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Instead of Recycling Vintage Airliners, Why Not Turn Them Into RVs?
According to the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), anywhere between 400 to 500 cargo and passenger airplanes are recycled annually in America. Of all those giant airliners, little Cessnas, and everything in between that goes to be scrapped, 80 to 90% of its materials are entirely re-useable.

Instead of Recycling Vintage Airliners, Why Not Turn Them Into RVs?

The Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziThe Andromeda motorhome is a road-legal airplane conversion, comes with a secret jacuzziJo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Jo Ann Ussery turned a decommissioned Boeing 727 into her home, the "Little Trump"Project Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritProject Freedom is an airplane compound consisting of MD-80 Freedom and DC-9 SpiritAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner CamperAirliner Camper
There are plenty of good intentions and science behind the process of recycling airplanes and using their raw materials for other industrial uses. But it's not like this process isn't energy intensive in itself. Especially when it comes to iconic classic airplanes of history lying left to rot, there are better ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle than selling them for scrap and turning them into shoddy kitchen appliances.

In our search to find the most remarkable and most unique camper conversions in the world, we've come across everything from converted box trucks to school buses to old rail cars turned into semi-mobile homes away from home. As great as those are, there's something incredibly compelling about applying the same magic to an old airliner. It's not like there aren't plenty of old planes ripe for the picking for such a project.

Boeing 707s, Douglas DC-9s and DC-10s, Convair CV-240s, Lockheed Electras, and all different manner of disused airliners sit in long-term storage in boneyards, scrap yards, and airports across America. As many as 4,000 disused airplanes, many of them sizeable enough to be turned into livable campers, are found in one famous airplane boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Boneyard in Tucson, Arizona.

So imagine how many airplanes are out there just waiting to be turned into something useful again. In the U.S. states of California, New Mexico, and Arizona alone, as many as seven different military surplus boneyards, airliner storage depots, and disassembly facilities are presently full of planes waiting to be returned to service, cannibalized for their spare parts, or be completely torn apart and recycled.

The point being is this, a good many of these airliners and military cargo transports are more likely than not never going to fly again. If that's the case, why expend the energy needed to recycle them when we could turn them into affordable mobile housing without such a huge carbon footprint?

In some cases, especially with some of McDonnel Douglass's later airliners with less than stellar safety records, one could argue they would be safer as some aviation-themed camper trailer than it was as a legitimate airliner. Another plus is that full-sized commuter airliners have space inside the fuselage for two to three tows of seating on either side of the center aisle, depending on the particular model.

One can only guess as to what this translates to in square feet or other metrics more at home in a rental property office than an airline pilot. Based on what little we can find, the average Boeing 737-700's cabin is roughly 900 square feet (83.6 sqm) in area.

Safe to say, the fuselage of your average twin-jet airliner is more spacious than most apartments and maybe even some tiny homes. Once you've acquired your airliner fuselage, there are a number of different routes to turn it into your own homemade RV. You could mount it on the chassis of a motorhome, as we saw from one San Fransisco Craigslist seller and his Convair CV-240 conversion last year.

Alternatively, you can mount it on top of a fully functioning delivery truck chassis. Like Air Force Retiree Gino Lucci from Round Engine Aero did to an old Douglas R4D-8 military transport airplane based on the famous DC-3 airliner. Or, there's a third option where you don't have the plane move at all. We've seen more than a couple of disused airplanes converted into tastefully furnished homes and Airbnbs in our time scouring the Internet.

Of course, not any old civilian is going to have the skills, equipment, or any mechanical inclination to pull off such an ambitious project. But if you aren't aware, the camper conversion craze is an exploding trend. There's a slowly emerging community of DIY gurus on places like Reddit and YouTube who show the world exactly what goes into every aspect of the process that goes into turning regular vehicles into a long-term livable home sweet home on the move.

With enough passion and money, anything is possible. It also helps to know your way around a welder and a torque wrench. But even aside from an enthusiast's drive to see more cool camper conversions made for their own amusement, converting old air, rail, or road vehicles into camper homes could go a long way toward solving a global housing crisis that's only growing larger as the world grows in population.

It may, in the end, be possible to give every man, woman, and child a place to call home if we learn how to make use of stuff that usually sits around doing nothing but taking up space. Just imagine an entire trailer park full of converted airliners. Now that sounds a heck of a lot cooler than your average double wide.

Check back soon for more from RV Month here on autoevolution.

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