Energy & Sustainability Fun & Games Planes
Airplane reuse
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Image from Inhabitat

Looking to cash in your frequent flyer miles? Maybe you can crash here….

The airplane was transported piece by piece from the San Jose airport to its current resting place on a pedestal 50 feet above the beach. It looks a bit like a model airplane on a stand, and we can only imagine the spectacular views from the balcony and the airplane windows. Five big trucks were needed to get the plane out to the resort, and while the transportation certainly had a negative ecological impact, the finished project is a stunning example of adaptive reuse.

Or perhaps here…

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Image from Inhabitat

The Jumbo Hostel is housed within a retrofitted 747-200 situated in the Stockholm-Arlanda airport. The jumbo jet has a long history of service – it was originally built for Singapore Airlines and even flew for Pan Am. It was last operated by Transjet, a now bankrupt Swedish airline. The Jumbo Hostel has 25 rooms with three bunk beds each. Each room is around 6 square meters, and naturally, a lucky visitor will get the chance to sleep in the cockpit.

Back a few years ago, I broke away from a family vacation in Phoenix to go visit Biosphere 2. While I was the only one who wanted to venture to the huge desert greenhouse, I had a nice time and would encourage people to check out the facility and its story. Incidentally, Biosphere 2 did show up in one of my daughter’s spelling homework assignments this week.

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On my solo side trip adventure, I tried to find an airplane graveyard that I had heard of in the desert outside Tucson. Despite my pre-travel research efforts, I never did find the airplane storage facility back then, but heard an interesting story about how it is more cost effective to mothball your surplus airship than to deliver empty seats from city to city. Apparently, there is something ideal about the desert of the American Southwest for airplane storage.

Got any good stories of airplane storage, reuse or repair? Share them in the comments!


18 thoughts on “Airplane reuse

  1. I’m surprised you had trouble finding the airplane graveyard – I live in Tucson, and it’s pretty hard to miss!

    1. Well, this was back in the olden days of the internets and I was on dialup. I remember looking madly for any information, and just couldn’t find it. By the time I got to AZ, nobody had or expected to use a computer, and the web surfing was over until we returned.

      My how times have changed, now we all would just use our phones to look it up. Yeah, I didn’t even have a phone in 2003, or for most of 2008, when I finally embraced my cellular tether.

      1. Next time your in Tucson ask anyone where Pima Air and Space Museum http://www.pimaair.org/ is.
        Plan on spending at least a 1/2 day. It is right across the street from DM AFB as well as some private airplane junk yards. The good planes are in the Museum and they have tours of the Airforce’s AMARC desert storage facility from the museum.

  2. It’s simple to find. Go to Davis Monthan and play golf, you can see the plane storage area from the course. ( and these weird little ground owls )

  3. I really love the first photo. Never imagined an airplane as a house. That is, indeed, a creative job:)

  4. Because the killer for planes is moisture, which leads to corrosion, often in the most difficult to service (and critical) spot.

    The Concords were remarkably corrosion free, as their Mach 2 cruise heated the airframe so much that moisture couldn’t form or remain.

    I remember seeing a lot of stored aircraft at Mojave airport while spectating the space ship one shot, same deal.

    Cool stuff, I have to take a pilgrimage out there some day.

  5. I visit the airplane graveyard at least once a year. I find it so fascinating that so many different planes from different genres, fleets, and missions are now resting peacefully in one place. I think the mothball and taping process is sort of like ancient process of mummification, so simple yet complex at the same time.

    Now that I am able to able fly with private jet hire, I regularly take the time to think about these old planes and what they were like in their hay day. Now in a bone yard, they were once the diamonds of the sky.

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