Looking forward from side

AirPlane Home – Hillsboro

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!

Before Continuing…

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.

Trees Mr. Campbell has planted
The trees on Mr. Campbell’s property were planted in the late seventies by him.  Over five hundred trees per year for eight or nine years!

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.

Front landing gear
The first view of Mr. Campbell’s home is the front landing gear.  It is enormous!
Front landing gear and support platform
This wide-angle shot shows the supremely sturdy platform the front end is resting on – there is a hole just below the front landing gear where a concrete platform is being constructed, and likely complete by the time you read this.

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.

Center red beacon light
Mr. Campbell was very insistent on getting as much of the aircraft working and authentic as it could be, including this very bright red light just in the center of the belly

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!!

Looking back from underneath at rear ramp
The rear-boarding ramp can be seen along with a temporary shipping container that is used to assist with building the front landing gear platform

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!

Looking toward from landing gear from underneath
All three landing gears can be seem along with part of the wings – this picture can’t capture how massive the entire structure is

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.

One of the wings from below
The wing is mostly intact with only a few panels removed.  A flashing light can be seen on the end, though in this picture its not visible

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.

Landing gears looking back
The landing gear is massive and chained down to prevent the home from moving in high winds or during an earthquake (more on that later!)
Massive landing gear
Everything about the landing gears is massive and impressive, they are designed to survive hundreds (if not thousands) of landings and takeoffs

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.

Connections for water and sewer
These connections run right into the plane to provide water and sewer services, like an aerodynamic flying RV

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.

Top and right side engine housings
The right side nacelle can be seen.  It’s massive and large enough for an adult to easily crawl through
Right side engine housing
The type and model can be seen clearly on the engine housing, this AirPlane Home is a Boeing seven-twenty-seven two hundred variant

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.

Rear engine and left housing
The lights on the rear ramp can be seen in this picture as well as the left and center engine housings

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.

Horizontal stabilizer looking upward
The wing is more massive than I can adequately explain.  I felt very small underneath it
Another view of the rear horizontal stabilizer
The rear horizontal stabilizers are at least thirty feet high and feel much higher.   They are at least fifteen feet wide at least and look huge

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.

Rear ramp looking up at Mr. Campbell
Mr. Campbell has put quite a bit of work into his AirPlane Home, and the care and quality of everything shows it

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.

Center rear engine
The center rear engine has a large intake above the body and the exhaust is several feet out the back of the main body

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.

Intercom phone
The phone intercom and public address system just inside the rear door is very vintage looking – as a collector of rotary-dial phones I was slightly jealous
Rear exit sign
Looking up from the phone the exit sign for the rear ramp can be seen

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.

Clear acrylic floors
The floors are all clear except for a small section.  It’s remarkable looking and really adds to the uniqueness of Mr. Campbell’s home
Stainless steel controlling cables can be seen through the floor
The controlling cables and structure of the airplane can easily be seen through the clear floor

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.

Emergency exit
The emergency exit door light is still visible working as it would have been while the aircraft was flying
View from the emergency exit along the wing
Mr. Campbell was kind enough to open the door to illustrate how large the wing was.  Being somewhat afraid of heights I declined the offer to walk along the wing

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!

Body area with spare seats
It’s not hard to imagine one of the seats seen here being used by someone famous
View inside looking toward cockpit
The acrylic floor continues to the control area – there is a small restroom outside the control area as well

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.

Front entrance
This door might be where some of the passengers would enter
Looking out from front entrance rearward
Leaning out the door to get a view back along the body the engine housings and rear horizontal stabilizer can be seen

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

Cockpit illuminated with red
The cockpit is illuminated with red lights much like they would have been when the plane was operating – to keep the pilots from losing night-vision while flying at night

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.

5_5-HeyWillamettes

 

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