New Life for Old Airplanes: The Coolest Uses for Retired Airplanes

Have you ever wondered what happens to old airplanes after they’ve made their last trip? Aside from being taken apart and used for scrap metal or being left to rust in the middle of nowhere, they’re often repurposed as hotels, restaurants, and even homes.

They’re definitely a sight to be seen, as they add a bit of wonder to an otherwise ordinary place. Let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy repurposed airplanes.

Hotel Costa Verde Made from a Boeing 727 in Costa Rica

Hotel Costa Verde is a luxury resort in Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park made from the remains of a Boeing 727. When you first see it, you might assume you’ve stumbled upon a crash site – but it’s actually a hotel.

The Boeing 727 serves as the lodgings, while other parts of the hotel are made from other airplanes, including an Aeropostale aircraft.

Home Made From a Boeing 727 in Oregon

Retired electrical engineer Bruce Campbell is best known for turning a Boeing 727 into a home in the suburbs of Portland. He reportedly spends six months of every year living in the 727.

Rather than tearing out all the equipment, he uses some of it to make his rooms. The cockpit doubles as a reading room and a movie theater. There’s even a shower and washing machine in the airplane.

Campbell spent over $200,000 dollars repurposing the plane.

Hotel Made From an Ilyushin II-18 in Teuge Airport, Netherlands

First made in 1957, the Ilyusin II-18 was a large airliner used by the Soviets. Its large size made it the perfect aircraft to use as a top-of-the-line hotel.

At Teuge Airport in the Netherlands, you can book a stay in one of these airplanes. It’s a single-suite equipped with a jacuzzi, air conditioning, mini bar, and even an infrared sauna.

While kind of over the top, staying here for a night is a definite bucket list activity.

Restaurant Made From an IL-18 in Abda, Hungary

The IL-18 flew between 1967 and 1989. In 1990, this cargo plane landed in Abda, Hungary, and never left. It was made into a 180-seat restaurant and stayed open for 10 years. In 2008, it was reopened for one night and used as a nightclub.

The aircraft would later be removed from the building.

House Made From a C-47 in Chile

On January 19, 1974, a C-47 made a crash landing in Chile. Weeks after the crash, Air Service Search and Rescue located the wings, but not the fuselage. Everyone survived, thankfully.

Today, the fuselage has been turned into a home by a group of peasants. It was located by a friend of one of the survivors, who took pictures and reported back.

There’s now even a chimney installed, which is pretty extraordinary.

Modernist House Made from a Boeing 747 in Malibu

In what might be the greatest airplane repurposing job, a decommissioned Boeing 747 was turned into a modernist home in Malibu by David Herts Architects. The roof, which appears to be floating, is made out of the plane’s wings, giving the home a curved appearance. They’ve used the entire plane to not only build the main house but to build guest houses and even a barn.

The Wing House is truly extraordinary. It uses solar power as well as natural ventilation.

Hotel Made From a Bristol Freighter in Waitomo, New Zealand

The Bristol Freighter was a twin-engine British aircraft developed around World War II to transport cargo. However, it the plane wasn’t finished in time for military use, so it was mostly commercial aircraft.

Waitomo, New Zealand’s Woodlyn Park is home to a hotel made from one of the last of these cargo planes. It’s separated into two separate units: one in the cockpit and the other in the tail.

Jumbo Hostel Made from a Boeing 747 in Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport

In Stockholm, Sweden, you could stay the night in a Boeing 747 at Arlanda Airport. Opened in 2008, it’s now a hostel.

The hostel has 27 rooms, each with three beds, as well as a “cockpit suite” on the upper deck. Aside from the lodgings, there’s a café for guests to purchase breakfast and simple meals.

Runway 34, a Restaurant Made from an Ilyushin IL-14 in Zurich

In 2002, Reto Seipel set out to find an airplane to house his restaurant. However, he never expected it would become one of the best aviation-themed restaurants in the world.

Runway 34 uses real flight attendants and sits in an actual hangar near the Zurich airport. It goes well beyond being an airplane – it’s an entire experience. / Shutterstock



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