In 1999, he paid $100,00 for a Boeing 727. Transforming it into a home cost another $120,000 and a lot of vision. “Next time you’re in a jetliner, close your eyes for a moment,” he told Great Big Story. “In your mind remove all the seats and all the other people, and then open your eyes with that vision and consider the expansive living room. It’s a good environment; it really is.”
Inside, between the cabin and the cockpit, Campbell has 1,066 square feet of living space. It has a stairway entry (which he can retract if he’s going away for a while, sort of like pulling up the ladder on a tree fort), a “very primitive shower,” two functioning bathrooms, a futon, kitchen area, and bench where he tinkers on plane improvements. Taking care of the home involves vacuuming the plane’s floor and sweeping leaves off its wings.
Living near the Cascadia subduction zone, the electrical engineer wanted something he thought would stand up to an earthquake. “It’s a sealed pressure canister,” he says. “It’s incredibly strong. It will last practically forever.” A fan of sustainability, he thinks it’s crazy to dismantle retired jetliners then turn around and build a new home. He calls planes “an aerospace class, home-size structure.”
While he admits living in the woods in a plane might be a bit unusual or lonely for many people, for Campbell, it feels totally natural. He’s not the only one: Red Lane, a former airplane mechanic, makes his home in a DC-8.