The beautiful mountain-scapes and vistas that Oregon has are truly amazing. Many adventurers from all over the world come to enjoy the thrills that lie in wait.
They love to enjoy all that the wilderness has to offer. But the woods hide more than just natural wonders.
Expected In A Museum
You’d expect the object to be in a museum, not hidden away in a forest. Those bewildered adventurers who are lucky enough to see it find themselves asking a million questions.
Did it crash out here? Or had it been placed here for a reason? And just what was an old Boeing 727 doing out here, anyway?
The Boeing 727 was known as one of the largest commercial planes in its day - large enough to bear up to 189 passengers. But being large enough to carry so many passengers wasn’t the only thing its size had been designed for.
If the Boeing 727 had to make an emergency landing in a forest or field, its sheer size would make it easy to spot. Was this the case with the plane, just west of Hillsboro?
Thousands Of Passengers
The Boeing 727 reached the height of its popularity during the 1970s and 1980s. This iconic piece of machinery transported thousands of passengers in its heyday, but, over time, it became obsolete.
The jetliner was replaced with newer, better models, and the old Boeings were stripped for their parts, grounded forever. But Bruce Campbell was determined to save at least one from this sad fate.
65-year old Bruce Campbell was a retired electrical engineer. He had always had a deep appreciation of planes and their design - the Boeing 727 in particular. So when he heard that one was about to be scrapped, he managed to scrape $100,000 together to buy it outright.
But, as we know, Bruce was an electrical engineer… not a pilot.
Bruce lived alone on his tract of land in the woods, but he was lucky enough to have worked in an industry that he loved. Even beyond retirement, he was always tinkering with electrics and working on his many engineering passion projects.
So when he heard that a Boeing 727 was about to be gutted and chopped up for parts, he jumped at the opportunity to save the iconic machine. But he had no idea what he’d find inside.
Bruce was already down $100,000, and he intended to spend a lot more on his new project. He removed all the seats in the old Boeing to reveal more than 1,000 square feet of floor space.
He had an idea of what he wanted to do with the plane, but could he pull it off?
On His Next Project
When Bruce had spent the first $100,000, he fully expected his pet project to cost a lot more. The initial cost didn’t even cover shipping and repairs, never mind the transformation he intended to make.
All in all, the project was set to cost Bruce over $220,000. But how could he get that kind of money?
Looking To Cut Costs
Bruce began to look for ways to cut costs. He got in touch with a salvage company, and they began to clear out the plane. They took everything inside that was of any value - including the seats, trays, and even the carpeting.
Bruce had bought the plane with all of its parts, save for one crucial piece - the engine. Because he was going to live in the plane, not fly it.
“Jetliners are masterful works of aerospace science, and their superlative engineering grace is unmatched by any other structures people can live within,” Bruce explained.
“Retirement into an aerospace class castle should be every jetliner’s constructive fate. They should never be mindlessly scrapped.” So, what does the plane look like now?
Came With Everything
The plane came with all the plumbing and wiring, but it didn’t have a shower. Bruce tackled this problem by making an improvised cabin with hot and cold water, provided by an electric pump. It has a washing machine and a sink, but no fridge.
Bruce likes to live off the land, and what little food he does buy he stores in cans in the aircraft home. He does all his cooking in a microwave or a toaster. The cockpit is where Bruce likes to have a bit more fun...
The Cyber Office
Bruce calls the cockpit his “cyber office.” It’s alight with various beeping lights, buttons, and wires - the perfect playground for a tech-junkie like Bruce. He spends hours tinkering with the wiring, and he enjoys watching sci-fi movies while reclining in the pilot’s seat.
Because most of the passenger seats have been removed, Bruce had space to install a modest futon so he could sleep in his dream home. But is living in a Boeing 727 really practical?
“They’re incredibly strong, durable, and long-lived. And they easily withstand any earthquake or storm. Their interior is easy to keep immaculately clean because they are sealed pressure canisters,” Bruce explained.
"I don't mean to offend, but wood is in my view a terrible building material," Bruce wrote on his website.
A Great Toy
So, the bugs and debris of the forest can’t enter the plane, which makes doing household chores that much easier.
"It's a great toy," Bruce says about his airplane home. "Trick doors, trick floors. Hatches here, latches there, clever gadgets everywhere." But, Bruce only lives in his airplane home for six months of the year.
Other Six Months
For the other six months of the year, Bruce opens up his Boeing home to guests from around the world, transforming the plane home into an aerospace hotel.
"Nothing compares to the exhilaration and satisfaction provided by an aerospace-class home, and many people understand this instinctively," Bruce wrote on his website. But Bruce now has his eyes on something much bigger - a Boeing 747-400, which is three times bigger than the 727.
The Boeing 747-400 is truly the king of air travel. Produced between 1989 and 2009, this massive 747 variant became well-established in the Japanese market. Unfortunately for Bruce, this means the aircraft is hard to get.
Just below 700 were made in the 20 years that they were in service, and with most being adopted by Asian countries, they are quite rare in the U.S.
The aircraft has no longer been in use for the last ten or so years. One would think this means a lot of them would be up for grabs in boneyards across the country, right? Wrong.
The complicating issue is that many Boeing 747 variants have interchangeable parts. Instead of being completely scrapped, the aircraft is normally held and stripped for parts without ever going back out into the world.
Still Hasn't Given Up
Despite all of these complications, Bruce hasn't given up yet. He's determined to find this particular plane and make it his next project. He told a reporter that he'd seen it in one of his dreams and knows it'll come true one day.
So long he's just as patient as he can be. He hasn't said what he plans to do with the aircraft if he ever does get his hands on it.
Despite Bruce's newest fixation taking up most of his attention these days, his original project is what has caught the attention of the media. His plane hotel is allegedly fully booked for two years in advance.
Reporters have wanted to interview Bruce about his creation, but he is apparently a hard man to find and prefers his solitude. He has nothing to hide, does he?
There have been some implications as to why Bruce does what he does. Rumors have been spread surrounding the hotel from apparent guests that stayed there. Some accounts complain about mundane things to accounts that sound absurd.
From complaining about the water pressure to more sinister implications, Bruce couldn't understand why people accused him of strange things.
Soon guests at the plane hotel started digging into more than just the water pressure. Some started to say that they saw strange things on the plane, from flickering lights to seeing shadows in the hallways.
Nobody knows who started the rumors, but Bruce has said that he's never seen anything weird while living on the plane.
He chalked it up to superstition. Staying on a plane can feel a little eerie. People could wonder how the plane got to the ground. Did it crash? And more importantly, did anyone lose their lives onboard?
Bruce knew better since he had personally bought the aircraft when he heard it was getting scrapped. Rather than it being a plane wreck. But that didn't stop the imagination of the guests from running wild.
Soon, the plane had developed a reputation for being haunted. Bruce tried dismissing the allegations, but it was too late. The internet went wild over the stories people who had gone started sharing their own ghost stories.
These people seemingly manifested these events since Bruce was convinced there was no haunting on his plane. But the reputation is still stuck.
People online said that during their stay, they had seen apparitions and other ghastly things. Others heard scratches in the ceiling to bumps during the night. Bruce feared for his business. He had rented out the plane every six months so that people could enjoy the wonder of staying in a plane as he did.
But now, people have ruined its reputation with ghost stories and other false rumors. What would he do?
Going To Clean Up
Bruce decided to visit the place during the six months he normally spent away. He wanted to check out the rumors for himself. He had already made up his mind that he would go and clean the place up and make it look more modern, even if it pained him to do so.
He was coming to terms with saying goodbye to the plane the way he liked it. He would be sad, but then at least the reputation of his plane would improve.
Remembering The Good Times
The entire drive, Bruce thought back to converting the plane all on his own. It required a lot of effort, but it was worth it. He couldn't pinpoint when things got so complicated, but he wished things could be simple again.
When Bruce finally arrived and greeted the guests that were currently staying there, they told him something that would make him stop in his tracks. Maybe things weren't so bad after all.
The guests seemed excited to meet the owner of the plane hotel. Bruce expected them to have immediate complaints too. But when they thanked him for the incredible experience, he felt more confused than ever.
They were more than happy with their stay. But it wasn't for the reasons that he expected. What they said next blew his mind.
A Cult Following
They explained to Bruce that his plane had developed a cult following. Young adults who loved chasing real ghost stories had seen the posts about his hotel and decided to investigate it for themselves.
He couldn't believe it. The business was actually better with the ghost stories. He noticed that more and more people were booking but assumed the ghost accounts were all complaints.
Bruce could have kept on his current trajectory and gone against the rumors and tried cleaning the place up. That would mean changing a lot that he liked about the place. Or he could adapt to the situation and go with the flow.
Bruce had the decision to make. Go with the haunted theme and keep the plane just how he liked it, or abolish any rumors about the plane and change it for good.
A Happy Ending
Bruce decided that the haunted theme wasn't so bad. He knew that the plane wasn't actually haunted, but most of his guests only came because of that reason. This meant that nothing really had to change for him, and he could keep the plane as is. Things worked out for the better. Bruce got to keep his plane the same and kept chasing his next project - the 747-400. But would he ever end up finding one?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.