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The Vision and Rationale

Why a Boeing 747-400 Home Makes Sense to Both the Mind and the Heart.   Minor updates 22 July 2020

Provincial homes can be quite nice.  But they simply can't match the sheer exhilaration and existential thrill of a gorgeous shimmering sleek aerospace class castle.  Many people understand this deep in their hearts or envision it easily.  But it'll become especially clear when a well executed example of a fully intact and functional (except thrust) 747-400 home becomes available and open for tours and social events.  And in my estimation such an example will spark a renaissance of thought about how to utilize this remarkable resource and thus likely lead to numerous additional superb airplane home projects.

Humanity's current challenges are to devise efficient means and methods to economically site essentially complete retired jetliners as homes, and efficiently execute a model project which clearly illustrates the intrinsic appeal provided by a home rendered from a fully intact and functional modern jetliner (except sans engines).  This example home is urgently needed to provide a compelling illustration which can be easily emulated.  My dream is to accomplish this with the Airplane Home v2.0 project using a Boeing 747-400, hopefully starting in earnest in early 2021 if funding can be secured.

I also hope to execute this or subsequent projects on or near the shores of Kyushu where it'll serve not only as a private home but perhaps also a crucial tsunami lifeboat for the local community.  Perhaps later many such home / lifeboat projects will follow in many tsunami hazard areas in Nippon.

The concept of a jetliner as a lifeboat is unusual but sound.  It's difficult to perceive because we naturally associate aircraft as objects which sink rather quickly.  But intact jetliner cabins are sealed pressure canisters and, sans fuel, their fuel tanks (primarily the wings) are especially well sealed and durable flotation canisters.  Both provide a great deal of buoyancy.  Jetliners which impact water in accidents usually suffer high impact force damage which breaches the fuselage, so water flows inside and they sink.  (And sometimes they contain partial fuel loads, and thus the wings are less buoyant even if they survive impact mostly intact.)

But fully intact static jetliners, particularly if modestly pressurized and equipped with water pump adjuncts, and especially when the fuel tanks are dry and thoroughly sealed, should float indefinitely unless badly damaged by massive, sharp, and swiftly moving waterborne debris (however, floating debris seem less likely to puncture the fuel tanks due to their strength and geometry relative to debris flows).  With proper tethering which allows vertical rise and flexibility but not substantial horizontal drift they should perform as reliable lifeboats.  Placed along Nippon shores one can imagine a perspective from space of Nippon itself as an enormous ship, and the numerous aircraft on its shores as the ship's lifeboats.  It's a compelling vision because it's likely a sound concept.

About three jetliners retire from active service every day in normal times.  If many are placed on Nippon shores they could save numerous lives over time.  They certainly can't eliminate all tsunami tragedies.  But they could provide an effective and reliable escape option for many people who live or work in nearby shoreline areas and are thus especially vulnerable.  And this can be accomplished economically using a readily available resource which, currently, is usually just discarded as if garbage.  Mottainai...  Potentially life wasting mottainai...  So I believe the tsunami lifeboat benefit should be carefully considered as the overall merits of this project are judged.

Bruce Campbell

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