If you’re ever wandering through the forest of Hillsboro, Oregon and come across a Boeing 727, there’s no reason to be alarmed. It’s not a plane crash or stolen cargo; it’s just Bruce Campbell’s home. If you’re lucky, Bruce might even give you a tour around to proudly show off his airplane that he converted into his home. Take a look to see the process it took to transform this airplane into his house, how Campbell lives, and the benefits and possible future of people living in upcycled aircrafts.
You’ll never guess how much it costs to buy a Boeing 727.
A Vision At A Young Age
Bruce Campbell is a 64-year-old retired electrical engineer. Since he was young, he was always known for his creative vision. When he was in his early 20s, he bought a 10-acre plot of land for $23,000 in the forest of Hillsboro, Oregon. Campbell also had a unique vision for what he wanted to do with the property.
His plan was to construct a home out of numerous freight vans. Initially, Campbell was thrilled with his idea until he learned about another house that someone had built. This led him to change his mind.
Change Of Plans
Campbell had heard about a woman named Joanne Ussery, a hairdresser who had purchased a Boeing 727 airplane and converted it into her home. After her previous house had burned down, she took the opportunity to build her airplane home next to a lake.
Although Campbell had already started work on his freight van home, he thought the idea of an airplane was exciting and could be fun to play around with. He had the land and the ambition, all he needed was enough money to buy and transport an airplane to his plot of land in Oregon.
Purchasing A Plane
In 1999, Campbell finally decided to buy an airplane. He purchased a Boeing 727 for $100,000 from Olympic Airways at Athens Airport. He had purchased the aircraft, now all he had to do was transport it to his land in the woods.
The move from Athens, Greece to Oregon proved to be one of the hardest and most stressful aspects of the project. The move and other factors cost him another $120,000. However, Campbell wasn’t fazed by the money, because he knew that he would be saving much more of it once he moved into his plane.
It wasn’t long before Campbell’s fun project turned into his new permanent home.
The Move Took Planning
After buying the plane, Bruce couldn’t wait to get it back to Oregon and get to work on his new project. However, moving the plane into the woods proved to be more difficult than it sounds, and required numerous steps.
Campbell had to hire workers to help him take the wings of the plane apart in order to move it onto his property. The wings were taken apart in a way so that they would be able to be put back together. He wanted the plane to have all of the aspects of a working airplane.
Realizing The Plane’s Value
In the beginning, Campbell viewed the airplane as a fun project that he could toy around with. He didn’t have any clear direction yet until he decided that he was going to recycle the plane. He wanted to prove that airplanes could be recycled into homes instead of being scrapped after they were no longer fit to fly.
For years, Campbell worked on the plane as he lived in his freight van homes. However, Campbell was forced to move into the airplane without a building permit after his van had become infested with mice. This was when he truly began to understand the plane’s value.
If you thought that cleaning your room was bad, imagine cleaning a whole airplane.
It All Made Sense
In an interview with Mirror, Campbell explained that “shredding a beautiful and scintillating jetliner is a tragedy in waste and a profound failure of human imagination.” While most people might think to live alone in the woods in a plane would be lonely, Campbell describes it as being natural. He says that the airplane is an “engineering grace unmatched by any other structures people can live within.”
While Campbell never drew up a layout for the airplane, he told Business Insider that once he had moved into the plane, it became clear to him how he would design the interior.
Maintenance Isn’t All That Easy
Before Bruce Campbell was ready to show off his transformed airplane home to the world, he needed to clean the exterior. He had to wash the outside and fuselage with a high-pressure water spray. He told Daily Mail that although that might not sound that difficult, the whole process takes about four days.
The plane needs to be washed once every two years and requires ladders and other tools to clean every part of the aircraft. Washing the plane has also proven to be dangerous because he could fall from the top and Campbell admits that it makes him nervous every time.
Campbell is continuously working on restoring the plane to its former glory.
According to Campbell, every airplane has the potential to become an “aerospace class castle” for people to live and even retire in. He told Daily Mail that, “If a conventional home is a legacy age family Chevy or Ford, an airliner is a fresh new Tesla or Porsche Carrera.”
Campbell’s Boeing is propped up using concrete pillars and even has its own driveway just outside of Hillsboro, Oregon. Visitors that have seen the plane comment that a lot of work went into the airplane as well as the surrounding area, and that it’s clear that the airplane didn’t just land there.
Making Use Of All The Materials
Campbell made a point to reuse every aspect of the airplane that he could. he even ended up leaving most of the controls and other equipment inside of the cockpit. However, he had to do some serious modification to the interior to make the plane a livable space.
The airplane is continuously under renovation as Campbell lives in it full-time and is always making modifications. While he built his custom shower, he also worked on restoring some of the airplane’s original features such as the flight of stairs, the bathroom, LED lighting, and original seating.
Down To The Last Detail
Upon entering Campbell’s Boeing 727 home, you need to climb the airplane’s original fold-down stairwell. The stairs are identical to the one that passengers would have climbed while the aircraft was still in use. Campbell wanted to get things right, down to the last detail.
He even has a shoe rack filled with slippers for guests to wear inside of his home. Campbell prefers that everyone wears socks and slippers inside of the plane because it isn’t effortless to clean the interior of an airplane.
Because the floors inside of the airplane are glass, they get dirty quickly because of the surrounding forest. So he wears socks and slippers at all times to keep the plane as clean as possible. Although he lives alone, he explains that he still takes pride in the cleanliness of his home.
He also wears socks and slippers in order to preserve the Plexiglas flooring which Campbell describes as one of his favorite aspects of his airplane-turned-home. He also claims that the floor is an inspiration for him of what else to do with the airplane.
Campbell Lives A Modest Life
Although the Boeing 727 has plenty of space for one person, Campbell still chooses to live a rather modest life inside of the plane. He sleeps on a futon, cooks with a microwave and toaster, and mainly eats easy-to-make foods like cereals and canned food. In his free time, he tinkers with excess materials to create makeshift equipment.
Here, Campbell shows how he relaxes on the plane. However, he very rarely does much resting because he’s always working on something either on the inside or the outside of the plane.
Check out what he’s done with the bathroom!
Innovation Was Required In The Name Of Hygiene
Campbell’s plane has two of the original working bathrooms but still needed a shower. So Campbell built one close to the tail of the plane. To have heated and running water, he dug a trench where he rerouted a wells power line.
Then, he fused an old meter base with the old power cable where he mounted a new circuit breaker cabinet inside with a telecom cable, PVC pipes, and a backup water pipe. This allows him to shower, brush his teeth, and wash his hands with clean water. It’s not the fanciest system, but it works!
Keeping The Original Cockpit
Campbell made sure that the cockpit still has all of the original instruments so that it still feels authentic. However, instead of flying, Campbell turned the cockpit into his reading and entertainment area. His says that this is the one part of the aircraft that he is continually working on so that the gadgets and instruments look as new as possible
He told Business Insider that, “It’s a great toy. Trick doors, trick floors. Hatches here and hatches there. Star Trek movies in a Star-Trek-like setting.” He claims that all of the gadgets make every second living in the airplane an adventure.
For most of the day, Campbell can be found in his workspace on the airplane. At his workstation, he has his computer where he works on designs for other projects throughout the plane. Planning his next projects for his home brings him the most enjoyment.
He comments that “I think most people are nerds in their hearts in some measure. The point is to have fun.” Getting to live inside one of his current projects is an engineer’s dream and allows Campbell to make the space as livable and practical as possible.
Campbell takes care of the plane as well as the land surrounding it.
Can’t Forget The Lights!
Much like how Campbell created his running water system, he also got to work restoring all of the original lighting, both inside and out. Because he lives in the middle of the forest, he knew that he needed all the illumination that he could get. Having all of the lights working, it means that the plane is fully functional at night.
He can read, write, research, or do anything that he wants without having to worry about power cuts. To make the plane as environmentally friendly as possible, he made sure to repair the original LED lights in order to save energy.
He Does Landscaping Too
Along with taking care of the interior, Campbell also makes sure to keep up the appearances of the property that his Boeing 727 rests on. Much like a typical backyard, he spends his weekends mowing the lawn, cutting the edges, and weeding around the property.
He says that he performs these tasks once a week to make sure that his home looks presentable at all times. He wants to make sure that his property looks like a home, and not somewhere that a Being 727 had crashed and was rotting away.
For most people, the drawback to living in an airplane would be a restriction of amenities. However, Campbell has proven that he can live comfortably in his situation. Take his kitchen for example; he has a fully stocked pantry with everything that he might need to feed himself.
Sure, he may not be able to cook a gourmet meal, but that’s not Campbell’s style anyway. He eats so he can keep working on his little projects throughout the plane. With a microwave and a toaster, he’s not completely limited. He also doesn’t live too far away from the city, so restocking his stores isn’t too complicated.
Benefits Of Living in A Plane
When the Daily Mail asked Campbell what the benefits of upcycling aircraft into homes were, he discussed the significant safety advantages. He notes that airplanes are so durable and reliable that they can withstand earthquakes and some of the strongest storms that mother nature could throw at it. Not only is the plane durable beyond belief, but the interior is also guaranteed to last for the foreseeable future.
He comments that “Their interior is easy to keep immaculately clean because they are sealed pressure canisters. They could last for centuries.” He believes that airplane homes will soon become more relevant once people begin to understand the benefits.
Just A Normal Guy
Besides the fact that Bruce Campbell lives in an airplane, he’s not that much different from the rest of us. He runs errands, works, and socializes. He just lives in an airplane, is all. He also makes sure to take care of his personal appearance almost as much as he cares for his home.
The very strategic and clean layout of the interior demonstrates how clean he really is and his desire to keep up appearances. Although he lives in the woods, he’s made it so that he can take care of himself just like anyone that lives in an average home. He has everything he needs on board and wouldn’t live any other way.
Keeping Things Original
Although Campbell isn’t going to be taking his Boeing 727 up into the air anytime soon, he still wants his home to feel like a functioning airplane. In order to do so, he made sure to keep a section of the original seats. They’re exactly where they were when the plane was operational and makes it so you don’t forget you’re inside of an airplane.
Although he had to take most of the other seats out for living space, keeping an original piece of the original place is a reminder of how far he has come. They’re also a great place for guests to sit and relax!
Don’t Forget Laundry!
Of course, with all of the other high-tech gadgets and running water systems Campbell has set up, he didn’t forget about doing his laundry. He has everything else hygiene related down, so there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to do laundry like everyone else. Inside of the aircraft, he even has his own top loader washing machine set up, connected to his running water. T
his way, he doesn’t have to worry about laundry being a hassle, and he will always look presentable for his visitors. Although it took a little bit of imagination, it wasn’t anything that Campbell couldn’t handle.
The Airplane Helps Avoid Damage To His Home
According to Campbell, one of the major benefits of living in an airplane constructed out of metal, is that he doesn’t have to worry about things deteriorating like a wooden house. he told Business Insider that “wood is, in my view, a terrible building material. It biodegrades – it’s termite chow and microbe chow. Or it’s firewood; depends upon which happens first.”
He doesn’t think it’s right to destroy such sturdy structures like airplanes only to go and make homes that are much less sturdy and have far more risk of being damaged or destroyed entirely.
He Doesn’t Appreciate Illogical Questions
Although he loves having visitors that come and look at his home and answer questions, there are some things that he doesn’t particularly appreciate. For example, he hates it when people ask if he is restoring an airplane that he found had crashed in the forest. he says that he doesn’t even give these questions the time of day because he finds them to be insulting, illogical, and unreasonable.
His goal when he has visitors is to teach them the benefits of having a plane as a home as well as show all the hard work that he has put into it. However, he does understand that a plane as a home may not be as obvious for everyone else as it is for him.
He Changes Up His Living Situation
Althugh Campbell is beyond proud of his home, he actually doesn’t live there full time during the year. He only lives in the Boeing 727 six months out of the year. He does enjoy a change in scenery, so for the other half of the year, he lives in Japan, definitely a little different than Oregon!
While living in Japan, Campbell has the time and space to work on various of his other projects which keeps him almost as busy as working on the plane! Surely, while he’s in Japan, he’s thinking of all other kinds of things that he can do to satisfy his curious mind.
Apparently, Campbell is planning on making another house out of an aircraft. However, this time, he plans on making another one in Japan using a Boeing 747, an even bigger plane! He misses his airplane house when he’s in Japan, so he figured he might as well just make another one for when he’s not in Oregon.
He’s had a lot of success with his plane in Oregon and has helped spread his message there, so he might as well start a new project across the Pacific and spread the word there as well. Aso, considering that he’s done it once before, it shouldn’t be a problem to do it again!
Changing The World One Airplane At A Time
Considering how much hard work that Campbell has put into his airplane, he now feels that his life’s purpose is to help make a difference in the world for the environment and the people that inhabit it. Working as an electrical engineer for most of his life, he is fueled by innovation and knows what needs to change in order to make the world a better place.
He sees recycling planes as his calling and a perfect way for him to give back. He even calls his plans to continue to restore airplanes his own “little niche.”
He’s Not The Only One
Amazingly, Campbell isn’t the only person to repurpose old airplanes into homes. Although there aren’t many others, they come from areas such as Texas, Puerto Rico, and even the Netherlands. Much like Campbell, these other people understand the benefit of such an endeavor. 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.” The ARFA went on to state that 1,200 to 1,800 airplanes will be dismantled in the next 3 years with 500 to 600 being retired every year for the next 20 years. These could all be used as homes unless something changes!
Campbell chose the location for his plane in the woods of Hillsboro, Oregon for a few reasons. One was that he was offered a job there after college in the 1970s, and he fell in love with the place. On his website, he says “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.”
He had always put off buying a home to avoid a mortgage and once he finally had enough to buy one, he decided to take a different route. He says that “I had stopped thinking in provincial terms and I had thought like a free bird engineer.”
Concert On The Wing
Not only does Campbell open his house to people that are fascinated by what he’s doing, he also hosts several events throughout the year. From June 30 to July 3, he hosted Yuko Pomily, a vocalist from Tokyo. However, he also invites other artists to partake in these one-of-a-kind shows. The concerts usually take place in the grass area in the front of the right wing of the plane.
He advertises his events on his website writing A new concert option: Superb music rendered from a wing of a scintillating aerospace home.” Of course, there are also guidelines and instruction about attending the events to make sure that everyone is safe and that everything goes according to plan. Be on the lookout for an upcoming show!
Campbell was inspired by Joanne Ussery, a hairdresser who had purchased a Boeing 727 airplane and converted it into her home. See what her airplane looks like next!
A Terrible Situation Inspired Joanne
In 1994, Joanne Ussery was a 52-year-old hairstylist living in Mississippi. Her house had just burned now, and she needed a new home to live in. Joanne had a plot of land alongside a lake that she had in mind, where she could have a trailer delivered for a place to live in.
Ussery told her family her plans to purchase a trailer and she began searching for something in her price range. But then her brother-in-law had an alternative idea that he thought could save Ussery some money, and make for a fun experience, too.
Could She Turn A Boeing 727 Into Her Home?
Her brother-in-law, Bob Farrow, was an air traffic controller. When Ussery told him she was looking for a trailer, he thought that a decomissioned plane could be used for the same purpose. Ussery jumped at the opportunity.
Farrow found her a Boeing 727 plane that operated from May 11, 1968, until September 20, 1993. Ussery paid $2,000 for the plane’s hull, which spanned 127 feet. The plane was being stored in Tennesse, so Joanne paid a house-moving company $4,000 to deliver it to her lakeside property in Mississippi.
Once Joanne Ussery’s Boeing 727 reached her property in Mississippi, she needed to convert it into a livable space. That meant adding running water and electricity. She then designed the layout.
Ussery was able to use the space to create three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a space for doing laundry, and a master bathroom. She even but a jacuzzi bath in the cockpit! At first, her friends thought she was crazy. But once they saw what she had done to the Boeing 727, they quickly change their minds.
All the Amenities of a Home
Once the Boeing 727 had arrived, Ussery had spent a total of $6,000. The cost of converting the interior of the plane added up to $25,000. Ussery told VT, “The plane is 27-years-old and it’s the best home in the world. It has all the things you want in a home: a telephone, air conditioning, an oven, a washing machine even a dishwasher.”
She made sure that she had everything that she needed, so she’d feel comfortable living in it full-time for years to come. The renovation took just four months to complete.
Everyone Loves the Boeing 727 Home
Although her friends had their doubts about Ussery’s idea for converting the jet into her home, everyone came once they saw it for themselves. “My grandchildren love running up and down. And my friends love parties here – but there aren’t any flight attendant to serve their drinks!” Ussery said.
Ussery went from having her home burn down to a unique experience that lifted her spirits. She also took pride in having done most of the remodeling herself.
She Has the Same Jet as Donald Trump
When Ussery invites guests over to her home and brags that she owns the same Boeing 727 jet as the President of the United States. She jokingly calls her converted Boeing home “Little Trump.” However, Trump doesn’t have a jacuzzi in the cockpit!
Ussery is content on the amount of space the Boeing 727 provides after bringing in furniture, something she couldn’t have gotten with her pricepoint if she purchased a trailer as she originally had planned.
Different Planes Come at Different Prices
While Ussery was able to purchase her Boeing 727 for just $2,000, this isn’t the average cost for most planes available for purchase. Her plane needed plenty of electric work and was 27-years-old when she bought it.
Other planes that are newer and in better shape can go for over $100,000. Ussery used her budget wisely, but says next time she wants a bigger plane! She told VT, “Next time, I want a Boeing 747, not a 727, because they have an upstairs and a downstairs, and I want to go upstairs to bed.”