Airplane flying at sunset

73-Year-Old Man Lives in a Salvaged Airplane in the Woods

Unusual is the new normal nowadays, like unique abodes like treehouses, tiny homes, vans, space-ship-style homes, and on, under, and in rocks. People build houses almost anywhere you can think of, including one man who lives in an airplane in the woods.

While this house has landed in a typical setting for a home outside of Portland – the forest – it’s not your typical home. Have you ever heard of anyone living in an airplane? Bruce Campbell is doing just that.

Who Is the 73-Year-Old Man Who Lives in a Salvaged Airplane? 

Bruce Campbell, a retired engineer, now 73 years old, made a childhood dream come true. He is living in an airplane. When he was 15, he visited an airplane boneyard and was enchanted with the remnants and stories left behind and vowed that he would have one, one day.

That one day came in 1999, over 30 years later, when he made a commitment to purchase a plane. And that he did. Today, his airplane home resides on 10 acres of his land in Hillsboro, just outside Portland, Oregon. 

Airplane flying at sunset

What Airplane Does Bruce Campbell Live In?

Campbell doesn’t live in just any plane; he lives in one with a story. The Boeing 727 200-passenger jetliner – now his home – used to belong to Aristotle Onassis, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ second husband. 

Getting this piece of history to Campbell’s land was no small feat. Found in Greece, Bruce paid $100,000 for it. It then traveled from Greece to Oregon. From there, it got towed through the streets of downtown Hillsboro to the land. There, it would transition from an airplane to a home residing in the wilds of Oregon.

That trip from Oregon to Campbell’s property and all the prep to do so cost him an additional $120,000. But now he is the proud owner of a very unique home that weighs in at around 70,000 pounds and gives him just over 1,000 feet of living space. Propped up strategically on wooden pallets, this Boeing 727 has found a permanent home in Oregon.

How Much Does It Cost Bruce Campbell to Live in a Salvaged Airplane? 

While that permanent home cost over $200,000 to purchase, it costs a lot less than that to live in it. Of course, the monthly costs come after the renovation costs of $15,000. Still, he lives in an airplane for a relatively affordable cost.

After two years of transitioning the interior from a plane into a home, Campbell added a simple shower, sink, and washing machine. Since he doesn’t cook much, his kitchen consists of a refrigerator, a microwave, a toaster oven, and a refurbished airplane food service cart as his pantry. 

His bedroom and living area include a futon sofa and his workbench, which is full of old and new electronics. He enjoys his work and is constantly working on different items dealing with electrical and technological items.

After the initial expenses of the original purchase, transportation, and remodeling, Campbell pays next to nothing in monthly expenses. He owns his property outright, so all he has for that expense is monthly taxes of $220. The only other expense he has for the plane directly is electricity, which runs him an average of $175 a month.

Airplane home in forest

How Much Does a Scrap 727 Cost?

Do we have you wondering about purchasing a plane yet? It’s doable, but it’s not simple. When Campbell first began his adventure of trying to buy a plane for a home, he had no idea where to begin. He hired a salvage company to help guide him through the process, thinking that might be the easiest way.

Now knowing what he knows, he won’t be doing that again because when you go through a salvage company, you’ll be getting planes that are not in great shape. It’s better to look for planes that are still intact and not falling apart.

If you’re interested in purchasing one, prices can range anywhere from what Campbell paid – $100,000. It could also be less or more. Keep in mind he also dished out an additional $100,000 to get it moved to his property. The pricing will all depend on the condition, the location, and what it takes to get it to where you need it to be.

Go behind the scenes and Take a Look Inside the Tiny House Festival in Sarasota, Fla.

Where Can You Find Salvaged Airplanes?

Finding salvaged airplanes isn’t as easy as finding a used car. There aren’t used airplane lots on every city corner. You’ll have to get creative when it comes time to finding one for sale. Of course, the first place to look is online. You can find almost anything there.

But if you really want to start looking, be sure to check out military bases. For example, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., has over 4,000 aircraft stored there. And they’re all retired. Global Aircraft is another place to check out, as they sell salvaged planes and parts.

And, as Campbell did, you can visit airplane boneyards, where planes of yesterday are grounded, seemingly left to rot. Until you come along, that is, to rescue one, bringing it back to glory. One of the more well-known boneyards is just outside Tucson in Marana – the Pinal Airpark Boneyard.

Sleeping on airplane

Can You Visit Bruce Campbell’s Airplane House?

Need some advice before you think about purchasing your own aircraft for a home? Or are you just curious and want to see what it’s like to live in an airplane? 

You can visit where Bruce lives in an airplane. He loves guests and enjoys chatting with them about how he transformed his plane. He’ll give you a tour and may even invite you to join him on top of the wing.

To visit, contact him through his contact information. He’ll gladly welcome you into his home. The only other thing is dirt is not welcome in or on the plane, so he will as you to remove your shoes.

Is Living in a Salvaged Airplane a Good Idea?

Living in a salvaged plane is a unique experience, but once you’ve lived there for 20 years as Campbell has, it will simply become your ordinary life. But he’s not ordinary. And he’s not done with purchasing planes, either. He also resides part-time in Japan and wants to duplicate his efforts of having an airplane home there.

Why not? He thinks everyone should have an airplane home. He said to CNBC’s Make It, “I have no regrets about pursuing this vision. In my experience with my guests, I believe that humanity will embrace this vision wholeheartedly in enough proportion that we can utilize every jetliner which retires from service.”

Bruce Campbell successfully lives in an airplane. Could you?

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