This Retired Engineer Did The Unthinkable – He Lives In A Plane

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Built to Last!

Man Buys Old Airplane Turns It Into Home

This Retired Engineer Did The Unthinkable And Started Living On A Plane

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!

Creative Vision

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.

Creative Vision

Creative Vision

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.

From A Young Age

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.

A More Interesting Idea

Starting Small

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?

Starting Small

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.

Purchasing An Airliner

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.

Moving The Plane

Massive Relocation

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.

Massive Relocation

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.

His Own Land

Building Wings

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.

Building Wings

New Insight

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”.

New Insight

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.

 

Living On The Side

Unexpected Trouble

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.

Unexpected Trouble1

Converging Of Two Worlds

When the Mirror 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.”

Converging Of Two Worlds

Envisioning

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.”

Envisioning

The Debut

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 Daily Mail, he told them that it might sound like an easy job, but the entire task of pressure washing actually happens over four days.

The Debut

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.

Maintenance And All That Jazz

Unconventional Home

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 Daily Mail, 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.”

Unconventional Home

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.

Living In A Castle

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.

Toss Or Keep

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.

Work In Progress

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!

Opening His Home To Others

Fine Details

It definitely looks like Bruce Campbell had everything covered, even down to the minutest detail. For one thing, he actually prepared a shoe rack and stocked with pairs of slippers for the visitors he was expecting to come and visit. He wants the people to only wear socks and slippers when they are inside the plane. Why? It is his way of preserving the cleanliness of the place since it is hard to clean it often.

Fine Details

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.

Number 1 Rule

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.

Feeling At Home

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.

 

What He Needs1

Living Modestly

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.

Living Modestly

Cool Shower

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.

Cool Shower

Getting Connected

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.

Getting Connected1

Still Intact

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.

Still Intact

House Of Toys

This was what he said during an interview with Business Insider: “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.”

House Of Toys

The Engineer

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 Daily Mail interview: “I think most people are nerds in their hearts in some measure. The point is to have fun.”

The Engineer

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.

It Makes Sense1

Fully Operational

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.

Fully Operational

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.

 

Fully Operational

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.

Tending The Environment

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.

 

No Easy Job

Upcycling Is The Way

During the interview with Daily Mail, 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.

Upcycling Is The Way

Air-Tight

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.

Air Tight

Close Enough

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.

 

Close Enough

Not Going Hungry

As you can see below, 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 ha 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.

Not Going Hungry

Authentic Feel

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.

Authentic Feel

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.

 

A Select Few

His Office

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.

His Office

Imagining Flying

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.

Imagining Flying

Keeping Clean

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!

Keeping Clean

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?

Imagination Is Key

Not Different

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.

Not Different

Not Isolated

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.

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 Business Insider: “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.”

Built To Last

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?

Strength Or Ergonomics

What’s Possible

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.

What’s Possible

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.

Sharing Is Caring

Sharing Is C

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