Ok, what the heck is an Airplane Home??
I’d first heard about this home several years ago from a major news outlet. Like many things I read on the internet I was skeptical to say the least. However, I told myself that since it was nearby it might actually be a thing. Maybe a house shaped like an airplane (there have been odder things after all) or one that an airplane had crashed into – there was one of those in New Orleans! As is often the case, the reality was far less mundane than the reality. I checked for an overhear view and lo and behold, there was an airplane in the woods!!! What the heck!!?? I also recall that there were folks who trying to find their five minutes of internet fame would play tricks on overhead views or street-view cameras. So, I was still somewhat skeptical but definitely not convinced one way or the other. Well, as happens frequently I intended to conduct much more research before arriving at a conclusion, but life got in the way and I was distracted for some time and eventually forgot about it. Fast forward several years when Heywillamette has become a reality and I remember an interesting house – and AirPlane House. I started looking into it and it is a real thing some dude has made an airplane into a house – and not a small airplane a freaking jumbo jet!
Just so you know this is a private home owned by Mr. Bruce Campbell. He openly welcomed me to look into his home and take pictures but if you have any intention to visit you must first contact him and arrange a time with him to take a look at his home. Please, please be respectful and considerate, he is a fantastic person and very welcoming and accommodating.
Arriving at the AirPlane Home
Mr. Campbell’s home is pretty close to Hillsboro – maybe ten or fifteen minutes south along highway two nineteen then several minutes up bald peak mountain road. When I first arrived I wasn’t sure I was in the right place – the drive is a little rough, but I was ready for anything with my AWD vehicle. As soon as I climbed a bit I emerged through the cover and many many rows of carefully planted evergreens could be seen – they seemed to stretch forever! It looked like an evergreen plantation! The rows were neat and organized and it was an extremely calming place.
Outside the AirPlane Home
From the small parking spot the enormous Boeing 727-200 can be seen. In case you’ve never stood close to an airplane before, these things are huge. The plane is pretty much pointed at the parking space, so as I walked up to it the first thing I saw was the front landing gear – which must have been at least nine or ten feet in the air (to keep the entire house level!). The front end was held up by an extremely durable and tough looking system of interlocked wood timbers and aI found myself not able to imagine anything moving it ever. As near as I could tell everything was there – the entire landing gear was exposed and there didn’t appear to be any missing hoses or or there connections – of course, I’m not an aviation mechanic, but am a little observant.
As I made my way back along the center of the plane I noticed that the normal airplane lights – one on either wingtip and another on the belly were all on, a fantastic retrofit for this home to add to the authenticity of this home.
Taking one step past the light I could see the rear entrance to the place that must be Mr. Campbell’s regular entrance. Forget front doors, mr. Campbell has an entrance ramp on his home!!
When I turned one hundred eighty degrees and looked toward the front I was amazed at how far away the front landing gear is and how massive the wings and rear landing gears are!
I paused and looked to the right and got a great view of the wing – it’s enormous as well. Some of the panels have been removed, as I understand it much of the plane was salvaged prior to it moving to this location, and it basically arrived as an empty shell.
I walked a little out toward the front again and looked back at the mid way landing gear – they are complete and according to Mr. Campbell can be inflated (raise up and lower) or deflated to adjust the level of the floor inside the home. The landing gear itself is huge as well. And has all of the attachments that would normally conceal the landing gear within the aircraft.
I passed the wings and got to an arrangement of hoses coming out of the aircraft. It looks like power and water and also some sewer-type attachments coming from the plane. It’s a testament to Mr. Campbell’s creativity that he managed to get such home comforts and conveniences into his AirPlane Home.
Looking up from where the connections are on the plane the left side nacelle can be seen – the engines have been removed but the housing for the side engine can be seen clearly.
I finally made my way to the rear of the plane, and the large center engine housing can be seen. It’s a large one that starts off above the body and exits out the center rear. Now Mr. Campbell has it filled with weight to be counterweight to reduce weight on the front while he is building the concrete pad up there, but he is working on getting an engine look-alike.
Most planes that I’ve seen have one rear center rudder and vertical stabilizer component and horizontal stabilizers near the end of the plane – that’s what would be familiar to me, however on Mr. Campbell’s home the horizontal stabilizers were at the top of the vertical stabilizer. Apologies if I’m not being clear, but perhaps a picture will make it all clear. Basically there was a second huge wing at the top at least thirty or forty feet off the ground.
Inside the AirPlane Home
I knocked on the railing at the bottom of the aircraft and Mr. Campbell opened the door. He is a charming person who spends at least half of his time in Nippon, Japan.
I walked up the ramp following Mr. Campbell and arrived at a section where I could see out the rear engine. Normally on these aircraft there would be some covering over the ramp to obscure the inner workings of the center engine, but Mr. Campbell’s aircraft has those inner workings exposed. At this time there are barrels filled with water to be a counterweight to take some load off the front landing gear.
Mr. Campbell has a specific procedure for visitors entering his home – mostly to prevent the acrylic of his home from becoming scratched. If you do get an opportunity to visit please be respectful and honoring of all of his rules and requests regarding visitor guidelines. Just after taking my shoes off and carefully walking into the aircraft I noticed that the intercom system is still connected and has all of the switches the flight attendants used in the past.
Making my way forward I could see why Mr. Campbell insists on visitors remove any kind of abrasive surfaced footwear – the floors are all completely acrylic!! Just glance down and you can see all of the controlling cables and all the way through the cargo bay to the underside of the airplane.
The emergency exits are still there and lit up as they would have been while the airplane was in service – they both open to the wing and are the means Mr. Campbell can access the wing and upper parts of the body.
I moved forward and got a good view of many of the seats that were removed – Mr. Campbell relayed a story to me where he said that when Jackie Onassis’ husband died that his plane was used to transport them back from Greece – it seems reasonable to me and it may be that one of the seats in Mr. Campbell’s house was used by a famous person like Jackie Kennedy-Onassis. A fantastic story for sure!
Near the front restroom area is another entry door, this one unfortunately opens to empty space so it wasn’t easy to get a good view out – being nervous about heights as I am.
I finally arrived at the control area which has been fabulously restored – according to Mr. Campbell almost all of the controls were removed by the salvage company and he has worked tirelessly to restore the AirPlane Home to it’s former glory. I asked my Campbell if he just sat in the captain’s seat and he bashfully admitted that he never has – he’s normally too busy restoring the plane. Still there is a very cool screen in the center of the control area where Mr. Campbell has a video showing lots of features and plans of his homee
Summary and Rating
Getting an opportunity to see the actual AirPlane Home was a fantastic experience. Mr. Campbell is very kind and loves explaining different things about his home. He’s got quite a story to tell and is a great storyteller. Be sure to contact him before trying to visit and remember this is a private residence. Please be respectful of Mr. Campbell’s privacy. You can always get more information at Mr. Campbell’s website which is http://www.airplanehome.com/ there are means to contact Mr. Campbell there and much much more information regarding his AirPlane Home project. Overall this was a fantastic experience and definitely deserves a higher rating than most. To that end I’ll award the AirPlane Home five and a half Heywillamettes. Get in touch with Mr. Campbell and Im sure he will be most agreeable to show anyone around his marvelous property and home.