In recent years, the rising prices of homes and rent in the United States have prompted many to seek alternatives to conventional housing. People are moving into tiny houses, sharing living quarters with “platonic life partners,” and living the nomad’s dream in motorhomes.
Some have even chosen to reside permanently on cruise ships because it is often less expensive than paying rent or a mortgage.
Bruce Campbell’s Hillsboro, Oregon, home is one of the most unusual alternative residences in the United States. According to CNBC, the retired engineer has lived on a Boeing 727 with 200 seats for over 20 years. It is slightly smaller than the average home at 1,066 square feet, but the open floor plan is a dream for couples.
The aircraft has a rich history. It was used to transport the remains of Greek-Argentine shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis following his death in 1975. Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was Onassis’s wife.
The aircraft has everything Campbell needs for a comfortable flight. The original sink and bathroom are fully functional. To meet all of his needs, he installed a makeshift shower, refrigerator, and portable washing machine.
“It’s a great toy. Trick doors, trick floors. Hatches here, latches there. Cool interior lights. Awesome exterior lights, sleek gleaming appearance, titanium ducts,” According to Awesome Inventions.
His jetliner home has retractable stairs that allow him to enter and exit. Campbell spends six months per year in the airplane and the remaining time in Japan.
“I can appreciate that some folks might feel isolated or that it might strike them as an unusual living environment. But for me, it has always felt completely natural,” Campbell told Great Big Story.
Some may find Campbell’s living situation peculiar, but its affordability cannot be disputed. He told CNBC that his monthly expenses are approximately $370, which includes property taxes of $220 per month and electricity costs ranging from $100 to $250 per month. Campbell initially paid $100,000 for the plane, and it cost $120,000 to convert it into a habitable space.
The aircraft’s engines have been removed, so it will never fly again.
The plane is an affordable and environmentally friendly place to live. “Jetliners can, and should, be transformed into wonderful homes—retirement into an aerospace-class castle should be every jetliner’s constructive fate. They should never be mindlessly scrapped. Shredding a beautiful and scintillating jetliner is a tragedy, a waste, and a profound failure of human imagination. The time for humanity to recognize this is long, long overdue,” he told the CBC.
Campbell has found an innovative and resourceful way to live well while reusing 70,000 pounds of materials that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. But he is not yet finished. He hopes to begin construction on his second airplane home in Japan, which he describes as “a land I love and with people I love. If I can simply regain my youth, everything will be fine.”