahead was important. He was only in his early 20s when he purchased a 10-acre piece of land in the forest of Hillsboro, Oregon for $23,000.
He always had a keen interest in creating new things with old objects and materials. His initial plan was to use several freight vans to create a home for himself. It was a good innovative idea until he heard someone else had already built a similar home.
Change of Plans
As Bruce came to know that someone else had already built a home using several freight vans, he still decided to move forward with his initial plan. However, it all changed when he heard about Joanne Ussery, a hairdresser from Mississippi whose previous house was burned down and she bought a Boeing 727 and turned it into her new home.
The thought of turning a gigantic plane into home sounded more innovative and fun. He strongly started to consider the idea as he believed that old airplanes shouldn’t become scrap metal. Hence, he changed his plans and all he needed now was money.
Buying A Boeing 727
Campbell had already done the research and collected enough money by 1999 to purchase a Boeing 727 from Olympic Airways based at Athens Airport. He acquired the airplane for $100,000. But this wasn’t the difficult part.
Transporting the gigantic aircraft to the woods was turning out to be a really challenging task. From staging to carrying out the move, it cost him another $120,000. However, he was happy to pay the extra expenses as he was confident in his plan.
Moving the Airplane
Campbell couldn’t wait to start working on his dream project. But first, he had to move the airplane deep into the woods of Oregon. It took several men to take the wings of the plane apart to transport it to the required location.
The wings of the airplane were deconstructed in such a way that they were easily reinstalled once it reached its destination. Campbell thought that his project would just start off, but he didn’t know that it had morphed into something really big that would require many years to complete.
Learning Hard Lessons
Bruce Campbell bought the plane as a fun undertaking and he certainly didn’t have a vision for it. One thing that was clear for him was that he wanted to upcycle the airplane. He believed that jetliners should never be turned to scrap and they can be transformed into homes.
For many years, he resided in the fright vans nearby while working on the fuselage. However, he was forced to move to the airplane when his van was infested with mice. That’s when he truly started to understand the space.
A Resolute Mindset
He believes that shredding a magnificent airliner is a tragedy in waste. He thinks that some people may find an airplane in woods strange or lonely living environment, but to him, it feels totally natural. He said in an interview: “engineering grace unmatched by any other structures people can live within.”
He had no plans for the interior of the aircraft, but it all changed once he moved in. he told Business Insider: “Next time you’re in a jetliner, close your eyes for a moment and remove all the seats, all the other people from your mind. Then open your eyes with that vision and consider the expanse of the living room. It’s a good environment; it really is.”
Showing the Masterpiece to the World
Before Bruce Campbell was ready to show his masterpiece to the world, he used a high-pressure water spray to completely wash the exterior of the fuselage. He told Daily Mail that using water spray to clean the exterior sounds easy, but it takes about four days to do it.
The exterior of the airplane needs to be washed every two years and Campbell has to use ladders to access the top of the plane and the engines (which could be quite dangerous in case of any incident).
Aerospace Class Castle
Campbell believes that the destiny of every plane can become “aerospace class castle” as it is suitable for everyone to live in. During an interview with Daily Mail, he said: “If a conventional home is a legacy age family Chevy or Ford, an airliner is a fresh new Tesla or Porsche Carrera.”
It won’t be wrong to say that the airplane indeed looks like a castle and Campbell has put in a lot of effort behind it. Even the huge Boeing 727 airliner is propped on concrete pillars.
Making Constant Modifications
Campbell made sure that he used most of the equipment of the plane while also made changes to the interior of the plane to make it more suitable for living. He believes that his new home is still work in progress.
He is trying to restore some of the original features of the plane such as the flight stairs, LED lighting, the airplane style lavatory, and some of the original seating.
Welcome to My Beautiful Home
When you enter Bruce Campbell’s home, you’ll need to use the airplane’s original fold-down stairwell. It’ll feel like you’re getting on a regular plane, but you will be shocked when you look inside.
Campbell has worked on every little detail. There is even a shoe rack filled with slippers at the front of the plane for anyone who visits his Boeing 727 home. Given that cleaning such a big home is not easy, he prefers that everyone wear socks and slippers inside the aircraft.
First Rule of the House is Extremely Important
As you can see there is a glass floor, it is understandable that Campbell ensures no one enters his house without wearing socks/slippers. Even he strictly follows this rule as well because keeping the house in pristine condition is really important to him.
He absolutely loves the Plexiglas flooring and takes extra care to prevent it from getting dirty. When you come to think of it, the glass floor certainly adds to the look of his home.
Living a Simple Life
Although Boeing 727 is quite spacious, Bruce Campbell likes to live a modest life. He cooks with a toaster and microwave and eats mostly canned food. And yes, he sleeps on a futon.
In this picture, Campbell is relaxing but the truth is that most of the times he isn’t chilling and is thinking about new ways to enhance his home.
Campbell constructed the shower close to the tail of the plane. He had to dig a trench so that he has easy access to running water and electricity to heat the water. From the trench, he had to reroute a well power line.
As we know that he is a retired electrical engineer, his makeshift shower gives him access to clean water to easily shave and brush his teeth.
Ready for Takeoff
Although the cockpit still has all the original equipment, Campbell was happier in converting it into his reading and entertainment area. Nevertheless, he still has plans to make more renovations because of all the cool gadgets in it.
In an interview with Business Insider, he told: “It’s a great toy. Trick doors, trick floors. Hatches here hatches there. Star Trek movies in a Star-Trek-like setting.” He considers himself a tech nerd and believes that the plane is his constant source of adventure.
Home Used as Working Station
Campbell spends most of the day in his new home. He loves doing work on his computer and figuring out new ways to enhance the design of his home further. “I think most people are nerds in their hearts in some measure. The point is to have fun,” he told Daily Mail.
It looks quite obvious that Campbell loves what he is doing. He derives so much fun and excitement from planning what he needs to do next with his truly impressive home.
Just like someone would take care of their garden, Campbell also takes extra care of the surrounding forest area.
Once a week, Campbell mows the surrounding forest area and cuts the weeds and grass around the airliner to keep up the perfect appearance of the Boeing 727.
As we know that Campbell constructed the running water system of the plane all by himself, he also restored the lighting of the plane, from both inside and outside.
He also repaired the original LED, which is more environment-friendly. Campbell knew that living alone in the forest without lights is not safe and that’s why he ensured all the basic amenities are fully covered.
Innovation That Has Environmental Benefits
When the Daily Mail asked Campbell why he is so dedicated to upcycling aircrafts and transforming them into homes, he mentioned the environmental benefits of his efforts. He pointed out that planes are really strong and perfect for living because they can withstand earthquakes and storms.
In addition to environmental benefits, Boeing 727 is quite easier to clean. “Their interior is easy to keep immaculately clean because they are sealed pressure canisters. They could last for centuries,” he said.
A Fully Stocked Kitchen
Some people may not consider the idea of living in a plane due to lack of supplies and amenities, but Bruce Campbell is prepared for everything. As he doesn’t live far from the city, getting supplies isn’t a big worry for him.
His kitchen is filled with all the supplies and condiments he needs. The kitchen has a toaster, microwave, and running water, so making food isn’t difficult for him. Another way to look at it is that he isn’t eating actual airplane food, right?
Persevering What Matters
Bruce Campbell may have changed a lot of the interior of the plane, but he has still kept some seats in pristine condition to preserve that exciting feeling of going up in the air.
Although he took most of the seats out, he did keep a few of them to remind him why his idea of having an airplane home is so good. Besides, these seats are best for guests.
Pilot in Real Life?
Campbell isn’t a pilot, but he loves to hang out in the cockpit area. His time in the cockpit gives him an opportunity to imagine how pilots feel like when they have full control of such a heavy flying machine.
Spending time in the cockpit area relaxes his mind and helps him come up with new ideas for his home. He has really done some good work in keeping the vibe of a cockpit alive.
Bruce Campbell has everything covered from basic necessities to clean, washed clothes. He has a top loader machine to keep his clothes look fresh and clean.
Campbell is a perfect example for those who always make excuses when it comes to laundry. He is just using his imaginations and skills to find a solution to almost any problem.
A Typical Man
Although he lives on an aircraft, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about his physical appearance. Some people forget to look after themselves during holidays, but Campbell makes sure he is always neat and clean.
This picture shows that living on an aircraft doesn’t mean he is cut off from civilization. He is just living a normal life in an unconventional home, that’s it.
A Man Who Thinks Differently
According to Campbell, living in an airplane is a lot beneficial than a home that is made of wood. He believes that wood is not a good building option as it biodegrades and can catch fire as well.
He is not a big fan of traditional rectangular houses. “To me it makes no sense at all to destroy the finest structures available and then turn around and build homes out of materials which are fundamentally little better than pressed cardboard, using ancient and inferior design and building methods,” he said.
A Fan of Logical Questions
Campbell gets asked a lot of times two questions: did the plane crashed in Oregon? Or did he simply restore the airplane?
He doesn’t care to give answers to such questions as he believes that they are totally unreasonable and illogical.
He is a Proud Owner
As he posed for this picture, one thing can be said with absolute certainty that he is proud of his creation.
This is just a glimpse of his innovative mind because he has many plans for the future. Keep on reading to know more about them.
Living Out and About
If you were feeling a little bit uncomfortable thinking about how can he live all year long in an airplane, you should know that he spends about six months in his airplane home.
As he spends half of the year in his Boeing 727, he lives the other half in Japan because he likes a change in scenery.
Thinking About an Upgrade
If you think that Campbell may just stop after this, maybe you haven’t been reading this article closely. He is an innovative guy and he is thinking about duplicating his project but with a bigger airliner.
He is planning about doing the same thing in Japan by purchasing a retired 727 airplane. Seeing that he’s been so dedicated to his passion, we are confident he will be able to pull this off in Japan as well.
Making a Difference in the World
Campbell has a firm belief that he can make a difference in the world of humanity and the environment. He is certainly doing a lot to make his point.
His biggest asset in doing this is going to be his innovative mindset.“My goal is to change humanity’s behavior in this little niche,” Campbell said as he stood with his airplane home.
One of a Few
There are a small number of people who also think like Campbell. There is a group of people has also transformed aircraft and airliners into functional living spaces.
Martin Todd, a spokesman for the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association, said that the group “is happy to see aircraft fuselages re-purposed in a range of creative ways. We would want them to be recovered and to be re-used in an environmentally sustainable fashion.”
But Why Oregon?
According to Campbell, he chose the woods of Hillsboro, Oregon for two reasons: (1) he was offered a job in the area after he graduated in the 70s (2) he really loves the greenery of the area.
He wrote on his website: “I like the area and it’s very green and Oregon is a little independent-minded which appealed to me. It’s a country setting, it’s very nice. It’s more than enough for the aircraft.”
It is an Open House
Bruce Campbell wants to inspire people and make a change in the world. That’s why he is always happy to give a tour to curious onlookers and tourists.
When asked about people coming to see his place, Campbell told Daily Mail: “It happens frequently; it happens almost every day now and I encourage it.” He also told that he wants people to know that it is “one of the finest structures mankind has ever built.”
“Oh, Don’t Mind Me!”
As many people come to see Campbell’s amazing airplane house, there have been some awkward moments. For instance, one time he was taking a shower when some visitors walked in unannounced.
“I live in a pretty transparent environment. I go about living while people are touring my aircraft and sometimes it’s very intimate,” he told Daily Mail. Nevertheless, he loves meeting new people as he gets to learn a lot from them.
A Cool Place for a Concert
Campbell is a good-hearted, cool guy. Not only Campbell has his house open for everyone, but he also hosts events during the year.
Last year in between the months of June and July he hosted Yuko Pomily, a vocalist from Tokyo, and other artists for a one-of-a-kind show. On his website, he advertised the show as “A new concert option: Superb music rendered from a wing of a scintillating aerospace home.”
Party Scene on a 727
For those who missed the music show, Campbell hosted a massive DJ dance party at the end of last year.
Once he announced the dates of the party, thousands of people showed interest in it. Needless to say, it was an amazing party of art, beer, and food with the permission of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
His Social Life
He has a modest lifestyle and it seems like he is really enjoying being a bachelor. He really loves his nontraditional home and believes that the concept of love and marriage is just as restricting as a mortgage.
“I will not marry and will not generate kids. I’m 68 so it’s too late anyway, but I simply never desired to be married or have kids. I enjoy romance and love and I indulge in it as much as civilization will allow,” he declared to Daily Mail.
As we know that he spends his time living in his Oregon Aerospace Castle and Japan, he is hoping to purchase land in Japan to create his second airplane home with a bigger Boeing 747-400.
It won’t be wrong to say that he finds his thrill in upcycling airplanes. It is because he feels that more and more people will start thinking like him once they visit his planes.
A Person With a Bigger Cause
He plans on starting to work on his second airplane on the shores of the island of Kyushu. His vision is to transform the plane into a tsunami lifeboat.
He wants people to know about the durability of airplanes and how they can withstand harsher conditions and last for centuries. We are certain that the talented engineer will soon complete his project.
A Unique Aircraft Model
Bruce Campbell used the Boeing 727-400 model which was produced by Boeing from 1960 to 1984. The model was considered suitable for shorter runways at smaller airports.
It was the only aircraft model built by Boeing that had three engines and could seat 149-189 passengers. Today, only Iran Aseman Airlines uses three of 727-200s for passenger service.
A Gloomy History for Sure
As we know by now that Campbell is a dedicated person, we are sure he knew that the Boeing 727 he purchased once transported a dead body of someone really famous.
Yes, the new home of Campbell once transported the dead body of Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis to Greek after he died in France of respiratory failure on March 15, 1975. His dead body was accompanied on the plane by Aristotle’s long-time friend and wife at the time, Jackie Kennedy Onassis.