Before we tell you this story, we first want you to imagine yourself in the woods. While walking and taking in the beautiful scenery, you suddenly stumble upon an aircraft. What would be the first thing that pops into your mind? Perhaps you would think there was an unreported plane crash. Maybe you start to think you just walked into a plane junkyard. However, if you happen to be in an Oregon town called Hillsboro, you would have simply found the incredible thing Bruce Campbell gets to call his home.
Of course, he would not be the first man who crafted a shelter from something that was once a different thing entirely. After all, there are numerous other folks out there who made pretty bizarre homes they live in. We have become used to hearing about people living in boats and cars, so it is nothing more than quirky to us. However, there are other things out there that are a little more unconventional.
For one thing, there are different groups of people who make living spaces among and within the trees. Meanwhile, there are those who make their homes out of stone, bricks, mud, and straw. But we bet this would be the first time you have heard of an airplane home.
It is no surprise to hear that it was difficult for Bruce Campbell to take an airplane and convert it into his own home. There were various setbacks he had to overcome on this quest. We do not even have to get into the nitty gritty of the legalities that surround this ordeal. Can you just imagine what it must be like to bring a huge airplane there? Aside from that, how do you even transform something like the Boeing 727 into a place that you can comfortably live in, day in and day out? After all, we all know that the plane has an odd shape that would make it difficult to create a nice kitchen, living room, and bedroom. Well, the first thing you need to know is that this is one talented man.
Bruce Campbell was actually an electrical engineer before he decided it was time to retire. An inventive individual, he has taken a liking to converting planes into upcycled masterpieces. For him, airplanes hold more potential than we all think. Armed with incredible imagination, this man took an old airplane and saved it from its scrap metal fate by turning it into a fascinating abode. Let us see how he did such an amazing feat all by himself!
The retired electrical engineer is a 64-year-old man who has always been armed with a creative vision. When he was still in his twenties, he paid for a 10-acre plot of land in the woods of Hillsboro, Oregon. It cost him $23,000 back then. It might be hidden in the forest, but he knew what to do with it.
From A Young Age
Even when he was a little boy, Bruce Campbell was already fond of tinkering with old materials and junk to make new objects. In the beginning, he was hoping to use the piece of land to make himself a home with the use of freight vans. Before, it sounded like an innovative and wonderful plan to him, though he changed his mind after hearing about someone else’s inspiring story.
A More Interesting Idea
About two decades later, he got wind of what happened to a hairdresser from Mississippi called Joanne Ussery. She bought a Boeing 727 jet and converted it into her very own home. She once had a regular house, although it burned down in a terrible incident. She decided to simply make an airplane home right beside a beautiful lake instead.
Bruce was already in the middle of making his dreams of a freight van home a reality, though he came to the decision to go with a giant plane instead. Aside from the fact that it was more innovative than his original plans, he thought this project was going to be more fun. He also wanted to stop airplanes from being scrapped for metal parts. He had no problems with space since he was already in possession of 10 acres of land. However, where was he going to get a plane and how was he going to bring it to Oregon?
Purchasing An Airliner
In 1999, he decided to just go and buy a Boeing 727 plane just like Joanne Ussery. He paid $100,000 for a unit from Olympic Airways, which was stationed at Athens Airport. After he made the payment, the next thing on his to-do list was to find a way to deliver it to Oregon
Moving The Plane
We doubt you would be surprised to hear that the most challenging part of the entire project was to bring the airplane all the way from Athens to Oregon. He had to arrange and then put the move into action. Apparently, doing so set him back by yet another $120,000, which meant that his airplane home project already cost a jaw-dropping $220,000 by then. Nonetheless, Bruce Campbell would get the bang for his buck in more ways than he thought he would.
Keep in mind that we are dealing with an industrious man here. Bruce Campbell was thrilled and ready to begin working on the project, which was not only new but also large. However, let us first take a look at how he managed to bring the Boeing into his neck of the Oregon woods. A couple of men had to first take apart the wings of the plane in order to move it to the forest.
His Own Land
A lot of people have expressed their concerns about the laws surrounding a project like this one. Well, there were no legal issues whatsoever since he was the owner of the plot of land anyway. He certainly thought the whole thing out.
The wings needed to be deconstructed in a way that it would still be possible for Bruce Campbell to reinstall everything after the airliner got to its new environment. He figured that he would begin working on this “work in progress”. That might have been how it started, although it later became much more than that after all the years of hard work he put into it.
In the beginning, he only thought of the undertaking as nothing more than an enjoyable project. He did not have a specific vision in mind back then. Regardless, he was planning to upcycle the airliner. He strongly believed that it was in his power to convert jetliners into fantastic homes. These engineering wonders had to be saved from being “mindlessly scrapped”.
Living On The Side
During the several years he worked on the plane, Campbell had to reside in the freight vans nearby. Of course, it was going to be difficult to relocate to the forest. However, he was someone on a mission, and there was no way he was giving up just like that even though more challenges cropped up.
After a little while, he had to deal with a mice infestation in the van! He did not have any choice but to retreat to the aircraft despite the fact he did not have a building permit on him. This was when he started to truly understand the plane.
Converging Of Two Worlds
When Fremer Media got to speak with him, Bruce Campbell told them about his vision and said that “shredding a beautiful and scintillating jetliner is a tragedy in waste, and a profound failure of human imagination.” Aside from that, he said that it might sound like a strange and lonely thing to live in an aircraft right in the woods, but he did not think it was all that unnatural. For him, airplanes come with an “engineering grace unmatched by any other structures people can live within.”
Even though he did not draw up any plans for the interior of the Boeing 727, everything clicked for him after he started to live in there. The Business Insider got to hear about this man’s vision firsthand: “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.” He added, “Then open your eyes with that vision and consider the expanse of the living room. It’s a good environment; it really is.”
Before he debuted the masterpiece he calls his home, he first had to clean the exterior of the plane with the use of a high pressure water spray. When he spoke to Fremer Media, he told them that it might sound like an easy job, but the entire task of pressure washing actually happens over four days.
Maintenance And All That Jazz
The Boeing 727 fuselage exterior required washing every two years. Bruce Campbell has to use ladders to access the top portion of the plane as well as the engines. Cleaning this part of his home is actually a rather dangerous task since it was always possible for him to fall or get into an accident. As a matter of fact, this makes him nervous. However, you will see why he puts up with this after you see what’s inside.
Campbell has previously said that it is the destiny of each plane to be converted into an “aerospace class castle” worthy of living and retiring in. When he was talking to Fremer Media, he drew up this analogy: “If a conventional home is a legacy age family Chevy or Ford, an airliner is a fresh new Tesla or Porsche Carrera.”
Living In A Castle
Well, there are actually a couple of reasons the comparison to a castle makes sense. For one thing, Campbell installed concrete pillars and a driveway for the Boeing 727 airliner. If you ever found yourself in the forests of Hillsboro and stumbled upon his home, you should be able to notice just how much work has been done to the airliner. You can easily tell that it did not pop out of there from nowhere.
Toss Or Keep
Campbell tried his hardest to make use of the equipment he found on the airplane, though he decided not to touch the controls and the instruments in the cockpit. Nonetheless, he updated certain things when he worked on the interior of the aircraft to make it better suited for everyday life.
Work In Progress
If you ask Campbell, he considers this new project to be a never-ending work in progress and a functional home at the same time. Aside from building a shower all by himself, he also had to restore certain features that came with the plane: the LED lighting, the flight stairs, the plane-style lavatory, and the original seats. We bet you are dying to know what it looks like after he worked so hard on it.
Opening His Home To Others
If you plan to a pay a visit to his jetliner home, you will have to get up there by climbing the fold-down stairwell that came with the plane. Yes, it will be just like what passengers had to do when this Boeing 727 was still being used to transport people from one airport to another!
Number 1 Rule
He noticed how quickly the glass floor of the plane became dirty thanks to the surrounding forest. Of course, all of us wants a clean home. This is the reason he decided to enforce his socks and slippers rule. Even though he is living there on his own, he still has a lot of pride in the home he worked hard for.
Feeling At Home
Yes, even Campbell follows the rule he has implemented. He also exclusively wears slippers and socks on his feet when he is staying in the airplane home. He is a big fan of the Plexiglas flooring as he likes the effect it has on the look of the home. When he stands over it, he imagines the other things he can do with it.
What He Needs
Even though there is no lack of space aboard the retired airplane, Bruce Campbell prefers to have a modest lifestyle instead of anything more lavish. He actually sleeps on his futon, makes meals with a microwave and toaster, primarily eats cereal and canned food and makes lots of makeshift things.
You are looking at Bruce Campbell kicking it back on his futon with his possessions all around him. However, when he is not taking it easy, you can bet that he is working hard. Perhaps you will catch him renovating various features and spaces aboard the plane.
The aircraft actually came with two working lavatories, though we do not think anything in there is as cool as the shower that he himself built near the tail of the plane. Of course, it would not be a very comfortable home if he did not have running water or electricity in there. To install these things, he had to dig a trench where a well power line goes.
He had to attach the old power cable to a meter base. After that, he had to install a new circuit breaker cabinet aboard the plane. He had to add PVC tubing, a telecom cable, and a secondary water pipe as well. After setting it all up, he was finally able to clean his teeth and shave with clean running water.
The cockpit aboard the Boeing 727 still boasts of the original instruments that came with it. However, Campbell has since converted it into his personal entertainment area. That is the room where he accomplishes his reading. This is the part that he has talked about constantly renovating and improving.
House Of Toys
This was what he said during an interview with Fremer Media: “It’s a great toy. Trick doors, trick floors. Hatches here, hatches there. Star Trek movies in a Star-Trek like setting.” He added that it was a great deal of fun to live in an airplane as a tech nerd. He explained, “Having lots of little toys enclosed in a very big toy is nirvana.”
You will generally find Campbell inside the airplane nearly the entire day long, most likely working on a computer at his work station. That is where he thinks of new ways to improve the airplane home. He has a lot of fun coming up with future plans. This was another thing he said during his Fremer Media interview: “I think most people are nerds in their hearts in some measure. The point is to have fun.”
It Makes Sense
It is not odd for an engineer to want the chance to live in the project that he is working on. After all, we cannot come up with a better way to fully understand what the space has to offer and what it lacks.
Aside from setting up the running water system on the plane, Bruce Campbell also had to repair the lighting both outside and inside the plane. From the start, he was aware that there were going to be challenges when you live so deep in the woods. That was why he needed to install the basic amenities.
Even At Night
Yes, he worked hard to ensure that the airplane home is going to be completely operational even when the sun has set. There is no need to worry about power cuts whatsoever. Bruce Campbell can now read, research, and work at night if he wants to. He restored the LED lights as they were more eco-friendly.
Tending The Environment
Bruce Campbell does not only take good care of the interior on the plane. He has also taken it upon himself to care for the forest area that surrounds his home! Do you know how you tend the garden or yard? For Campbell, it is rather similar to that.
No Easy Job
How makes sure to mow the grass every week and pulls the weeds that grow beneath the airplane. We all want our homes to be presentable, after all! This might sound rather tedious but remember what we said about how industrious he is.
Upcycling Is The Way
During the interview with Fremer Media, the reporter asked Bruce Campbell about his firm belief in upcycling airplanes and turning them into homes. The engineer put emphasis on the various environmental benefits of this endeavor. He also made a comment about how durable and strong airplanes are – he explained that they even have the ability to make it through storms and earthquakes.
The Boeing 727 can do more than just survive a storm. Another benefit is that it would be relatively easy to maintain and keep clean. He said, “Their interior is easy to keep immaculately clean because they are sealed pressure canisters. They could last for centuries.” He is also of the belief that converting planes could soon become a trend if only people came to understand its environmental impact.
There are definitely people who would not even consider such a living arrangement because they think there will be no amenities and supplies. However, Bruce Campbell just showed everyone that this is not true. The city is accessible from his plot of land, so he can easily go out and get everything he needs.
Not Going Hungry
The kitchenette in Bruce Campbell’s house is stocked with just about everything a person would need. There is produce, there are condiments, and he has supplies. Sure, it would be difficult to make something gourmet. However, he cares less about feeding his stomach than he does about feeding the tech soul. Basic meals are all he needs to survive, and those are easy enough to make in the airplane home. At the very least, it is better than what most airlines offer during flights.
It would be impossible for him to take out the Boeing 727 anywhere, but you will feel like you are about to go to a faraway destination when you rest on the seats he kept. He did not alter the original form as he wanted to preserve that feeling of excitement that comes with flying.
A Select Few
He had to take out most of the seats and only leave a couple because he had to free up some space for other things. However, he made the decision to retain this piece of the plane to remind himself exactly what makes his home such a unique space. Apart from that, it provides his guests a place to rest when they get tired after the tour.
Campbell likes to spend time in the cockpit area aboard the plane. After all, it is where he feels the most creative. It is his personal nook where he can read, relax, and unwind. It doubles as a game room too.
When he is there in the cockpit, Campbell is able to imagine what it must be like for a pilot during a flight. All the gadgets and flashing lights make it easy to picture. This is where technology comes to life.
Bruce Campbell also has hygiene completely covered. Now that he has access to clean water, he can brush his teeth just fine. He also has a top-load washing machine on the plane to clean all of his clothes!
Imagination Is Key
He is living proof that there are amazing things that only require certain skills and some imagination. If you have those, you can probably make your very own makeshift home. If Bruce Campbell can do his laundry aboard a plane, what on earth is stopping you from doing something similar?
Campbell might live in a retired Boeing 727, but he never forgets to take good care of himself. In fact, you can take meticulous design of the interior as a reflection of how neat and clean this person is.
Do not worry, he is not isolated from civilization nor is he trapped on an island by himself. He can shower, clean and shave on a day-to-day basis like everyone else. And why not? His airplane home comes with everything one could possibly need.
Built To Last
Campbell has previously said that a big advantage of living in an aircraft is that planes are constructed using strong metal. On the other hand, traditional homes are made of wood and the like. This was what he told Fremer Media:“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.”
Strength Or Ergonomics?
He believes that the regular rectangular homes are actually inferior in quality as they choose to focus on ergonomics than on strength. He said, “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.” What do you think?
Can you believe that Bruce Campbell actually receives questions about whether the plane crashed in the Oregon woods and he only reconstructed its body? Apparently, he does not particularly like being asked stuff like that. To him, they are far too illogical and unreasonable.
Sharing Is Caring
It is his goal to show the world what could be achieved when you put in hard work into a project like this one. He finds it strange that people are unable to comprehend the thought that went into the airplane home. However, he has also acknowledged that there are people who did not know it was possible.
Pride In His Work
Here is the creator himself as he poses in the Boeing 727. We bet he is proud of what he was able to accomplish. You know what they say – there is no place like home. This is true for Campbell as well since there is nowhere in the world where he could let his inventive side go wild and play with his toys and gadgets at the same time. This project is only one idea that he has come up with. He has bigger and even more creative plans for the future. Read on to see what else Bruce Campbell is thinking of doing.
This is only one feather in Campbell’s innovation hat since he has even more creative and bigger plans for the days ahead. Keep reading to find out what’s next for Campbell and where it might take him.
Here And There
Here is something that might come as a surprise to you – Bruce Campbell actually stays in his airplane home for only half the year. Even he needs a change of scenery. This is why he spends the other half of each year living in Japan, which is very different from Oregon. When he goes to Japan, he also works on different projects and ideas to pass the time. However, there is one venture that he is dead set on. Do you have any idea what it might be about?
During the time he resides in Japan, he works on several ideas and projects to keep busy. One venture, in particular, has caught his interest. It may be hard for you to believe what the venture is … or perhaps you can guess.
If you just answered something about creating another airplane home, then we have a winner! Yes, he wants to do it again. This time, it is going to be in Japan with the Boeing 747. He has plans to buy the bigger aircraft and convert it into a unique home where he can stay for the rest of the year. Considering the fact that he already accomplished such a feat in his home country, we are sure that he can pull this off without a lot of problems. With that experience under his belt, we are sure he will have a somewhat easier journey this time around.
Since he helped save the environment in the country he lives in half of the year, it makes sense that he would also do the same thing in his other country of residence. Now that he has done a restoration of one airplane, doing the same for another one seems to be quite easy for him.
Campbell is under the impression that it is his life purpose to make a positive and significant impact on this world for the sake of both humanity and the environment. He is a man driven by innovation. It is likely because he was an electrical engineer for a good chunk of his life. Campbell gets all excited and giddy when talking about upcycling airplanes, which is a niche that he has claimed for himself. Beside his airplane home, he declared, “My goal is to change humanity’s behavior in this little niche.”
Recycling airplanes somehow gets Campbell giddy and all excited – a niche that he would like to claim as his own. Standing with his aircraft home, he said, “My goal is to change humanity’s behavior in this little niche.”
Part Of A Small Group
However, you should know that there are other people out there who have also converted airliners into functional living spaces. Among others, there are similar projects in Texas, Costa Rica, and the Netherlands. Martin Todd is a spokesperson for the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association. According to him, AFRA “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 organization focuses on the promotion of sustainable practices for engines and aircraft out there. A different spokesperson said that approximately 1,200 to 1,800 airliners will be torn apart all over the world in the next three years. Meanwhile, another 500 to 600 airplanes will be retired each year over the course of the following twenty years. If people followed in the footsteps of Bruce Campbell, those numbers could very well translate to hundreds and thousands of homes.
The Woods Of Hillsboro
Bruce Campbell arrived at the decision to set up the Boeing 727 airplane home in Hillsboro for several simple reasons. The first one is that he received a job offer nearby after he graduated back in the ‘70s. Second? He adores the greenery of the area. You will find this 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.”
A Normal House
The engineer did not buy a home until he was an older man. During his interview with Fremer Media, he went into detail about how he did not want to get a mortgage since he would have been financially incapacitated otherwise. When he was finally able to come up with the funds to pay for a home, it was nothing like what most people had in mind. “I had stopped thinking in provincial terms and I had thought like a free bird engineer,” he recounted.
The Curious Are Welcome
He gets quite a number of curious onlookers and tourists as well. We cannot blame them for their fascination with the airplane home. Luckily, Bruce Campbell is happy to accommodate them. It is even possible to organize a schedule with him via his website. If you’re in Oregon, this might be a great idea.
Fremer Media also asked Bruce Campbell how he felt about all the passersby. He said, “It happens frequently; it happens almost every day now and I encourage it.” It seems like he is glad people could witness the abode that he has made all by himself. He wants to show everyone something he considers to be both “one of the finest structures mankind has ever built” and “a great toy”.
Going About His Business
Now that you know that he gets a fair share of visitors popping in for a tour of the amazing airplane home, let us talk about some of the awkward encounters he has had. Apparently, there was a time he was in the shower when several onlookers dropped by!
Meeting New People
Bruce Campbell has explained that about three-quarters of the visitors he gets first schedule an appointment using his website. The rest of the crowd walk in at any random moment. “I live in a pretty transparent environment. I go about living while people are touring my aircraft and sometimes it’s very intimate,” he said while speaking to Fremer Media. Nonetheless, he thinks it is rewarding as this has led to interesting conversations with some amazing people.
A Special Kind Of Concert
Not only does Bruce Campbell open up his home to curious guests, but he also holds different kinds of events every now and then. He welcomed a Tokyo-based vocalist by the name of Pomily from June 30 to July 3, 2018 for a concert. The show took place in the grassy area in front of the right wing of his airplane home. On the website, the event was advertised in this manner: “A new concert option: Superb music rendered from a wing of a scintillating aerospace home”. There were also various guidelines and instructions posted there. He told the prospective guests to slip on tennis or running shoes and wear comfy clothes. Of course, he did not forget to offer slippers to guests who wanted to check out the interior of the plane!
A Boeing 727 Kind Of Party
Did you miss out on that event? Perhaps you were lucky enough to attend this one, then. It was a big DJ dance party he hosted with a couple of friends. His pals are the owners of the Portland-based party promotion company called Murderboat Productions. The music event took place from September 7 to September 9, 2018. Turbulence: A Dance Party at a 727 in the Woods happened right on the wing! Guests who attended the party also got the opportunity to take a peek at the airplane home. Overall, they got the attention of 14,000 Facebook users who were interested in what sounded like an incredible party. There was art, food, and beer – no worries, they were able to get the go signal from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Living The Bachelor Life
Although Bruce Campbell leads a modest lifestyle, he does not feel the need to ask for anything else. He is satisfied to live out his days in his unique bachelor pad, and it is not something he would like to give up. He has expressed a lack of interest in love. “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 explained to Fremer Media. He enjoys living in the unorthodox home, so it should come as no surprise that he is not personally interested in the idea of marriage and love. When it comes to social contact, he is on good terms with his neighbors and they support the vision that he has. Aside from all of these things, Bruce Campbell would not let anything get in the way of his ambition.
He splits his time evenly between the Boeing 727 airplane home in Oregon and Japan. He hopes to purchase a land in the Land of the Rising Sun so he can get started on his second airplane home. He wants to get the larger Boeing 747-400 for this project. He adores the thrill that he receives when he recycles airplanes and hopes that people will seriously consider it after they get the chance to see his home during tours and events. He has posted on his website that it is his goal to “spark a renaissance of thought about how to utilize this remarkable resource”. Campbell wants to see other people embark on their own aircraft home projects in the future.
Helping The Community
This talented engineer was hoping to get started on the second airplane home during the beginning of 2018. He wanted to set it up on the Kyushu Island coast because he wanted it to serve as a safe place for the local community as well. Part of Bruce Campbell’s vision is to make an airliner that doubled as a lifeboat in case tsunami threats are issued. He wants the general public to find out that planes are capable of surviving hundreds of years and the cruelest weather conditions thanks to its sealed pressure technology. We really hope that he manages to succeed in his endeavors.
The airplane he used for his Oregon airplane home is a Boeing 727-400, an aircraft that was in production from 1960 until 1984. This plane model was created to service short and medium flights as it could operate on shorter runaways at the smaller airports. The airplane is the only airline model from Boeing Commercial Airplanes that came with three engines. It boasts of a seating capacity of about 149 to 189 people. Delta Air Lines was the last major U.S. career to use the model for flights. Their Boeing 727 was put on retirement in April 2003. Meanwhile, Northwest Airlines said thank you and goodbye to their last unit in June of the very same year. In this day and age, only Iran Aseman Airlines continues to use Boeing 727-200s to serve passenger flights.
A Bleak Past
Before Campbell got his hands on his Boeing 727 and converted it into the airplane home he lives in, this aircraft saw regular use as it transported all kinds of people to all sorts of destinations. Apparently, it got to deliver famous people at one point in those days. Apparently, the steel bird that Campbell gets to call home had been the same vehicle that transporter the dead body of the Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis from France to Greece after he died of a respiratory problem on March 15, 1975. The famous person we were talking about is none other than the former First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who was his long-time friend and wife. Whoa.