Walking in the woods is such a relaxing thing to do. The scenery is beautiful, you can hear the birds chirping, and you’re far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, what would you think if you found an airplane in the middle of the forest? We bet you’re going to start wondering about what happened there. However, if you happen to be in Hillsboro, Oregon, it simply means you have found Bruce Campbell’s unusual home.
He might be in his sixties, but Bruce still has his creative touch. Now retired, the electrical engineer still finds ways to channel his creativity. Years ago, he bought some land in Hillsboro, Oregon at the price of $23,000. It was located deep in the woods and Bruce had an idea in mind.
From A Young Age
As a child, Bruce was already in the habit of tinkering with all sorts of stuff to create other objects. Initially, he wanted to make a home using several freight vans. He thought it would be an innovative project, though he changed his mind after hearing about another type of unique home.
A More Interesting Idea
Almost 20 years later, he heard about the story of Joanne Ussery from Mississippi. The hairdresser bought a Boeing 727 and turned it into her home after her house burned down. She constructed the completely functional home by a peaceful lake.
At the time, Bruce has already begun the process of working on his freight van home. However, he thought an airplane home would be brilliant for many different reasons. Since his plot was 10 acres big, he had the means to do it. The challenge was buying and transporting a plane to the middle of the forest.
Purchasing An Airliner
In 1999, he bought a Boeing 727 from Olympic Airways for $100,000. After paying for it, he needed to figure out a way to take it from Athens Airport to Woodsboro, Oregon. That’s quite a distance to cross!
Moving The Plane
Transporting the plane from Greece to the United States proved to be the most difficult feat of the project. The delivery set him back $120,000. At that point, the venture already cost him $220,000 in total. Nonetheless, Bruce was certain it would pay off in the future.
As an industrious person, he was thrilled to begin the project. First, however, he needed to transport the plane to the Oregon woods. It took a couple of men to take apart the wings so they could take it into the forest.
His Own Land
A lot of people have questions regarding the legality of the project. As it turns out, it’s perfectly fine since he was doing it on his own land. He had no need to worry about that!
The wings needed to be taken apart in a way that he could still put them back together after he placed in the woods. Campbell decided to start it as a mere “work in progress”. It later turned into something bigger than that, however!
When he started the project, Bruce Campbell was only concerned with having fun. However, he was already clear about upcycling the aircraft. He thought it would be a shame for such a thing to be “mindlessly scrapped”.
Living On The Side
For a number of years, he worked on the fuselage and lived in the freight vans. It was tough relocating to the woods, though he was a dedicated man. However, something else came up.
After living that way for some time, the van became infested with mice! Campbell thus had no choice but to reside in the aircraft itself. There was a bright side to this, however. This was the point when he began to completely understand the space.
Converging Of Two Worlds
When he was interviewed by the Mirror, he said, “Shredding a beautiful and scintillating jetliner is a tragedy in waste, and a profound failure of human imagination.” Aside from this, he claimed he had no problems staying in an airliner in the woods. According to him, an aircraft comes with “engineering grace unmatched by any other structures people can live within.”
While he did not initially have plans for the interior of the plane, things fell into place the moment he moved in. He explained to Business Insider, “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. Then open your eyes with that vision and consider the expanse of the living room. It’s a good environment; it really is.”
Before letting the public know about the project, he first needed to clean the fuselage. He did this with the use of a water spray. He told Daily Mail that it was not as easy it sounds. Pressure washing ended up eating four days!
Maintenance And All That Jazz
Every two years, the exterior needs to be washed. To do this, Bruce Campbell uses ladders to get to the top portion and the engines of the plane. This is a dangerous task as he could fall over if the water hose strikes him unexpectedly. For this man, however, the risk was worth taking.
Campbell believes that every plane should be converted into an “aerospace class castle”. Moreover, he gave Daily Mail 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
Just like a castle, Campbell installed concrete pillars and a driveway for the aircraft home. There is no way you would think it was the result of a plane crash as it has clearly undergone a large amount of work.
Toss Or Keep
Campbell tried to reuse everything that was already on the plane, though he made sure not to touch the cockpit equipment. The rest of the items on board had undergone modification and restoration to ensure a functional living space.
Work In Progress
To him, the abode was a functional home that was a work in progress at the same time. He needed to restore the features like the lavatory, the seating, the LED lighting, and the flight stairs. It also became necessary to create a makeshift shower. We can’t wait to see what else he comes up with!
Opening His Home To Others
If you wish to enter his home, you need to go up using the fold-down stairwell. Uh-huh, it is actually pretty similar to what you do at the airport! Feel free to pretend you are on your way to some fabulous destination.
It seems like Bruce Campbell made sure to get everything covered. For example, the plane’s front area comes with a shoe rack full of slippers. Visitors need to put them on if they plan to explore the home. This is done to prevent dirtying the place. For Bruce, anyone indoors should only wear socks or slippers.
Number 1 Rule
He saw immediately how easy it was for the floor to get dirty, probably thanks to the surroundings. This is why Campbell came up with a sock and slipper rule. We all want our home to be in the best condition, right? Even though he lives alone, he is no exception to the rule.
Feeling At Home
You can rest assured that Campbell himself sticks to the rule when going about the place. He really likes the Plexiglas floor and he thinks it makes the home look even more unique. When he stands on top of the glass, he is able to imagine what else he could do with the place.
What He Needs
There might be a lot of space inside, though Bruce Campbell has always been a modest man. He prefers sleeping on a futon, cooking with a microwave oven and a toaster, eating cereal and canned food, and constructing his own makeshift equipment.
This picture shows Bruce Campbell chilling out on his futon but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is what he does all day long. When he is not resting, you can be sure he is working on his home. Maybe you’ll catch him working on his bathroom or reading in the cockpit!
The aircraft actually came with two functional lavatories but the best feature is the makeshift shower he constructed himself. Located near the tail end of the plane, he needed to provide water and electricity to the shower. To do this, he dug a trench for the well power line.
He attached an old cable to a meter base for power. After this, he worked on the installation of a circuit breaker cabinet aboard the plane. He also had to add tubing, a water pipe, and telecom cable. All of these things work together so he can have access to clean water!
In the cockpit of the plane, you will still find all the original equipment that came with the Boeing 727. Campbell, however, turned it into some sort of entertainment area. This is where he gets his reading done and he has mentioned he wants to continue improving and renovating it in the future.
House Of Toys
During an interview with Business Insider, he said, “It’s a great toy. Trick doors, trick floors. Hatches here, hatches there. Star Trek movies in a Star-Trek like setting.” Campbell also said living in the plane is good for a tech nerd like him because “having lots of little toys enclosed in a very big toy is nirvana.”
You will see him aboard the plane nearly the entire day, probably on his computer. At his work station, he creates plans for home improvement. Campbell told Daily Mail, “I think most people are nerds in their hearts in some measure. The point is to have fun.”
It Makes Sense
As an engineer, it is not strange that he wants to live in and work on the project at the same time. After all, what better way is there to get to know the space? It’s a great way to become familiar with the project.
Aside from setting up the running water system, he also needed to fix the lighting inside and outside the plane. He could already tell that he needed to make sure he had access to basic amenities if he wanted to live so deep in the woods on his own.
Even At Night
One thing he needed to do was ensure the home was operation even during nighttime. Among other things, he needed to avoid power cuts so he can work, research, and read once the sun has set. He also restored the original LED lights of the plane.
Tending The Environment
Mind you, Bruce Campbell does more than to care for the interior of the plane. He has also taken it upon himself to tend the forest area around the Boeing 727. You can even compare it to caring for your very own garden or yard!
No Easy Job
Once a week, Campbell mows the grass and picks at the weeds under the plane. Everyone wants their home to be presentable and this is also true for him. Clearly, nothing is impossible for someone like him!
Upcycling Is The Way
When he talked to Daily Mail, Campbell talked in length about the reason he wanted to upcycle the plane and convert it into his home. He put emphasis on the environmental benefits of the plane. Aside from this, he mentioned just how durable and strong the machinery is!
The Boeing 727 can definitely withstand a storm, in addition to how easy it was to maintain and clean. He said, “The interior is easy to keep immaculately clean because they are sealed pressure canisters. They could last for centuries.” He wants everyone around the world to follow in his footsteps and help save the environment.
Many people would be cautious of living on a plane because of the lack of amenities and supplies. However, Bruce Campbell has shown that this is not necessarily true. His home does not lie far from the city so he has no problems with getting supplies!
Not Going Hungry
As you can see in this photo, the kitchenette is full of everything he could ever need. He keeps condiments, supplies, and produce in there. True, he will likely have trouble whipping up a fancy meal. However, he is not the type of person who likes luxury. At the very least, his meals taste better than airplane food!
It would be impossible for him to take out the Boeing 727 for a flight, though one might feel otherwise when you see the original seating. He did not alter the form of the seats so it looks just like the ones in a regular passenger airliner!
A Select Few
However, he had to remove most of the seats to make space for the other parts of his home. Nonetheless, he was determined to keep some of them so he could remember why he loves the plane. Aside from this, guests can sit down there if they want to!
Campbell likes hanging out in the cockpit of the plane more than anywhere else. This is where his creative juices flow! For him, it is like a nook where he can unwind, read, and relax. It also functions as his game room.
When he is in the cockpit, he has the opportunity to play pretend. He emulates what a pilot probably feels with all the gadgets and flashing lights in there. This is a place where technology shines.
If you are concerned about hygiene, there is no need to worry! Bruce Campbell makes sure to take good care of himself. He showers, brushes his teeth, and washes his clothes on the regular.
Imagination Is Key
As you can see, if you have the proper imagination and skills, you can turn basically anything into a home. Hey, if he can clean his clothes aboard a plane, you can definitely do the same thing.
Although he lives on a plane, Campbell still makes sure to take care of his grooming and hygiene. Judging from the impeccable interior, he really is a neat and clean person.
It is inaccurate to think he lives in isolation from civilization. He continues to shower, clean, and shave on a regular basis. There is no reason not to as his airplane home makes it all possible.
Built To Last
According to Campbell, his airplane home is better than traditional houses since it has been constructed using strong metals. 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.”
Strength Or Ergonomics?
According to him, regular houses are inferior because they choose ergonomics over 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.”
Apparently, a lot of people ask if he simply stumbled upon the plane after discovering it in the Oregon woods. He doesn’t like these questions since he finds them illogical.
Sharing Is Caring
He wants the whole world to see how much hard work the project took. He finds it strange that not many people understand the intricacies that went into it. However, he has acknowledged that there are people who never thought it was possible.
Pride In His Work
Look at him as he poses in his airplane home! Clearly, he is proud of everything he has achieved. You know what they say, there is no place like home. Campbell enjoys living in his project, where he gets the chance to work and play with his gadgets. However, he has another project in mind.
Here And There
Apparently, he only lives in the airplane home for six months every year! He likes a change of scenery sometimes. The rest of the year, he goes to Japan and stays there. During that time, he keeps working on his projects and ideas. Can you guess what he plans to do next?
Yup, he wants to do the same thing in Japan! He plans on using a Boeing 747, a bigger airplane, this time. It makes sense that he wants to replicate the project in his other place of residence. We bet he will have an easier time since he already has some experience under his belt.
Campbell believes his life purpose involves making a positive impact on the world for the sake of humanity and the environment. He is a man of innovation, which is not surprising if you know he was an electrical engineer in the past. “My goal is to change humanity’s behavior in this little niche,” he said, a reference to recycling airplanes.
Part Of A Small Group
There are other people in different parts of the globe who share his vision. Martin Todd of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association said the organization “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.”
AFRA is focused on promoting sustainable aircraft and engine practices. Apparently, they have determined that 1,200 to 1,800 planes are due to be dismantled in the following three years. Meanwhile, 500 to 600 other airliners will be retired every year over the next twenty years. Imagine how many homes those could translate to!
The Woods Of Hillsboro
Campbell decided to place his airplane home in the woods of Hillsboro for several reasons. After his graduation, he received a job offer there. Next, he enjoys the greenery in the area. He has this up 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 bother buying a home when he was younger. He told Daily Mail he was not eager about getting a mortgage since it would restrict his finances. When he finally had the money, he wanted to go about it in a different way. “I had stopped thinking in provincial terms and I had thought like a free bird engineer,” he explained.
The Curious Are Welcome
Visitors are free to drop by and take a look inside his home. Feel free to schedule an appointment on his website or just drop by if you happen to be in the area.
He told Daily Mail that he gets visitors regularly. He said, “It happens frequently; it happens almost every day now and I encourage it.” He wants everyone to get a good look at his abode since he wants to share “a great toy” and “one of the finest structures mankind has ever built.”
Going About His Business
Since a lot of people drop by frequently, he has experienced some awkward situations. Apparently, there was one time he was showering and people walked into his home!
Meeting New People
Campbell estimated that 75 % of his visitors first arrange an appointment using his website. The rest simply drop by. “I live in a pretty transparent environment. I go about living while people are touring my aircraft and sometimes it’s very intimate,” he told Daily Mail. Nonetheless, he appreciates the opportunity to meet other people.
A Special Kind Of Concert
Aside from regular guests, he also hosts various events! This June 30 to July 3, he held a show for the Japanese musician Pomily and others. It happened on the grass in front of the right wing. On the website, he posted some guidelines and described the event as, “A new concert option: Superb music rendered from a wing of a scintillating aerospace home”.
A Boeing 727 Kind Of Party
Did you miss that event? Maybe you got the chance to attend Turbulence: A Dance Party at a 727 in the Woods. The music event was hosted by Murderboat Productions, a Portland-based party promotion business owned by his friends. We’re sure it was fun and we’re sorry we missed it. The event happened this September 7 to September 9, 2018.
Living The Bachelor Life
He is happy with the life he leads. Bruce Campbell said, “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 is not a hermit as he happens to be close to his neighbors who have expressed support for him and his vision.
He splits his time in the airplane home and in Japan. He is hoping to purchase a Boeing 747 soon and we bet he is excited about the second project! His website says his goal is to “spark a renaissance of thought about how to utilize this remarkable resource”. He hopes others follow suit.
Helping The Community
The engineers want to begin working on the project in early 2018. He has his eyes set on Kyushu Island this time and he wants it to be a retreat for the local community as well. Since the area is prone to tsunamis, he hopes it will be used in those times of crisis.
His airplane home in Oregon is a Boeing 727-400. It was a model produced by Boeing from 1960 to 1984 as a plane for airports with smaller runways. Apparently, it was the only Boeing model with three engines. It can seat 149 to 189 passengers and Delta Air Lines was the last major U.S. carrier to have used it. These days, Iran Aseman Airlines is the only carrier that continues to use Boeing 727 units.
A Bleak Past
It is interesting to learn that the specific plane had once transported the body of someone famous. When Aristotle Onassis died in France on March 15, 1975, it had been used to take him back to Greece. Jackie Kennedy Onassis, his wife at the time, rode the aircraft to accompany the body as well.