Solo living in a “camper-airplane” as architecture of collapse

For 20 years, has lived on a Boeing 727 in the woods outside Portland and he thinks more people should consider retired jetliners as homes. As masterful works of aerospace science and engineering, he sees them as “unmatched by any other structures people can live within. They’re incredibly strong, durable, and long lived. And they easily withstand any earthquake or storm.” Given that they’re sealed pressure canisters, they are also easy to keep sterile.

Campbell bought the decommissioned Boeing 727-200 in 1999 for $100,000, but he says he overpaid and cites Joanne Ussery as an example. She paid $2,000 for the plane’s hull and $6000 in moving costs. He used the plane’s native plumbing system, as well as water and electric hookups to create a residence complete with refrigerator, microwave, hot water shower and the native aft bathroom (toilet/sink).

Campbell’s Boeing 727 once flew Jackie Onassis and Kennedys (along with Aristotle Onassis’ body home for burial) and he still has the seat Jackie allegedly used. Campbell says three jetliners are decommissioned and sent to the boneyard on a daily basis. He’s part of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), whose members are as dedicated as he is about showing the world planes make good homes. Campbell believes that instead of flying planes to death yards, they could be flown to empty land where an entire community of jetliners would make an ideal mobile home community. He opens his home to visits. airplanehome.com

26 Comments

  1. As a current Boeing engineer, i’ve always wondered retired airliner fuselage would make a great basic structure for a home. There amount of structural and material engineering, and meticulous manufacturing that went into building an aircraft, to ensure safe and reliable operation for 30+ years, is just so much higher than trainer home. it must not leak, must not corrode, and must be able to withstand the G load from hundreds of thousands of rake-off and landing cycle, and impact force from a hard landing during a 30kts crosswind. It will be one sturdy home. With that said, this person could’ve done a better job at organizing the space…the interior just looks like junks piles on top of other junks. There is a lack of space separation and comfort from this very sturdy home.

    • @Darthudd 727’s are currently $1.5M-$3M to buy one that’s fully operational or you can spend $150K-$300K on one that’s non-operational but complete. I could claim to have bought one for $5 but that doesn’t make it true. Even a stripped F-14 goes for $5-$10k and given how small those are compared to a 727 I seriously doubt anyone claiming to have gotten their hands on one of those larger planes for $4k. The cost just to move the shell of a 727 from the nearest boneyard to Portland via two trucks would be $20-$30k. His math just doesn’t make any sense at all. And those are the up front costs before any actual construction takes place which is why I said I think he’s delusional and making up numbers to cover just how much money he’s thrown at this thing.

    • @Hogscraper He said it came with with a stripped cockpit, that he cut off the wings, and that he had a moving company move it, not fly it. The logistics were the hardest part. I believe I heard him talk about the move more in depth in another video I’ve seen. And, he admits he’s a nerd, with other priorities, like his work as an electrical engineer. The setup in the woods is amazing, and maybe one day someone else will complete the project.

    • on point… its creepy and a total mess. Reminds me of renos/restorations on old trailers and motorhomes, there are some really nice renos where you would enjoy being in those spaces. This looks like a tornado hit inside……a bit eccentric he is, I’d say LOL… I’d be out in five minutes flat, hahaha

    • @Hogscraper hes a total eccentric, LOL….Im betting he does not own a car, or if he does, its also at least 20 yrs old and a mess, hahaha….ugh…

    • @Hogscraper Yeah, he’s worried about cleaning under the non-functional spoilers while the interior looks like a homeless camp. I was trying to wrap my head around the idea of buying a flyable 727 for 100K – I’d be interested!

  2. On the one hand, it’s great that his mind and body stays active owing to this project. He clearly gets enjoyment from it and that’s paramount. On the other hand it serves as a warning as to how much work it truly is to actually pull something like this off – in any meaningful, home-worthy sense. For anyone other than him, the result, especially after 17 years, feels unsatisfying, half-baked, cluttered, and never-ending. Hats off to him for not being a bore, but the result in this case fees like living in a garage on stilts. And he still sleeps on a futon? Come on man, your very first task 17 years ago should have been to create a 10 square metre luxury sleeping area. At least that gives the project some dignity right from the word go, whatever mess persists elsewhere. A characterful calamity, but I still really like the guy, and his happiness is the only thing that truly matters here.

  3. “Hi-tech ramshackle with a lot of potential”
    These robust structures, minus the wings, could be widely re-purposed as living spaces for many types of people.
    This one looks like barely controlled chaos, but, in the hands of a team of workers with a vision, a similar unit could be transformed into something special.
    Thanks for the tour.

  4. I toured this on the Portland Weird Homes tour last year … meh.
    It looks to be exactly the same as a year ago. I think he gets caught up in the minutia of his ideas for the “bird” and isn’t necessarily interested in having a conventionally comfortable home. I think there’s a reason he lives alone…. if he likes living that way, who am I to criticize? Not for most of us, but he’s a different bird living in a bird!

  5. It might be a very long term project but it is his project and home. I love the transparent flooring to see the wiring and control cables. My hats off to Bruce for doing this and living a dream 🙂

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