Many people around the world lose their homes on a daily basis, so while most end up on the streets, some are more witty in finding solutions to their problem. Thus, some people have ended up living in an airliner and we can say they are doing just fine.
Jo Ann Ussery who lost her home in a fire is part of the same scenario. While many of us focus on the problem, some focus on solutions, so the woman bought an old Boeing 727 that was destined for the scrap heap.
AirplaneThe airplane was shipped to land she already owned, and in just six months she renovated much of her new home herself. In the end, she ended up enjoying a fully functional home measuring over 1,500 square feet of living space, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a hot tub right where the cockpit used to be.
All of this cost about $30,000 at the time, today’s equivalent of $60,000. The woman is a beautician from Benoit, Mississippi who had no connection to aviation, and the suggestion of her brother-in-law who is an air traffic controller prompted her to consider the idea.
She lived in the plane from 1995 until 1999, when the aircraft was damaged beyond repair after falling off the truck carrying it to another location where it was to be admired by the general public. Although he was not the first person to live in an airplane, the impeccable execution of the project became the inspiration for others. In the late 1990s, Bruce Campbell, an electrical engineer with a private pilot’s license, was amazed by the story.
“I was driving home and listening to Jo Ann’s story on the radio and it was amazing. My attention was entirely focused on it, and the next morning I started making phone calls,” the man said.
Campbell now lives in his own airplane, also a 20-year-old Boeing 727, in the woods of Hillsboro, Oregon. His project cost $220,000 in total, about $380,000 in today’s money, about half of which went to buy the plane.
He says the plane belonged to Olympic Airways of Greece and was even used to transport the remains of the airline’s tycoon owner, Aristotle Onassis, in 1975.
“I didn’t know the history of the plane at the time. It had an old 707-style interior. It was really, really awful by modern standards. It was functional, but it just looked old. Maybe the worst choice for a house,” the man said.
As a result, Campbell had to work on the plane for several years before he could live in it. The interiors are simple, with a primitive shower made from a plastic cylinder and a couch. During the harshest part of winter, Campbell traditionally retreats to Miyazaki, a subtropical weather town in southern Japan, where he keeps a small apartment. The pandemic has made that difficult, however, and for the past three years he has lived in 727.
The people who chose to live in an airplane
Intending to set up a plane at home and in Japan, in 2018 he says he almost bought a second plane, a 747-400, but the deal fell through at the last minute because the airline decided to keep the aircraft in service longer than expected, CNN writes.
Campbell frequently welcomes visitors and even offers free accommodation in the aircraft, while in summer it hosts larger public events with funfair attractions. If you think living in an airplane is extravagant enough, how about living as a couple?
That’s the plan for Joe Axline, who owns an MD-80 and a DC-9, which sit side by side on land in Brookshire, Texas. Axline has lived in the MD-80 for more than a decade, having divorced in April 2011, and plans to renovate the DC-8 and outfit it with recreational areas such as a movie theater and music room. He calls his grand plan “Project Freedom.” For years, he’s even shared the plane with his children.
The planes are visible from nearby roads, and Axline says many drivers whose curiosity has been piqued end up driving by. Although Axline was interested in a Boeing 747, he gave up the idea when faced with the cost of transportation. The plane would have cost about $300,000, while transportation would have cost him another $500,000 out of pocket.
There are other notable examples of airplanes converted into homes. One of the earliest is a Boeing 307 Stratoliner once owned by billionaire and film director Howard Hughes, who spent a fortune remodeling the interior to turn it into a “Flying Penthouse.”
After being damaged by a hurricane, it was converted into an extravagant motor yacht and eventually purchased in the 1980s by Florida resident Dave Drimmer, who renovated it and renamed it “The Cosmic Muffin”. He lived in the plane-boat hybrid for 20 years before finally donating it to the Florida Air Museum in 2018.
American country singer and Nashville Hall of Fame member Red Lane, who had a background as an airplane mechanic, lived for decades in a converted DC-8 that he rescued from a landfill in the late 1970s.
Those looking to experience a night or two in a house plane have a few options in the form of hotels in Costa Rica. The Costa Verde Hotel boasts a fully refurbished Boeing 727 with two bedrooms and a terrace overlooking the ocean.
In Sweden, Jumbo Stay is a hotel built entirely inside a Boeing 747, located on the grounds of Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport. And if you just want to party, there’s another Boeing 747 that can be rented for events of up to 220 people at Cotswold Airport in England, about 250km from London.