Industrious recycler living in an airplane in the midst of an Oregon forest

Retired engineer and airplane enthusiast Bruce Campbell has a unique address – a converted Boeing 727, that was once used as a Greek aircraft until the mid-1960s, which he calls home in the midst of a forest near Portland.

The plane was bought for $100,000 in 1999 from Athens airport. It started off being a “work in progress” but Campbell eventually converted it into a fully functional living quarters. The wings of the plane had to be taken apart and reinstalled again to allow the huge vehicle to be towed into the tight, secluded space.

Plenty of space can be found within the retired plane, which features a custom built shower, two toilets and a cockpit which has been converted into an entertainment and reading room.

Inside, between the cabin and the cockpit, Campbell has 1,066 square feet of living space. It has a stairway entry (which he can retract if he’s going away for a while, sort of like pulling up the ladder on a tree fort), a “very primitive shower,” two functioning bathrooms, a futon, kitchen area, and bench where he tinkers on plane improvements. Taking care of the home involves vacuuming the plane’s floor and sweeping leaves off its wings.

Living near the Cascadia subduction zone, the electrical engineer wanted something he thought would stand up to an earthquake. “It’s a sealed pressure canister,” he says. “It’s incredibly strong. It will last practically forever.”

A fan of sustainability, the industrious recycler believes every old plane should be “upcycled” like his. Bruce Campbell says: “Jetliners can, and should, be transformed into wonderful homes – retirement into an aerospace class castle should be every airliner’s constructive fate. They should never be mindlessly scrapped.”

Bruce Campbell, who spends half of the year in Japan, said he is looking for a retired 747-400 – used by airlines including United, British Airways and Delta – to make a second airplane home in the city of Miyazaki.

In 1999, the former electrical engineer had a vision: to save retired jetliners from becoming scrap metal by reusing them.

Bruce Campbell was in his early 20s when he paid around $23,000 for the 10 acres on which his 727 rests in the Portland woods.

His original plan was to make a home from freight vans, but then he decided a plane would be better. He purchased the 727 for $100,000.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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