5 Creatively Recycled (and DIY) 747s: from Jumbo Hostels to Houses & Beyond

Image by Alan Radecki

(Image by Alan Radecki, published with permission)

The awesome Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet revolutionised commercial air travel.  With more than 1,400 rolled off the production line to date, this select group is revolutionising the Jumbo’s life-after-flight potential, from environmental consideration to the world’s wildest recycled home and hostel.

The Jumbo Hostel

Image via EWR

(Image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 3.0 Generic Unported)

As airport hostels go, this converted 747 in Stockholm is definitely the most original, the most daring and the most appropriate for the setting.  The decommissioned Boeing 747-200, which was built in 1976 for Singapore Airlines, has 27 rooms and more than 70 beds.  All rooms come equipped with wireless internet and flat screen TV which can be used to monitor departure times for the airport – just a five minute shuttle ride away.

Images by jingdianjiaju1

(Images licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)

The Jumbo Hostel, which offers a 24 hour service, also has a cafe where guests and non-guests alike can buy breakfast, served appropriately on airline trays – but hopefully a cut above airline food!

Image by carlbob

(Image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

After service with Singapore Airlines, this old 747 was operated by Pan Am and finally Swedish airline Transjet, which went bust in 2002.  To convert the aircraft, the original interior was ripped out with 450 seats replaced by 76 beds.  New decor and a shiny coat of paint later, and the Jumbo Hostel was ready for the most discerning of travellers.  The pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the “cockpit suite”, a two bed room with ensuite and flight controls thrown in – just don’t raise the landing gear!

Want to check out the Jumbo Hostel for yourself?  Watch the tour (above) and visit the official website.

The Smithsonian’s Revamped 747 Cockpit

Images by cliff1066

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When Washington DC’s Smithsonian decided they needed a 747 – the plane that revolutionised air travel – nose section for its new America by Air exhibit, the plan was to impressive visitors with a ful-size replica.  But before the model makers had chance to go to work, Northwest Airlines called to offer the Air and Space Museum an entire Jumbo Jet.  With not enough room for the whole plane, the front was restored and placed in the museum – this colossal nose section alone takes up half the room!  But the rest of the aircraft wasn’t so lucky.

Image by James Covington

(Image courtesy of James Covington, Airliners.net)

Here it is, rusting away on an airfield at Maxton, North Carolina in September 2006.  This 747-151 was the first built for Northwest Airlines and took to the sky in 1970.  Its wings were clipped in 1999, with the aircraft reduced to scrap metal seven months after this photo was taken.  The nose section was removed, renovated and dismantled into various sections for transportation to the museum.  Visitors can now wander onto the top deck, check out the old fashioned analogue cockpit and wonder what can be found at the bottom of the elegant spiral staircase (fitted to the older Jumbos, as opposed to the more traditional straight ones of today).

Boeing 747 Restaurant

Images by Danleo

(Images licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Like the Jumbo Hostel above, this 747 in Namyangju-Si, South Korea can claim to be one of the few – if not the only – restaurants created inside an entire Jumbo Jet – minus half of the right wing, which was cut off due to lack of space.  Looking rather better inside than out, this photo was taken in November 2005, since which time the “restaurant” appears to have been abandoned.  Dark Roasted Blend published a great article about this aircraft – the second 747 ever built and the first to fly commercially – with a spectacular selection of photos, which demonstrate what happens to man’s greatest mechanical wonders when left out in the rain.

Extreme Living: 747 Wing House Project

As far as “recycled” 747s go, the Wing House Project in Malibu is probably the greenest and most ambitious.  The planning process lasted several years, partly because owner Francie Rehwald had to gain approval and special markings for recycled parts that could unwittingly be taken for an aircraft crash site!  But approval did come and work on the green home – designed primarily around the aircraft’s two massive wings – commenced.  In the true spirit of green living, none of the 747 will go to waste.  Parts of the fuselage (see Alan Radecki’s picture, top) will become a guest house and art studio, while the nose section, pointed skyward, is to be a meditation pavillion.  Join the journey vicariously via the video above.  And don’t miss Alan Radecki’s series of retired aircraft that were not so creatively recycled.  (More plane houses here.)

Boeing 747 Spare Bedroom Flight Simulator

Image via Gizmodo

Last but not least, this one may not be the biggest but it is no less ambitious.  Once again, the parts are recycled and the result is probably one of the most incredible – and bizarre – spare bedrooms in the world – a fully functioning, homemade 747 cockpit simulator, with seats that look far more comfortable than the real thing!  John Davis spent eight years and £15,000 building the simulator.  It’s now proven so successful that John has quit his job as a graphic designer and now runs a full time flight sim business from his home in Coventry, UK.

Images via Gizmodo

(Images by Gizmodo, reproduced with permission)

The cockpit is made of wood with a main 12 ft x 9 ft screen and two 19-inch flat screens for the side windows.  Microsoft Flight Simulator and Aerowinx PS1 take care of the visuals, while the autopilot system, throttles and weather radar were found online.  The 747-400 cockpit simulator, which can recreate pretty much anywhere in the world, costs between £65 ($130) for one hour and £420 ($850) for six hours.

John has logged an impressive 2,500 hours on the simulator, and his wife has since moved out.  In 2007, John and some mates embarked on a round-the-world flight in the sim to raise funds for his local Air Ambulance.  In-flight entertainment came via a Scottish Elvis impersonator and the wife of one of the “crew” was on airline food duty.  Urban Ghosts Media loves the simulator and wishes John as many landings as there are takeoffs!  Read the full interview in Gizmodo.

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  • http://www.cannonski.com vx

    That bedroom 747 simulator is pretty unreal!

  • Tom

    I couldn’t agree more! Pretty cool how all the pieces were readily available, proving that just about anyone can create their very own fully functioning home flight sim!

  • http://www.miwmaw.com home design

    damn, really nice steel home…

  • Pete

    planes are made out of aluminum fyi

  • DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE

    They forgot safety railings on the wings, otherwise very unique, positively, I like, especially the bedroom in the cockpit! For dinning, do you all eat in the galley?

  • girdyerloins

    I love it…..
    John has logged an impressive 2,500 hours on the simulator, and his wife has since moved out.
    Women go mental when men engage in “projects”, but demand full loyalty when their favorite endeavors meet lukewarm opposition.
    Thankfully, I’ve listened to Tom Lehrer’s rendition of “Alma”…..and can laugh about it.
    Oh, and I live alone, too.
    Great ideas. I once had a notion to buy the front end on a 747 and have it helicoptered out to a piece of land I owned, making it look like it had crash-landed there. The ex now owns that land…you can figure out the rest.

 
 
 
 
 

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