Bruce Campbell is a big believer in not letting things go to waste, especially when a lot of time, energy, hard work, and care went into their construction. When someone else would see a piece of junk, Bruce sees a whole world of opportunities. From an early age, he always loved to take old, unwanted items and turn them into incredible new things, breathing fresh life into objects that had been discarded and left to rot.
Most of Bruce’s creations and innovations were quite small, but one day, after he had retired from his job as an electrical engineer, he decided to launch his biggest ever upcycling project: taking an old, unwanted plane and turning it into an exceptional home. It sounds immensely ambitious, and that’s precisely what it was, but Bruce proved that it wasn’t impossible as he slowly worked to make his fantastic dream a reality.
Read on to learn all about how Bruce got the idea to make his amazing plane home and how he went about making it all happen. It was a long journey, but when you see how his plane is looking these days, you’ll see it was worth every single bit of effort he put into it.
At the age of 64, Bruce Campbell was ready to start work on a lifelong dream. He’d spent his life as an electrical engineer but was retired now and finally had free time to work on a big project. He’d always wanted to build a home for himself from old freight vans and had bought up 10 acres of land to make it happen.
However, throughout his career, he heard about a lady named Joanna Ussery in Mississippi who had turned a 727 aircraft into her home, and he thought that sounded like an even better idea. So, he set a plan in motion to make it happen.
Bruce had the land, now he needed the plane. He ended up finding one for sale for $100,000. It was based in Athens Airport in Greece at the time, so he had to pay an extra $120,000 to get it all over to Oregon. It was a lot of cash, but for Bruce, the project was worth every penny.
Getting the plane into the woods and onto his land was a big challenge too, but eventually, he and his workers pulled it off. Next, it was time to get to work on transforming the plane, with Bruce believing that a ‘beautiful jetliner’ would be a terrible thing to waste.
As you can imagine, modifying a large aircraft into a living space is an enormous task, and Bruce’s work is still ongoing to this day, but it’s easy to see how far he has come. He wanted to preserve a lot of the original features and really make the most of the pre-existing equipment, rather than just tossing it out and replacing it.
To that end, Bruce built his own shower but still makes use of the plane’s stairs, toilet, LED lights, and some of the original seats, and all the equipment in the cockpit is fun to show off to friends and visitors.
Bruce lives alone in his converted aircraft. Since the floor is made of glass, he never wears shoes indoors and has to clean the place regularly, but loves the fact that he can look down and see all sorts of inspirational ideas and ways he can continue to enhance and improve his home.
Bruce hasn’t fitted the place out with too many modern luxuries. He makes a lot of things himself and only eats simple foods like cereal and canned goods, making use of a toaster and microwave to prepare his meals and sleeping on a futon in the evenings.
Many people look at retirement as a time to relax and take a load off, but Bruce never likes to laze about in bed for too long. Whenever he’s not sleeping, he’s working at his station and planning out new ways to improve and modify his home. He already had to fit out the plane with clean water pipes and electricity cables, but still has lots of improvements in mind.
He has always loved the idea of upcycling and making the most of old things, and never stops thinking of exciting new ways to take old parts of the aircraft and breathe new life into them.
One of Bruce’s favorite things to do in his 727 hangs out in the cockpit. It’s the ultimate ‘man cave,’ fitted out with hundreds of little buttons, switches, wires, lights, and more. Everyone would love to hang out in this fantastic room and feel just like a pilot, soaring through the skies.
Back behind the cockpit, he’s got a bunch of the original aircraft’s seats fitted out so guests can sit down and feel just like genuine passengers on a commercial flight. It’s a real dream for people who love to fly.
Some people assume that because Bruce lives out on his own in the middle of the woods that he’s a bit of a hermit, but he’s just like any other guy. He keeps up his appearance and looks after himself well thanks to the conveniences on board his plane.
He also says that he’s very proud of his home and happy with his life. He hopes that he can serve as an example and teach people about how hard work can pay off. He also encourages people to think outside the box, especially about their homes, saying that using wood and making classic rectangular homes is outdated and unfriendly to the environment.
People come and visit his plane home in Oregon often, and he’s always happy to answer questions and show them around, even hosting musical concerts and parties at the aircraft from time to time. He says he’s never going to have kids or get married but is happy with how his life has turned out and looks forward to the future.
As part of his project in Japan, he hopes that his secondary aircraft home can serve as a kind of tsunami shelter for locals, as the area of Japan he wants to live in sometimes has to deal with natural disasters. He’s doing an inspirational job, both for himself and the wider community.