The scenery in Oregon is magnificent. The sweeping mountains and patchworked green farms that surround the forest draw adventurers from all walks of life!
Hikers come to see the huge beast that lurks behind the trees just west of Hillsboro, but many come only to observe the creeks, nature trails, and wetlands in the area.
You’d think the object would be in a museum rather than a forest. Those uninitiated adventurers who are fortunate enough to witness it are left with a million questions.
Did it crash out here? Or had it been placed here for a reason? And just what was an old Boeing 727 doing out here, anyway? The Boeing 727 was known as one of the largest commercial planes in its day – large enough to bear up to 189 passengers. But being large enough to carry so many passengers wasn’t the only thing its size had been designed for.
If the Boeing 727 had to make an emergency landing in a forest or field, its sheer size would make it easy to spot. Was this the case with the plane, just west of Hillsboro?
The Boeing 727 reached the height of its popularity during the 1970s and 1980s. This iconic piece of machinery transported thousands of passengers in its heyday, but, over time, it became obsolete.
The jetliner was replaced with newer, better models, and the old Boeings were stripped for their parts, grounded forever. But Bruce Campbell was determined to save at least one from this sad fate.
65-year old Bruce Campbell was a retired electrical engineer. He had always had a deep appreciation of planes and their design – the Boeing 727 in particular. So when he heard that one was about to be scrapped, he managed to scrape $100,000 together to buy it outright.
But, as we know, Bruce was an electrical engineer… not a pilot. Bruce was already down $100,000, and he intended to spend a lot more on his new project. He removed all the seats in the old Boeing to reveal more than 1,000 square feet of floor space.
He had an idea of what he wanted to do with the plane, but could he pull it off? When Bruce had spent the first $100,000, he fully expected his pet project to cost a lot more. The initial cost didn’t even cover shipping and repairs, never mind the transformation he intended to make.
Bruce estimated that the renovation will cost him more than $220,000 in total. But where did he acquire that type of cash? Bruce started looking for methods to save money. He contacted a salvage business, and they began the process of clearing out the plane. They removed everything valuable from the inside, including the chairs, trays, and even the carpets.
Bruce had purchased the plane in its whole, with the exception of one vital component: the engine. He wasn’t going to fly the plane; he was going to live in it.
“Jetliners are masterful works of aerospace science, and their superlative engineering grace is unmatched by any other structures people can live within,” Bruce explained.
“Retirement into an aerospace class castle should be every jetliner’s constructive fate. They should never be mindlessly scrapped.” So, what does the interior of the plane look like?
The plane came with all the plumbing and wiring, but it didn’t have a shower. Bruce tackled this problem by making an improvised cabin with hot and cold water, provided by an electric pump. It has a washing machine and a sink, but no fridge.
Bruce likes to live off the land, and what little food he does buy he stores in cans in the aircraft home. He does all his cooking in a microwave or a toaster. The cockpit is where Bruce likes to have a bit more fun…
Bruce calls the cockpit his “cyber office.” It’s alight with various beeping lights, buttons, and wires – the perfect playground for a tech-junkie like Bruce. He spends hours tinkering with the wiring, and he enjoys watching sci-fi movies while reclining in the pilot’s seat.
Because most of the passenger seats have been removed, Bruce had space to install a modest futon so he could sleep in his dream home. But is living in a Boeing 727 really practical?
“They’re incredibly strong, durable, and long-lived. And they easily withstand any earthquake or storm. Their interior is easy to keep immaculately clean because they are sealed pressure canisters,” Bruce explained.
“I don’t mean to offend, but wood is in my view a terrible building material,” Bruce wrote on his website. So, the bugs and debris of the forest can’t enter the plane, which makes doing household chores that much easier.
“It’s a great toy,” Bruce says about his airplane home. “Trick doors, trick floors. Hatches here, latches there, clever gadgets everywhere.” But, Bruce only lives in his airplane home for six months of the year.
For the other six months of the year, Bruce opens up his Boeing home to guests from around the world, transforming the plane home into an aerospace hotel.
“Nothing compares to the exhilaration and satisfaction provided by an aerospace-class home, and many people understand this instinctively,” Bruce wrote on his website. But Bruce now has his eyes on something much bigger – a Boeing 747-400, which is three times bigger than the 727.