A plane from the Greek airline Olympic Airways, which since 2012 has sat in a forest in Oregon, has a surprisingly glamorous history.
Retired engineer Bruce Campbell, who had the vision to save decommissioned aircraft from becoming scrap metal by reusing them, purchased the plane in 2009.
He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy it and tow it to the ten acres of forest land he owns in order to turn it into a home.
“My goal is to change humanity’s behavior in this little niche,” Campbell once said.
After a great deal of hard work, Campbell finally managed to make his dream of living in a decommissioned airplane come true.
He seems to have little regard for what others may consider to be essential creature comforts. He sleeps on a sofa, and it is only rolled out to its full width when he’s entertaining company.
Campbell stockpiles two months’ worth of canned foods and goods at a time and bathes in a shower he created by rolling a sheet of PVC into a four-foot-high cylinder.
“I would never live in a conventional home. No chance. If Scotty beamed me to inner Mongolia, erased my fingerprints and forced me to live in a conventional structure, I’d do what I have to do to survive – but otherwise, it’s a jetliner for me anytime,” he told CNN recently.
Campbell frequently gets visitors and even offers lodging in the aircraft free of charge, while in the summer he hosts larger public events with funfair attractions:
“Artists perform on the right wing, guests dance in front or behind the wing in the forest, which for the big concerts becomes filled with all sorts of recreational venues. They’re not Disneyland class – just portable booths with different curiosities and little recreations, but they’re fun,” he told CNN.
The history of the Olympic Airways plane in the forests of Oregon
However, the retired engineer bought more than he realized in this old 727 jet. He didn’t learn until much later that his new home had quite a history.
Campbell compared the registration number of his 727 airplane to images he found online and it was a match. This was indeed the airplane that transported Onassis’ coffin to Greece after he died in France.
Olympic Airlines, which was named Olympic Airways for at least four decades, was the flagship airline of the Greek nation.
Onassis bought the Greek state airline (then called T.A.E.) in July of 1956, renaming it “Olympic Airways” the next year and making it one of the most reliable and luxurious air carriers of the time. From the beginning, his vision was to make the airline one of the most modern in the world.
On September 29, 2009, Olympic Airlines ceased all operations and most flights. “Olympic Air” is the new airline formed from the privatization which occurred at that time.
It is noteworthy that this aircraft with such an interesting past has not been scrapped, melted down, reused, and forever lost.
The fact that this once luxurious airplane, which transported such an illustrious personage that was so important to Greece, still exists somewhere in the world is remarkable.
This is so even if it does sit in the middle of a forest in Oregon and is used as a home.