Hearth in the fuselage, decks on the wings

"This old house" just took a new turn - this old plane.

MaxPower Aerospace, a Smyrna, Tenn.,-based corporation, is building homes out of the bodies of discarded airplanes.

Patented as a Wind Resistant Dwelling, home sweet home can now be a full-bodied Boeing 727 on top of a steel column. After the B-727 is fastened to a giant ball bearing, and water, sewer, and electricity are connected, the airplane-home is free to act like a weather vane.

MaxPower Aerospace buys old planes, removes and sells the engine and parts, and hangs onto the airframe.

"Normally," says company president Thomas Bennington, "what you would do with them is reclaim the metal, so you wind up cutting up airplanes and getting all the aluminum. But they are made too well to scrap."

His staff of entrepreneurs with airline and engineering backgrounds have worked with the B-727 for the majority of their professional careers. Mr. Bennington himself flew for 20 years before going into airline administration.

The aircraft homes are 153 feet from nose to tail - with 1,200 square feet inside - and will rotate inside a one-acre lot. Both wings are converted into outside decks with handrails. Sitting on a steel column, the home provides safety from floods. During hurricanes, it smoothly rotates to stay pointed into the wind.

A finished airplane can be delivered for a little more than $200,000.

"These aircraft homes do not belong next to your white picket place," Bennington cautions.

Bennington says they are in the final stages of negotiating their first sale. A radio station in Nashville, Tenn., 102.5 F.M., wants to place one above its station to host live Webcasts. But a spokesman for the station says they're still investigating the idea.

Asked if this could just be a fad in home design, Bennington points out that fads have a short life span, but airplanes are built strong and secure, outlasting fads. Some of the planes are 30 years old, he says, but they won't rot, can't be eaten by bugs, won't rust because they're largely aluminum, and in another 30 years they will be in the same condition.

"I think that once people start living in them, it will catch on," he says. "It is just nice pointing into the wind and nice that the whole airplane turns. It makes every day different."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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