What would you do with a used Boeing 747?

Energy & Sustainability
What would you do with a used Boeing 747?

Telstar 707
Todd writes –

The following information may be of interest to Artists, Architects, Aviation Buffs, Crafty Types, Flight Sim Geeks, Readers of Make magazine, Survivalists, and/or Very Wealthy People with a Taste for Ostentation: Have you ever dreamed of purchasing your very own Boeing 747? Mojave_7472 If so, now is the time to talk with your finance people and get all your ducks in a row. During the next two to five years, the price of used Boeing 747s may fall to historic lows as the global supply of dead 747s climbs to unprecedented highs. The in-service arrival of next-generation widebody aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-8 means that several hundred of today’s oldest 747s — mostly 747-200 models built during the 1970s that are currently used as air freighters — will soon be headed out to pasture.

Telstar Logistics: Psssst! Who Wants to Buy a Used Boeing 747, CHEAP? – [via] Link.

Ok Makers, we can’t buy a jet (yet) but post up in the comments on what *you* would do with a used Boeing 747 and I’ll pick a good one at the end of the day (11:59 PM PDT). The winner will get a MAKE Pocket Ref.

What’s a Pocket Ref? All the reference information anyone needs on virtually any subject is right at the fingertips in this handy pocket-sized guide. Its tables, charts, drawings, lists, and formulas will be especially useful for contractors, students, travelers, electronics hobbyists, craftspeople, and engineers and technicians in virtually every field.- Link & get it at the Maker store.

Go Go Go!

92 thoughts on “What would you do with a used Boeing 747?

  1. Jzege says:

    Live in it. Seriously, if I could I would find a hill and park the plane on top, and use it as a holiday chalet. Or maybe operate it as a hotel.

    Imagine the passerbys who’re going to stop and stare. 0_0

  2. turbotron says:

    you know that classic job interview question, “how many ping pong balls will fit in a 747?” I could find the answer in real life. Then if the question ever came up, I could casually throw out an exact number, and even present a photo/video montage for proof.

  3. a_swan89 says:

    One word: transformer
    Turn it into the largest robot in disguise you’ve ever seen. No one messes around with a guy who has a 747 that turns into a giant robot.

  4. dissident75 says:

    I would seriously turn it into a house. Think of the space. approx 20ft wide by 187 long? It would be a bad ass house.

    All you need to do is run the cabling, plumbing, and refinish the inside. Easier I think than the shipping container house I had planned. Just gotta lose the wings. Dont need the house to take off during a windstorm.

  5. jmillerid says:

    Four flat screens and the bitchen-est Xbox 360 flight simulator ever…

  6. samgam says:

    rip everything off and fill it with cushions and roll down a huge hill

    or the worlds biggest pressure cooker

  7. znolan says:

    I’d have to flip a coin to decide between making a really long teardrop trailer or a bookmobile.

  8. Flintlock says:

    I would SO park it in the front yard.

    Nose pointing down.

  9. abrannan says:

    Shorten the wings, seal it up, and make a submarine out of it.

  10. lwatcdr says:

    I would make it into a house boat.
    But I would go really wild. I would get two of them :)
    Remove the wings and create deck attaches to the main spar sort of like a giant F-82. Make them into a catamaran.
    Remove the vertical stabilizers too keep it manageable in the wind but keep the horizontal stabilizers for a deck.
    The key would be the interior. I would convert the cockpit area on one into an observation area / bridge. The area that is the in “hump” would make a great home theater. The other cockpit would be a flight simulator cockpit.. Well what else? The rest of that hump would be a gaming area. The main deck already has some bathrooms So I would expand those an make them a little more comfy. The Center fuel tanks would work for propulsion and gen-set fuel And you would have plenty of space in the cargo hold for water tanks and other storage and of course propulsion.
    Even if you just docked in on a lake and it would make a very interesting house or bed and breakfast.

  11. Spooger says:

    I think it would make an awesome bar-preferably situated near a major airport!

  12. IrregularShed says:

    Give it to Mythbusters and give them 747 hours to do as many things as possible with it, before using what’s left as the most preposterous casemod EVER.

  13. peterleroux says:

    While they make pretty good lecture theatres (I did a training course in one at a local airport), I would use it as a restaurant- kit the whole thing out in 60’s vintage Pan-Am livery inside and out (all first class seating) and install up-sized galleys in the existing galley spaces. We’d serve the best airline food on Earth :)

  14. CPE-in-Training says:

    to be honest, i’d have to tear it apart.
    ever since i was a little kid i dreampt of having a bunch of controls and stuff. lots of buttons and knobs that do interesdting things, whether around the house or on the internet and such. the displays and such would be great for my electronics projects. i’d turn the first class seats into gaming chairs (with maybe 5-point harnesses for those REALLY extreme gamer-types) and sell them. the coach seats?, move them all around, arrange them stadium style, and make the actual fuselage a movie theater. with the wings?, definitely gotta make myself a coffee table. the tail could easily become a wall hanging. all that wiring and RF shielding would be added to my project supplies. the black box and sensors, HACK! make something cool out of them, maybe and uber-sensitive data logger for my car. the possibilities are endless.

  15. emperor_dane says:

    a used Boeing 747 could be turned into 2 huge solar-thermal collectors. The cylindrical shape of the passenger area would be perfect for 2 half-cylinder concentrators. these concentrators, once covered with mylar or similar reflective material would concentrate solar light onto a central pipe, painted black. finally the systems could use the plane’s internal coolant/ temperature control systems as a heat exchanger. finally the fluid that convects through the exchanger could run through the original jet’s fuel pump to act as a generator, using convective forces to generate electricity from otherwise considered refuse.

    here is a diagram


    -emperor dane

  16. Bobbsmithe says:

    I’d cut off the tail, stand it straight up like a silo, remove all the seats and interior and then create an enclosed rock climbing wall.

  17. DaveBarak says:

    I would turn it into a low-budget indie film studio. Seriously.

    The cockpit would be left intact, and restored as needed.

    The lavatories would be re-plumbed to work on the ground.

    The galleys would be re-plumbed and re-wired to serve as small kitchens.

    Some space (First class area? Upper deck?) would be converted into dressing room/makeup space.

    A false front bulkhead or rear bulkhead would be installed somewhere inside to create a shortened version of an airliner cabin for film shoots. The rest of the un-enhanced interior would be sound-proofed to be used as a small sound stage.

    Ideally, a cargo version would be used so that the cargo door could be used to load and unload equipment, props, etc.

    The only fees charged would be those to maintain the “studio,” plus security deposits, thereby keeping the whole thing non-profit for the low/no budget indie film-MAKERS. : )

  18. dvgadre says:

    I could do many things with that:

    1. Mount it on a huge roller-coaster, with all first-class seating, with air hostesses serving drinks on the move. A section will be smoking section that would let you relive those times you could still smoke on a flight.

    2. Immerse the plane under water and make a testbed out of it to train people what to do when a plane crashes in water/sea.

    3. Rip apart the electronics and verify that it does indeed use Triple Modular Redundancy; three different processors for every need and that too made by different manufacturers (Is that true?).

    4. Make an indoor squash/tennis/badminton/basketball court. The audience would have to climb up ladders against the windows to watch the game.

  19. Werle says:

    Assuming I had somewhere to put the damn thing, I think it’d make a pretty sweet workshop. It’s already compartmentalized, so I could keep woodworking away from welding or soldering or garage stuff. I’m sure that whatever construction that keeps people in would help to dampen whatever sound I make (no more angry neighbors! assuming anyone would be living near a grounded plane), and you could retain something of the interior enough to relax in style. The only pain would be hauling common equipment around. Well, that or walk a couple hundred feet for a screwdriver every 15 minutes.

  20. rollerboi says:

    1. Scuba diving depth tunnel. I would hollow it out, stand it on end, and fill it with water. The no-decompression limit for recreational scuba diving is 130 feet; at 187 ft deep, this would provide an excellent opportunity for deep diving training.

    Emergency air supplies/regulators could be installed in the body at various depths for planned nitrogen offgassing even in the event of tank failure/gas depletion.

    2. This could also double as the ultimate sensory deprivation chamber; fill with water and establish buoyancy at a set depth. Speakers could pulse sound through the water, providing the ultimate in nondirectional surround sound. Lasers and lights could be flashed throughout the body, providing colorful stimuli in the darkness. Pink Floyd would never be the same again.

  21. dinofizz says:

    hacker space!

    rip out the seats and set up long bench tops running down the sides of the plane. this way hackers can gaze out of the windows.

    keep the mini kitchen and bathroom as is, perfect for making coffee and snacks and then ‘expelling’ them later.


  22. tantalum says:

    Easy: I’d fill it with snakes.

    Seriously. It’s likely already out in the desert, so tow it off into some foothills and start the rattlesnake ranch I’ve always wanted.

    Part of the fuselage would have to be underground, or heavily shaded, so as to provide some sort of temperature stability in such an environment (think: “Insta-Cave”). Use the wings for shade canopies around the exterior of the plane, and set up some solar powered ventilation systems to keep things from getting stale during the day.

    Or just tow it to burning man and let all the “artists” tear it apart in a drug induced stupor. That would like totally make a social/political/personal statement, dude.

  23. DrNick says:

    I’d turn it into a store or an arcade. I know of a little shop that uses an old train car but a 747…whoo! The best part would be the exit slide.

  24. SiaL says:

    Ok, what about (after quite a few modifications) we turned it into the longest limousine. Be forewarned, it takes very wide turns.

  25. Ahnuld says:

    I’m the Cubmaster for my son’s Pack. One thing we ALWAYS need is space. Our “stuff” is always being moved around without us knowing where it is. We have our meetings cancelled because there are other needs for the Gym, or facility, where we are having our meetings.

    I’d love to do something really bizzare and arcane with a fusalage, but alas, I’m too practical. (My dad was an engineer, I’m not, so I’ll blame him ;)). If I’m going to make something, I want it to be as useful for as many different purposes as possible.

    I would take the plane, chop the wings and tail off, plumb and power the bathrooms and “kitchen”; clear the majority of the seats out and use whats left as the coolest Youth Center that has been seen. That is, something usable by Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, drama clubs, whatever. The luggage/cargo area can be used for storage of whatever equipment the groups use. The cleared area in the fusalage can be used for work shop space, meetings, presentations, whatever. The cockpit would need to be left on for use as the control center for whatever lighting/sound/computer needs are required for the facility.

    I think it would be a really cool place for kids of all ages to hang out.

  26. Aud1073cH says:

    I’d also turn it into a house – but who wants to live in a boring airplane? We’ve all seen a plane before. Ken London already made a houseboat/yacht from Howard Hughes’ Boeing 307 Stratoliner, so that idea is out.

    I would use the 747 to build a full size Firefly, (as in the TV show, and the film Serenity)
    here’s a photo on wikipedia, and more about the ship. After seeing the series and the film Serenity, I fell in love with the design. It would be built as a mobile home, so I could move as I like, and bring it to Maker Faire and Burning Man.
    It would probably try to get a 747 LCF (known as the Dreamlifter, or “pickle”) for the larger diameter fuselage to start from, and to have more material.

    And really, what sci-fi loving boy wouldn’t love to live in a real spaceship? (individual versions of reality may vary)

  27. deadfish says:

    Turn it into a shop.

    Specifically a model plane shop.

    Oh, and using the tail as a screen to project movies onto at night would be pretty cool too.

  28. Stokes says:

    My subterranean lair!

    Its tubular shape lends it strength, so it should stand up well to being buried. It has hefty ventilation, which would be less important above ground but be crucial beneath it.

    One of the wings might be salvaged as a biodiesel tank, probably installed aboveground to make maintenance easier — I wouldn’t want fuel, even biodiesel, leaking into my groundwater. The horizontal tail surfaces (and/or, possibly, the wing-tips) could be reused as blades of a hefty wind generator.

    Various instrumentation and the hydraulics would, of course, be used to construct the first of an army of killer robots. Everyone living in a subterranean fortress needs an army of killbots; it’s the law. The Mad Science Requisites Act of 1977 decreed that orbital death rays are also acceptable as an alternative to killbots, but not much in the plane lends itself to those ends.

  29. impeachgod says:

    Some of my ideas:

    Think of the enormous quantity of scrap metal and plastic! Cut up, cleverly arranged and painted, it could serve as an awesome post-apocalyptic terrain for paintball or laser tag.

    Remove the tail and wings, put it vertically cockpit up, and make a mini-skyscraper!

    You know those vertical drop games often found in amusement parks? Now they can have a new theme: “Crashing jet!” (A Boeing’s probably too heavy to mount though).

  30. unununium says:

    OH A BOEING 747… um the pilots license may be a bit far off (due to the fact I can’t even trust myself with flying an airplane) so Id turn it into either:
    1 A home… so It’s been done, but hey who wouldn’t want to live in an airplane.
    2 I’d cut out some holes, childproof everything, eject the slides, and turn it into a playground. Because “its no lie that children like to fly”- no idea who said that just came up with it while typing this post.
    And of course there’s are also some other ideas I’ll probably think of after I post this. But hey the uses of a used 747 are endless.

  31. unununium says:

    OH A BOEING 747… um the pilots license may be a bit far off (due to the fact I can’t even trust myself with flying an airplane) so Id turn it into either:
    1 A home… so It’s been done, but hey who wouldn’t want to live in an airplane.
    2 I’d cut out some holes, childproof everything, eject the slides, and turn it into a playground. Because “its no lie that children like to fly”- no idea who said that just came up with it while typing this post.
    And of course there’s are also some other ideas I’ll probably think of after I post this. But hey the uses of a used 747 are endless.

  32. The_Ritalin_Kid says:

    I would create a mobile, modular luxury hotel. With the built in ability to withstand extremes of temperature and environment, combined with massive amounts of interior space, hotel modules could be built to be locked into place depending on the type of location it was to be sent to. Depending on the type of luxury you desire at the moment-Vegas glam and glitz, Old World style, or whatever currently tickled your fancy, modules could be placed according to your whim. Staff quarters could be placed out of sight, and but could everywhere yet unobtrusive using interlinked service tunnels.

    Using a heavy lifting airship, it could be moved and placed in environments normally unsuited to your average luxury hotel. See the wonders of the North Pole, and dance beneath the aurora borealis in the ballroom. Visit the heart of darkest Africa for the ultimate photo safari, while sleeping away in safety on your California king bed in the Joseph Conrad suite.

  33. ajd2 says:

    It would make an incredible weather vane mounted on a pole on the top of a hill.

    However, I would put to use as a GEV, ala the Ekranoplan. Outfit it with first class seats and use it as an island hopper in the Caribbean.

  34. buzzdennis says:

    Sould Plane.

  35. buzzdennis says:

    Excuse me. I meant: Soul Plane

  36. SWV1787 says:

    I would trim the airplane down to the size of a large automobile, leaving the cockpit intact. This would allow me to make a large R.V. apart from the likening to travel I would find this to be a great sight for those who look into their rear view mirrors.

  37. TheMountain says:

    How about you take the wings off, drop it down closer to the ground, fill the cargo bay with batteries and make it a high passenger-volume electric interstate bus.

  38. rwo says:

    I think the cockpit would make a fun playhouse for the kids. They could pretend to fly places.

    The rest could be used for storage. I’d probably bury it so I wouldn’t get hit with a zoning violation.

    It could make an interesting (shallow water) underwater hotel, but I don’t live near bodies of water clear enough to be worth doing that, and I don’t fancy myself ever being a hotelier.

  39. thenickboy says:

    I’d bury it underground and keep it as a bomb shelter.

    There probably won’t be any risk for bombs, nor would I want to live after a nuclear war killed off everything I know and love, but it would be really cool to live underground.

    Either that or turn it into a submarine and cruise around underwater – I’d have to do some serious calculations (with my new Pocket Ref book) to help determine the pressure that it could handle (or if it could handle it)

  40. kl0an says:

    I would hook up a giant helicopter and fly it over an island in the Pacific and then have it look like it’s breaking up in flight and then have parts fall on an island with Polar bears and…. hunh?? What do you mean that’s been done?? Dang it..

    OK,well, I would donate it to an airport for a fire training exercise. Making sure to film the whole thing as it’s melts to the ground..

  41. JM.EE01 says:

    I once saw a special regarding a gent who built his very own semi-submersible amphibious vehicle out of an old tanker trunk; he eventually sailed the contraption through the Panama Canal.
    Imagine how much fun you could have doing a similar project with a 747? Only with a giant shark theme centered around a scuba diving vacation. The entire vessel would support all scuba diving necessities as well as basic (or luxury) hotel accomodations at sea. A modified cruise ship for those wanting a unique experience. There’s event the option to use it for research.

    “The Design”
    1. Stub the wings for roll stability
    2. Relocate the vertical stabilizer forward (over wing stubs) to mimic a sharks dorsal fin.
    3. Main cabin to be split between staterooms, galley, recreational spaces, scuba diving support.
    4. If a Cargo version is used, you could even include a wet-bay for launching smaller vessels (ski boats, jet skis, small submersibles).

  42. cspanx says:

    The ideal use for it would be to remove the wings and park it on an unused piece of property donated by the city for homeless housing. Such a unit could be outfited with 45-100 bunk beds and offer a humane place to sleep through the cold season to those who have not. I would probably start with my hometown Sacramento, who has a seasonally overbooked loaves and fishes facility on the edge of town. The airplains are Ideal because of the length and height without the additional width needed for a standard building.

  43. rich.thomas says:

    I’d park it in my yard and go on and off it many times a day without taking off my shoes, getting rid of my toothpaste or liquids and gels more than 3oz, putting the tray tables and seatbacks in their upright and locked positions, use my cell phone and other electronic devices, I’d hang out by the forward heads, and not say “Buhbye” when I got off. If I smoked I would smoke on it too.

  44. code71b@yahoo.com says:

    Take it where needed most for an Outdoor Classroom for the handicapped. That’s gotta be one hell of a rush for those kids every day.

  45. DaveBarak says:

    Has a winner been announced yet? I haven’t found anything about it.

  46. mrcrumley says:

    I’d send it back in time to about 1000 years before the Wright brothers flew. Then, finding a Samurai sword with metal folded over 200 times would seem less impressive by comparison.

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

current: @adafruit - previous: MAKE, popular science, hackaday, engadget, fallon, braincraft ... howtoons, 2600...

View more articles by Phillip Torrone


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).