Hillsboro Airport and Hillsboro Fair Complex Management Plan

Activity Summary

The intact aircraft will be flown into the Hillsboro Airport, landing on runway 30-12. It will taxi or be towed immediately to the Aero Air ramp along a specific route, parked, defueled and inerted. However, hydraulic systems will not be drained. Early the next morning, about 12:00 AM, the aircraft will be towed to the threshold of runway 30, then south across the airport property turf, continuing south across Cornell Road and the field east of the Cavanaugh's property, then west to a Fair Complex location near or adjacent to the south border with the Cavanaugh's property. The Cornell Road crossing will be executed under the direction of and with the aid of the Washington County Road Office, using steel weight dispersion planks to protect the road and curbs. Over about the next two weeks, a crew will drain 33 gallons of hydraulic fluids and remove the engines, wings, tail, and smaller items during working hours. As components are removed, they will be transported by truck, some to a home site near Laurel, Oregon, and others to Aero Controls, Inc. in Shelton, Washington. The aircraft will be open to guided public tours and conversation for a stipulated period each day after working hours. The transport routes and work / display site will be left thoroughly clean environmentally and physically, unaltered and undamaged, or, if alteration or damage occurs, restoration to original condition or better will be promptly made.

Hillsboro Fair Complex Public Display and Tours

Conversion of a retired airliner into a domestic home or other building is an unusual and stimulating project, and in my experience an interesting novelty to most people. In order to address public interest in the concept and this specific project, the aircraft will be made accessible for public perusal for a one or two hour period per day, or as demand indicates, including guided tours of its 1,066 square foot interior and other areas. Available printed material relating to the project will be provided, and questions will be cheerfully answered. Certain positive values of an aircraft based home will be described for those interested, including vastly superior earthquake and fire resistance, longevity, minimal maintenance, security from insects and dust by virtue of the sealed nature of the enclosure, excellent escapability in the event of a fire caused by combustible furnishings, personal security by virtue of the high level of structural integrity of the home, and an extremely high order of design technology and workmanship. It's not a normal home, but it's very appealing in many ways.

Cornell Road Protection:

The specified operational empty weight of the Boeing 727-200 aircraft is 94,407 pounds, 85% of which is supported by four main landing gear tires (20, 061 pounds per tire) and 15% of which is supported by two nose gear tires (7, 081 pounds per tire). This is a higher weight per contact area pressure than Cornell Road can safely withstand, so steel planks will be utilized to disperse the weight under the main gear tires, and, if deemed appropriate by the Washington County Road Office, steel or plywood planks will be used to disperse the weight under the nose gear tires.

Environmental Protection (Hillsboro Fair Complex):

The fuel will have been thoroughly removed from all tanks and the tanks inerted before the aircraft leaves the airport grounds, so no fuel risks should be involved. Boeing specifications indicate that the total capacity of the aircraft's hydraulic systems is 33 gallons. On a dry weather day, the hydraulic fluids will be drained into secure containers using drain ports or by carefully cutting hydraulic lines at strategic locations. Plywood planks and chemical spill absorbent mats will be placed underneath all drain points during all draining operations to insure that fluids can't reach the soil, and all draining operations will be executed and monitored by no less than two persons to insure an immediate and sufficient protective response should a draining operation deviate from normal. A double weight roll of absorbent mat material with a total absorbent capacity of 47 gallons has been purchased to support the project, and will be kept on the site at all times.

Steel or heavy plywood planks will be located under the aircraft's landing gear tires at the work site to insure physical stability and partially reduce ground compression. Additional plywood planks will be utilized at the site to protect the turf from biomass destruction due to human or support vehicle traffic where directed by Washington County Fair Complex officials.

Vehicle Operations and Work Site Safety:

Personal vehicles will be parked in areas designated by Washington County Fair Complex officials. Mobile equipment such as a forklift or small crane, and the large trucks and transport dollies required to haul the fuselage, wings and tail components away will be driven to and from the site as directed by Washington County Fair Complex officials.

All power tools and mobile equipment will be moved to a minimally intrusive location at the end of each workday, and secured as much as possible, so as to minimize the possibility that any public visitor could access or be injured by these items.

Project Personnel and Firms:

Most of the disassembly work will be performed by a crew employed by the aircraft salvage company Aero Controls Inc., based in Washington State. Additional effort will be contributed by Bruce Campbell, an Electrical Engineer, and possibly some of his colleagues, most of whom are professionals in other fields. Transport of large items such as the fuselage will be handled by Emmert International or Bo Branch Home Movers.

Cooperation, Project Integrity and Document Availability:

The aircraft, equipment, and work area may be visited and inspected at any time by Washington County Fair Complex officials or their assigns. Anyone involved with the project must respond to any query from these officials in a fully honest and informative manner. All project managers and individuals will create and maintain an amiable, cooperative, and honest atmosphere at all times, and no withholding of information or deception of any kind will be tolerated.

Bruce Campbell will provide any available project related documents to any Washington County Fair Complex official or their assigns upon request, and will maintain a copy of key documents either in the aircraft or in close proximity to it.

Disassembly Equipment:

If electrical power is not reasonably available, a gasoline powered electrical generator may be utilized at the work site to support power tools and enclosed area lighting. Generator fuel will be stored in approved containers in a location designated by Washington County Fair Complex officials, and never on soil or turf, and safety and environmental procedures will be followed. A small truck based crane will be brought to the site to support the removal of the wings and tail assembly. A fork lift truck may also be used at the site.

Disassembly Requirements and Methods:

The aircraft's wings, tail assembly, radome (nose cone), engines, auxiliary power unit (apu), avionics and support electronics, and numerous small items which have significant aviation service value, will be removed from the fuselage. Except for the vertical tail and rudder assembly, all removed components will be detached using service procedures, meaning that existing fasteners will be detached so that no permanent destruction of an assembly occurs. A small truck based crane will be utilized during tail and wing removal so that these items may be lowered gently to surface support blocks or pallets.

Since the vertical tail and rudder assembly is not structured to be separated non destructively, it will be cut from the fuselage along the line illustrated on the aircraft drawings and lowered by a small crane. This will require the use of metal grinding tools, and is likely to be the only acoustically noisy procedure required. It's roughly estimated that the metal cutting task will require one hour total time. The scheduling of this work may be directed by Washington County Fair Complex officials so as to minimally interfere with their operations or their clients or business contacts.

Prior to wing removal, the fuselage will be raised by jacks, and then lowered onto stands, cribbing, or truck dollies, leaving the landing gear suspended above the surface. After the wings are removed, the landing gear will be retracted, and the wings will be set on blocks, pallets, or a truck bed until transported to the home site.


The roughly estimated project time, including disassembly, truck loading, site cleanup, and final inspection, is two weeks.

However, while Aero Controls is evidently more experienced performing Boeing 727 salvage projects than any other organization, this is a remote project, conducted on a site other than their own in Shelton, Washington. Delays due to equipment availability or similar unforeseen events are possible, and could be exacerbated by inclement weather. However, it is not expected that any delay would be serious. To my knowledge none of the equipment utilized is highly unusual, and if necessary similar equipment replacements could be acquired from local sources. Weather dependent exterior work will be given first scheduling priority during good conditions to minimize the chances of weather related delays.

Tangible Local Economic Benefits:

Arrow Controls Inc. has indicated that they have budgeted $5,000 for crew support at the project site, including lodging, food and related expenses. Local freight truckers have quoted or are in the process of quoting on the transport of the fuselage, wings and tail, and one may be retained for the job if their quote is equal to or lower than other vendors, and they appear to be experienced and well equipped to safely handle the tasks. A small truck based crane will be rented locally.

Intangible Community Benefits:

Explorers and renaissance thinkers frequently expend time and resources pursuing concepts which prove impractical, inefficient or noncompetitive. But exploration is a necessary component of vital living and human fulfillment, and it occasionally leads to fruitful new discoveries, devices or methods which can enrich everyone's existence (and that of our fellow creatures). Care and caution are prudent, but not to the point of fully stifling exploration.

Currently, retired airliners are almost always cut into scrap, and this seems to me a terrible waste of valuable resources. These are exceptionally well designed and well built, very long life, sealed, aerospace quality enclosures of high durability, resiliency, security and reliability. Without fuel, they are extremely fire resistant, yet numerous emergency exits are built in for safety. Further, they can easily withstand severe earthquakes - a profound advantage in our high earthquake hazard region. Their interior areas are almost impervious to insects and small animals. And handled correctly, they can be very pleasing aesthetically. In these regards and others, they dramatically outperform conventional homes.

In my view retired airliners should be considered as much more than just scrap, and home conversion may be just one of many possibilities. I've heard that retired freight containers, scattered on many sites, are used in other earthquake hazard regions, such as the San Francisco Bay area, to store emergency supplies and food, a wise civic precaution. Retired airline fuselages could serve the same function, but would provide much more storage room, and could be used as emergency shelters as well. These concepts are not limited to conventional body aircraft. The wide body Boeing 747 provides 4,500 square feet of exhilarating aerospace quality floor space, and imaginative thinking suggests many possible important civic or private uses for such a structure. Challenges in the handling and conversion of such large and heavy structures must be addressed of course. But that's part of exploration, and addressing these challenges might prove to be wise investments. The Boeing 727 project, providing 1,066 square feet of floor space plus freight holds, is a good start, and if fruitful could lead to more and larger civic, business or private opportunities.

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