Philosophical Foundation and Execution Overview
And Looking Forward...
Updated 9 March 2016
When properly executed the remarkable appeal of a retired jetliner as a home springs from the magnificent technology and beauty of the sculptured structure itself. Jetliners are masterful works of aerospace science, and their superlative engineering grace is unmatched by any other structures people can live within. 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're sealed pressure canisters and thus dust and insects can't intrude from the outside. And they're quite secure - when all doors are closed and locked they're highly resistant to intruders. So the human hearts inside feel wonderfully safe and comfortable.
And their interiors are beautifully modern and refined, and provide a wealth of unique amenities and exceptionally high quality infrastructure - the illumination, climate control, electrical, and plumbing systems are superb, and voluminous storage space is seamlessly sculpted into every meter of the cabin. Once most rows of seats are removed, a jetliner's profound appeal as a family living environment becomes immediately obvious. Many home environments are luxurious. But a jetliner home is a highly refined and beautiful environment with aerospace class strength and endurance - it withstands earthquakes, winds, floods, and other stresses far more capably than most conventional structures. It's truly unique.
And when fully intact, as is proper*, they look spectacular from the outside too. They are sleek, gleaming aerospace sculptures which speak volumes about the beautiful side of mankind's constructive heart - with every gaze they vividly display humanity's collective push toward higher achievements and a brighter future.
So they serve their owners superbly not only in practical terms, but in spiritual terms as well. From both the inside and the outside they make people feel special and contribute mightily toward their pursuit of human dignity and fulfillment.
However, there is a practical challenge: They are difficult to move over land.
Normally of course homes and buildings are assembled from small components which are rather easily transported to a building site by ordinary trucks or vans. So there's almost never a need to transport large components. But retired jetliners are in effect pre-assembled homes, so they require transport as a single large structure. And generally that can be quite difficult.
But there are means to resolve this problem...
The wings and tail of a narrow body jetliner can be temporarily removed so that the aircraft can be transported on some roads for limited distances, such as with my Boeing 727-200 project. The logistics require careful study and planning to assure clearance along the route. But once that's achieved actual transport using house moving dollies for lowest possible overall height is relatively straightforward and comparatively inexpensive.
But it can be much better to take advantage of fortunate opportunities such as property located within clear towing distance of a suitable airport, or an airport located next to a large body of water so that relatively simple barge transport to property near a shore could be utilized. In either case wide body jetliners, which make absolutely spectacular homes, could be transported reasonably efficiently and relatively cheaply. My attention has turned to such situations in an area I truly love. And although these potential opportunities remain in an early study and discussion stage at this time, a chance of siting a Boeing 747-400 home seems to exist.
A far more ambitious jetliner home park concept would consist of a large tract of land and incorporate a modest (and perhaps temporary) runway sufficient to land wide body jetliners when at nearly empty weight. Aircraft would land and then simply taxi or be towed to their final individual home sites. They would be aerospace home communities of perhaps 25 to 200 jetliner homes - enough to make the economics of a modest runway viable.
See http://www.SAAMuseum.co.za/component/content/article/43.html and http://www.AvWeb.com/newspics/747x50.jpg to get an initial vision of such a project.
Imagine that the expansive green land area adjacent to that airstrip (not shown in the images in those links) was developed into numerous individual plots for wide body aircraft homes - perhaps one hundred or more spectacular jetliner homes, each on its own three to five acre plot. Such projects would conserve a superb human resource and at the same time create truly unique and scintillating communities of aerospace class homes. They would represent the proper evolution of aircraft bone yards, whose time should have passed long ago, into beautiful jetliner home communities, whose time is long, long overdue. I hope to at least witness such a project within my lifetime.
Bureaucracy hurdles are always a factor of course. They vary by region and culture from a relatively minor consideration to an overwhelming one. Excellent planning substantially reduces bureaucracy problems, but in my Boeing 727 project case speed may have been beneficial too - it progressed quickly from proposal to the local bureaucracy to actual move, so the excitement associated with its novelty remained fresh until transport of the aircraft was complete. So perhaps major bureaucratic problems didn't develop primarily because there wasn't much time for them to evolve - everyone remained intrigued as the project proceeded quickly, leaving little time for unwarranted fears about possible future problems to develop.
And that's a good thing, because jetliners can, and should, be transformed into wonderful homes - retirement into an aerospace class castle should be every jetliner's constructive fate. They should never be mindlessly scrapped - in my view shredding a beautiful and scintillating jetliner is a tragedy in waste and a profound failure of human imagination. And the time for humanity to recognize this is long, long overdue.
* Except disciplined non-damaging service procedure style removal of the engines if they still have a reasonable airworthy service life. But not the engine cowlings, nor any other components of any kind.
Copyright 19 February 2012, Howard Bruce Campbell, AirplaneHome.com.
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