Frequently Asked Questions (and an extension to my Project Guide)
This is a key question which I feel must be considered over a broad spectrum and in some detail to address well. So for those genuinely interested in an airliner home I offer the following rather lengthy prattle drawn from my personal experiences. (Also a custom fabricated transport assembly is available as noted in the last paragraph in this section.):
I paid $100K for my aircraft, but that was in 1999. The costs of staging site rent, wing and tail removal, moving, and other logistics totaled very roughly another $120K. So the total cost of my project thus far is very roughly $220K.
My logistics costs allocated roughly as follows:
$17K to move my aircraft from the airport across a road to the staging site next door.
$20K for staging site rent (about 4 months).
$21.6K to remove the wings and tail.
$25K to move it to my home site.
$20K in ancillary and miscellaneous costs.
But very roughly 30% of those costs were mud and weather delay costs - the price of executing the project in Oregon during a La Nina winter. And another very roughly 20% were learning curve costs - the price of choosing inappropriate vendors in some cases and inefficient methods in some cases. One of the few logistics costs which was superbly handled was the move from the staging site to my property - I found a wonderful pair of vendors and they executed the move immaculately and with truly excellent cost control. If you get good advice from those of us who've been down this road, execute your project during the summer or in a dry climate, find excellent support vendors, can retain an inexpensive staging site for wing and tail removal, and, if a salvage company is involved, arrange removal of their items on your home site, you could reduce the logistics costs to a far, far lower level.
My costs were simply never representative of a well executed, efficient, and almost waste free project - I substantially mismanaged many aspects of my project. My long distance movers and initial reconstruction vendors, Wayne Grippin Construction & House Moving and Swanson Trucking, were absolutely top notch in skill, efficiency, economy, and the most affable coordination and logistics partners one could hope for - they were aces. But I served as a pigeon for some other vendors with minimal if any admirable qualities. And everything's changed since then anyway - irrespective of the style of airliner home you seek or your skill and luck with support vendors costs today will be different. And a broad spectrum of execution styles and costs exists as well.
The bottom line: You might be able to create a Boeing 727-200 or similar home, perhaps entirely intact except engines, for about $100K if everything's very well managed and executed. Maybe about $50K if everything's exceptionally well managed. And a substantially salvaged bird project could be executed for much less. But have cash reserves - you dare not cut it too close and get caught in a financial bind that necessitates abandonment.
Exploring the minimum cost side further, a basic fuselage stripped of any components of value to the aviation industry could be acquired for very roughly $15K or perhaps much less depending upon the model and size of the aircraft, scrap metal prices, their transport costs, labor costs, and secondary factors. And a basic fuselage still provides the fundamental attributes needed to make an aerospace quality home if the salvage company which strips the aircraft isn't brutal and thoughtless with their work and you're reasonably adept at re-rendering areas which are stripped down to a skeleton level such as the flight deck, equipment bays, galleys, and numerous other smaller areas. For this maximum economy approach you might elect to forfeit the wings and tail too. I recommend keeping the basic landing gear to serve as your home's support and earthquake immunity system even though the salvage company will probably strip everything of value around the landing gear. (This is why that's a critical concern where I live.) More detail about that and similar considerations follows below (starting with "If your aim is to..."), but first an important diversion:
Even if you're on a tight budget you may not need to settle for a bare stripped fuselage. Some aircraft models such as the wide body L-1011 reached the end of their era many years ago so the value of their components is modest and possibly dropping to near scrap metal value. The 727 shares many components with 737s, 747s, and perhaps others so 727 replacement parts might have some value. But my guess is that they're of modest value now - the 727 is now such an old aircraft that in my estimation there's little value to their components. Some of the quite narrow but long and attractive MD-80 and MD-90 series might still be flying but most are likely retired and as with the L-1011 the model series ended long ago, so I suspect they can be acquired essentially intact for a quite low price. There are probably other aircraft models for which components are of little value and thus can be acquired fully intact and airworthy at a pretty low cost too.
In my personal opinion you're far better off acquiring an older airliner which you can purchase in fully intact condition than acquiring a newer airliner which must be stripped of components to reduce its acquisition cost to an affordable level. You can acquire a pretty cheap aircraft. But I suggest you consider numerous aircraft options carefully and patiently before making a final decision. And if you're considering a stripped aircraft be certain to examine one which has already been stripped before committing any of your money - you might be surprised and dismayed with the condition of a stripped aircraft - the decimation can leave them in stunningly ugly condition, like a mere sad skeleton bereft of all of its former glory and magic, essentially resembling a large piece of scrap metal. And you'll have to spend more money converting a stripped aircraft into a home than an intact aircraft because almost all of the life support infrastructure is typically removed during salvage work.
I'm not up to date on this state of affairs, but it's possible that airliners are being retired at such a pace now that the value of their components is dropping substantially. My timing wasn't great but yours might prove to be. Invest in patient and extensive shopping - you might locate a very nice fully operational bird for a very low price. Bear in mind that ramp space is an ongoing expense and a limited resource for whomever owns the aircraft. They might need the room for incoming aircraft and thus be very eager to dispose of what they already have. If you shop extensively, vigorously, and patiently you might become the proud owner of a terrific bird for a relative pittance - your investment in shopping time and effort could pay off enormously in the form of a beautiful yet very low priced bird which will make your home conversion work very easy and your results very impressive and compelling. Your investment of shopping time and energy could ultimately save you an immense amount of time, money, and work overall and render you immensely happy with and proud of your final results.
But if you thoroughly scour the landscape for a great deal on a dirt cheap airliner but can find no reasonably intact aircraft within your budget you might need to consider a salvaged aircraft as your only remaining option. But if so know what you're purchasing before committing any of your money. Here's a trap which could prove devastating: You and a salvage company agree to your purchase of an intact aircraft which they will salvage before you take possession. You agree on a contract specifying what components can be removed and what can't and what damage is allowable and what isn't. You have an image in your mind of what the aircraft will be like when you take possession. You either prepay or you contractually promise to pay when their salvage work is complete. But when their work is complete, or even just partially so, you're shocked by the level of damage to your aircraft. Your heart is broken. But they claim they're in full compliance with the contract, explaining that such and such clause is open to broad legal interpretation or that they reasonably traded such and such a responsibility for a substitute alternative advantage on your behalf, or that certain damage preexisted or was caused by a third party and thus not their responsibility, or any of a broad array of excuses and rhetorical maneuvering. And upon perceiving your hesitation to proceed they suddenly become extremely rude bullies, essentially threatening to mercilessly bankrupt you with harsh and very expensive immediate legal action. Your dream project suddenly turns into a nightmare with no reasonable means of escape. You're devastated... If you could afford to retain an attorney you could engage in a potentially extended expensive legal battle which includes risks of responsibility for ongoing expenses such as storage space and security for the aircraft. Or you could accept the merciless damage to your dream, a devastating personal setback for you, and just try to move on.
I recommend that you fully protect yourself from this possibility. If you must purchase a salvaged aircraft make zero commitment to the purchase until after the salvage work is complete so none of your money is at risk until you know exactly what you're purchasing, no matter how sincere and convincing the salvage company's representatives may seem nor what arguments they may present as to why it's necessary for you to commit your precious money before any work begins, or before it's entirely complete. Beware - there are merciless forces in the salvage business. And very friendly business partners might suddenly, shockingly, turn into monster class bullies. Some business people are essentially (or literally) sociopaths who don't reveal their dark side until they've successfully cornered you in an untenable position. Beware. If you're very smart and thoroughly cautious you can execute a very cool and ultimately very impressive project at a rock bottom price starting with a salvaged aircraft. It has been done (see for example http://CostaVerde.com/727.htm). But be very bloody careful - protect yourself thoroughly...
But of course not all salvage firms nor their staff are unsavory - many are honest, honorable, and hard working people who make a genuine effort to nurture mutually beneficial relationships which please everyone. Perhaps most are - frankly I don't know what the ratio might be. If you're a terrific and quick character study you might be able to discern a trustworthy partner rapidly and proceed sans any significant troubles. There's nothing more efficient than a reliably trustworthy relationship, and they do exist. Find one if you can.
My 727 project involved a salvage company. But my financial position, ambitions, and personal experience are now substantially different than they were in 1999. I have no further interest in an airliner home project which involves removal of any components other than the engines. Not because I think all salvage is conducted by dishonest crooks - some and perhaps most are honest, constructive, and exploratory minded firms with mature partnership skills. (But even if I were convinced of a firm's integrity I'd still protect myself as thoroughly as practical at all times.) At this point in my life they're simply not relevant unless acting only as a broker of an intact aircraft. My feeling is that salvage of aircraft is in large measure just a mirage of economic efficiency. Aircraft are originally built with nearly everything required to be flying homes. I can appreciate that some flight support systems aren't strictly necessary for ground based homes, but as a practical matter attempting to parse which components are entirely superfluous to an airliner home and which aren't is futile. In my view the wise way to draw that line is to retain everything other than engines which still have significant remaining service life and extraneous rows of seats. Retain everything else, including the APU - everything.
But what if I misperceive in some measure - what if I'm just plain wrong about that? I probably am in at least some special cases - there are probably some specific situations in which some middle ground is most economically rational. But my personal opinion is that such situations are rare. And I advise a high degree of skepticism with provincial views from the salvage industry. But if you decide to pursue a middle ground approach:
Before you begin to negotiate with a salvage firm decide upon your general appearance and functionality targets. For example decide whether you want your aircraft to retain an intact outer appearance (except with empty engine compartments) as I did with my 727 project. And consider what functionality you wish to remain intact, such as water plumbing and tank, lavatories and all their plumbing, galleys and all their plumbing, the climate control infrastructure, lighting systems and their wiring, electrical support components and controls, including both interior and exterior, retention of the integrity of the pressure canister, and retention of the integrity of all wiring infrastructure, meaning equipment must be removed by disconnecting the native connectors, leaving the aircraft connector in your bird rather than cutting the wiring harness so that the salvage firm retains both mating connectors with the removed component but leaves you with cur wires which prevent later restoration and are electrical system short hazards. And so on - the point is that you must establish a clear and rigorous understanding with the salvage firm that preservation of a specific list of systems and structure must be honored thoroughly and respectfully whether they perceive wisdom in your home vision or not. Clear communication and rigorous personal monitoring is necessary to prevent gratuitous damage to your bird. Remain mindful that salvage firms work for very slim margins and must minimize expenses, so their usual practice is to save time by quickly and violently cutting and sawing in the course of acquiring something which might have value - they have no time to be kind to structure which is destined for scrap metal bins anyway. You must insure that they salvage with an entirely different mindset when they remove components from your bird. So you must establish a perfectly clear understanding in writing before any work begins, and then you must monitor their work with tenacity.
You'll have to pay for their extra time of course. But the extra time required should be modest - most of the extra cost should account to the value of the components you retain, which could range from modest to more substantial. But don't let the salvage firm try to convince you that a toilet seat is worth $5 K - nor many other components with esoteric sounding names. Many do have value, but not all. And they are all in used condition and often near the end of their certificated life. So don't let a slick salesman convince you that something's worth a ton of money because he refers to it as a warp drive plasma injector or similar. And remember that even if it sounds and looks impressive, if it's near the end of its service life it's essentially just scrap metal.
In addition, eventually new technologies render all previous components of only scrap metal value. And on rare occasions aircraft are retired with missing logs, rendering all their components of only scrap value. So removing components from your bird sans any damage allows restoration of the component at a later date for a pittance. You or an heir might want to restore some or even most functionality later. So don't allow the salvage firm to rip or tear, habit or rationalization notwithstanding. Insure that they treat your bird with respect, and hold them to it as a watchful hovering ramp hawk.
If your aim is to execute a project near the very bottom of the cost range consider these specific elements: Sometimes the landing gear are expensive and aren't absolutely required, but they are wonderful as earthquake damage prevention elements. (This is why that's a critical concern where I live.) And if your home site is generally flat it might be cheaper to retain the landing gear than to fabricate an alternate support system. I suggest shopping with tenacity for a bird with affordable landing gear before sacrificing them. The doors and emergency exits are usually of minimal salvage value, but if you gauge them as an unnecessary expense they could be reproduced well and cheaply with fiberglass - a hot tub fabricator with slow sales could do this (perhaps boneyard doors and exits could be used as the originals to make the molds). Or you could use polycarbonate (plexiglass) panels to transform these openings into appealing windows. (On the Boeing 727, you'd still have the built in rear air stairs for access.) If you're willing to sacrifice an intact exterior appearance you could also eliminate the wings and thus their flight control surfaces. But if so you'd have to decide whether to retain enough of the wings to preserve the landing gear - whether to remove the wings directly at the fuselage, and thus sacrifice the landing gear too, or cut them off just outside the apex of the landing gear related spars, thus preserving the landing gear and their support strength. The tail structure could be abandoned too, and if you must move your aircraft on public roads it will very likely have to be removed anyway, to be either sacrificed or reattached later.
By the way, if you create a home from a Boeing 727-200 and will need to transport your aircraft on public roads perhaps I can help in modest measure. I possess a custom fabricated steel beam assembly with mounting bolt holes specific to the 727-200 which provides a holding structure for house moving dollies with the aircraft's main landing gear retracted. It's the major accessory needed to provide a means for steerable house moving dollies to support the majority of the mass of the aircraft at minimal overall height during transport. If you anticipate a need for the assembly and it makes sense to transport it to your region please contact me - it's available.
My 727-200 cabin and flight deck provide 99 square meters (1,066 square feet) of exhilarating aerospace quality living area. (This figure was generated from precision CAD drawings.) There are also two large cargo holds and some equipment bays below the cabin deck. But I don't know what the floor space of those areas is. Their ceiling is low - ordinary adults can't stand erect in them (but children up to roughly age seven can). The cargo holds, electronics bay, water tank and climate control duct bay, and the lower deck areas forward of the electronics bay are enclosed within the pressure canister - they share the same airspace and thus stay clean, warm, and insect and rodent free. The cargo holds, electronics bay, water tank and climate control duct bay, and the area around the forward landing gear bay are accessible from the cabin via hatches. They're wonderful for kids rooms, infrastructure such as a water heater and rural well water pressure tanks, the interior section of a heat pump, and personal storage. There's substantial room inside the tail structure, wings, inside all three landing gear wheel wells, and the service bays forward and aft of the main landing gear wheel wells, though among these only the interior of the tail provides stand up room. I hope to eventually fabricate a small deck on the 'third floor' inside the tail, just behind the number two engine cowling, through which the view is compelling. It should be a terrific place for a rare epiphany or two or exploratory minded romance.
Want more room? Acquire a wide body aircraft. Evidently a Boeing 747-400 provides roughly 418 square meters (4,500 square feet) of exhilarating aerospace quality - it's an aerospace class castle. And that doesn't include the cargo holds, which provide just one centimeter less than fully erect height for me. I toured the cabins and flight deck of one with the seats out, awaiting destruction, and the roominess is absolutely remarkable. What a shame it was destroyed. But a wide body aircraft can't be transported on a public road so if it's to become a home special logistics are required. One possibility: Let's form a team, acquire a large tract of land in a very nice area in Tanegashima, near Christchurch, in Montana, Alaska, Arizona, or some other great place, put in a modest landing strip on one side that's just long enough to accommodate the wide bodies in empty configuration, fly them in, taxi them to their individual lots, posh them out, and sell them for very roughly $2 M each. Well executed, and based upon my personal experience in the empty 747, I'm convinced they'd move very readily at that price - and be a bargain. But I have other plans for my next personal bird.
The practical reasons: I don't mean to offend, but in my view wood is a terrible building material. It biodegrades - it's termite chow. And microbe (rot) chow. Or it's unintentional firewood. It just depends upon which happens first. It's a relatively weak material which is secured with low tech fasteners using low tech techniques. And traditional rectangular designs are inferior structurally - they unreasonably sacrifice strength for boxy ergonomics (geodesic structures solve this problem at least). Rectangular stick homes can't withstand severe winds nor severe earthquakes, they frequently kill people when they burst into flames, they're rather easily entered by burglars, they're leaky, and they degrade rapidly. On the positive side they're relatively economical to build (although geodesic homes are as well).
But retired airliners are profoundly well designed high technology aerospace quality sealed pressure canisters which can withstand 575 mph winds and seven G acceleration forces with ease, can last for centuries (with effective corrosion control), are extremely fire resistant, and provide superior security. They're among the finest structures mankind has ever built.
But when jetliners retire from service, currently at a rate of about three every day, they're frequently just reduced to scrap metal. To me it's wholly irrational to destroy the finest home sized structures available on this planet and then turn around and build homes out of materials which are fundamentally little more than assemblies of sticks rendered with ancient and inferior design and fabrication methods. In my view it ranks as among the most overt and egregious of mankind's blind spots. What the devil are we thinking...?
But what about the wisdom of the herd? 'Normal' counts for precious little, especially if you're on fire, feeling the walls tumble in upon you in a big earthquake, looking down the barrel of an intruder's gun, or wondering why the home you worked all your life to earn is rotting all around you. Consider this: When you enter an airliner don't you experience a sense of being wrapped in a much higher order of technology than in any other 'building' you encounter in everyday life? A feeling of strength, security, capability and ergonomics which eclipses all others, almost as if a home designed 50 years in the future? Imagine removal of all the clutter such as the seats, the overhead compartments, and all those pesky fellow passengers. What remains is an open ultra high technology home with none of the disadvantages of working airliners crammed with people. That's what this project is all about.
Consider all your options with as open a heart as you can muster, then select a path which makes the most sense to you personally. Ignore the provincially entrapped thoughts of the herd - don't follow the herd into a life of tedium or tragedy. Boldly forge your own path - one which seems to you to promise a better future irrespective of the aimless wanderings of the herd. The herd is inherently incapable of blazing new trails to our future. Only bold and independent minded explorers can do that. Ignore the herd...
Besides: It's a great toy. Trick doors, trick floors. Hatches here, latches there, clever gadgets everywhere. Cool interior lights, awesome exterior lights, sleek gleaming appearance, titanium ducts, Star Trek movies a Star Trek like setting. It's a constant exploratory adventure, ever entertaining, providing fundamental sustenance for an old technology nerd like me. Owning lots of little toys is great fun. Owning lots of little toys enclosed in a very big toy is nirvana.
No specific completion date exists, but rather I simply I work with an open ended perspective as vigorously as I can to advance the quality of my aircraft. In other words it will never be complete, but rather will be improved constantly for as long as I'm physically able and my life's priorities permit. Like you my time is eroded with ordinary mortal distractions, obligations, 'the tyranny of the immediate need' elements, and occasional personal indulgences.
And my Airplane Home v2.0 project is now a much higher priority. But due to current financial limitations I can't simply leverage cash to execute that project swiftly. So I continue to improve my 727 home energetically in part simply to enhance my living environment, but also to better support wing concert events and encourage more confidence in the potential of Airplane Home v2.0 both by direct Airplane Home v1.0 example (this project) and by connecting success with wing concerts, if sufficiently achieved, to ancillary Airplane Home v2.0 project benefits which will help enrich its local community.
I provide fresh media (images and movies) and progress commentary occasionally in my media pages under the "Media and Progress Notes:" index line on the AirplaneHome.com home page. So rather than duplicate such information here please refer to those pages. As of 18 April 2017 my latest notes are here.
However, here's a brief highlights summary of current agenda as of April 2017 for primarily exterior efforts:
Hopefully fabrication of two of the permanent landing gear support pillars will be completed in the summer of 2017 (the right gear pillar might be deferred since it's a much lower priority). These will likely be concrete pillars, likely with a spoke or star shaped cross section to conserve concrete rather than full bulk cylinders, and a concave top contour to allow aircraft wandering during an earthquake but also provide a gravity assisted tendency to return to center. A chain will be anchored in each of the pillars and attached through an anti-shock polymer buffer to the main struts with enough play to allow the gear to wander up to but not over the edge of the pillars in a severe earthquake
And hopefully my very ugly west storage van will be moved to the west border of my property where it'll be out of sight from my 727 home in about mid June 2017. All the loose material now near that van, in my forest near the south side of my right wing tip, will be moved out of sight adjacent to the west van's new location too.
My rural well pressure tank, currently located almost under the number three engine housing, will be retired soon, replaced with one or two new composite pressure tanks which will reside inside my aft cargo hold near its aft end.
My gasoline powered pressure washer, which currently resides atop my right wing, will be replaced with a 240 Vrms electric powered pressure washer which will reside within the right landing gear bay (where a 240 Vrms power receptacle and domestic water service are already installed), thus clearing the top of my right wing.
Completion of those tasks should render my aircraft and its environment far cleaner and tidier in appearance - the area should consist of my 727 home, some open grass area, Douglas Fir and a few Walnut trees, and precious little more. It should look quite elegant and make wing concerts much more appealing.
However, my 727 needs to be pressure washed again too, and I hope that will be completed in the early summer of 2017 as well.
Again please refer to my media pages under the "Media and Progress Notes:" index line on the AirplaneHome.com home page for much more complete and current progress and agenda information.
This question is addressed in a general manner under "Domestic conversion - the metamorphosis of a jetliner into a home:" in my Airplane Home Project Guide, so please review it first.
I use native 727 infrastructure wherever possible. I won't for example remove gorgeous custom contoured titanium air ducts with remarkably smooth welded seams and superb aerospace class connecting and mounting clamps - I harbor no inclination to replace them with rectangular tin conduits sealed with duct tape. It's best to utterly abandon common home construction methods wherever possible irrespective of any fond familiarity with provincial standards one might harbor. Boeing's design and fabrication is, to understate the matter, a whale of a class act and has my full rationally founded respect. So I retain it wherever possible, which is almost everywhere, generally limited only by new infrastructure additions or salvage damage to my aircraft.
I use native 727 water systems, including the gorgeous native titanium water tank. I also added PEX (polyethylene) water lines and plumbing components for my clothes washer, shower, domestic water heater, a multi-use sink, and exterior water service in the right landing gear bay, the right wing root area, and the right wing leading edge. I'll likely add more later too, such as for a fully enclosed type water to air heat exchanger intended to serve as a highly energy efficient climate control assist device (an initial stage is already connected in a temporary form) and other items.
The 727's water systems are implemented with highly reliable hydraulic connectors rather than ordinary home construction type plumbing connectors. Hydraulic connectors utilize a different thread pitch than domestic plumbing connectors but the two systems share many pipe diameter dimensions. So I purchased numerous new female hydraulic connectors to mate PEX pipes to the 727 water tank and other native plumbing infrastructure. They're readily available from hydraulic component vendors, but even though water evidently doesn't contact the female side of the connectors (it can't pass the copper compression ring) I acquired connectors composed of nontoxic materials which are safe for potable water, a modest challenge as material content for these connectors is often unspecified.
Water is connected to my aircraft from my private well via a native Boeing quarter turn ramp connector to the native water service port just forward of the left wing leading edge root, and similarly for the right and left aft lavatory toilets via the native service ports on the left side just forward of the aft pressure bulkhead. The fabrication is very easy and the results robust, elegant, wholly clean in appearance, leak free, and effortless to disconnect and reconnect. I utilized coiled or arched PEX pipes between my underground and stanchion riser PVC water distribution pipes and the Boeing ramp connectors. The coil or arch provides meters of slack in the area of the aircraft connection to insure stress and damage free severe earthquake performance. Open sided rings fabricated from PVC pipe keep the coil together but pop off very readily upon slight stress to allow unfurling during an earthquake. They'd then be reinstalled, a trivial task.
The Boeing ramp connectors appear to be designed for modestly larger common diameters than PEX pipes. But that can be leveraged as a substantial advantage. Here's a summary of the method I prefer:1. Lubricate the ribbed attachment shaft of the Boeing ramp connector, the inside of the end of the PEX pipe, and an expansion cone with nontoxic cooking oil or petroleum jelly.
The PEX pipe expands modestly as it's pushed onto the ribbed shaft of the Boeing connector, then tightens very firmly to the shaft as it tries to revert to its original diameter as it cools. The result is an exceptionally tight, elegant, reliable, and of course leak free connection. But I prefer to embellish it with the usual stainless steel PEX compression clamps as a redundancy.
This fabrication method requires a bit of initial experience development to discover an optimum level of PEX pipe softening and the means to push it onto a shaft without buckling the pipe. But once mastered it's very easy and the final structure is superbly clean in appearance and immensely reliable - the results are utterly pleasing. Soften only the length of the PEX which will mate with the attachment shaft so as to minimize the chance of buckling as the PEX pipe is pushed onto the shaft. Then refine your technique of pushing the PEX onto the attachment shaft with a circular or side to side angling motion. You'll soon discover the nuances which make the task very easy and the results exceptionally high in quality and extremely reliable.
Cone shaped objects can often be found in a kitchen or among common tools. Hand held tools sometimes have a tapered handle which can serve for example. A funnel, though usually less elongated than is optimum, might serve sufficiently.
Images of my service port connections (but before the right aft lavatory water service was connected) are here, starting with image number 178. (This one is nicely framed.)
The lavatory sewage connection port is used in native form as well with the usual quarter turn ramp connector. The attachment connector is mated to a flexible four inch drain pipe with intentional slack, which then connects to a four inch vertical ABS riser sewage pipe by means of a damage free polymer break-away coupling. The subsequent ABS pipe then routes, via normal gas traps and vents, to my septic tank. The four inch vertical vent pipes incorporate "T" covers as rain shields and top barrier grills to prevent animal entry.
In summary I connected flexible water and sewage pipes to my aircraft in the same manner as is done routinely at airport aircraft gates. It's child's play class easy, superbly elegant, and earthquake immune.
The forward lavatory's sewage and water service ports are located slightly aft of the flight deck on the right side, separate from the aft lavatory service ports. A stanchion and pipes connected to the forward service ports would be visually unappealing in the context of my aircraft's nose high position on slanted property, so normally I keep that service door closed and don't utilize the forward toilet. (The forward lavatory faucets and sink function normally though, discharging through the forward drain mast.) I possess the necessary extra set of ramp connectors and the service ports remain available of course and can be utilized, but I've not yet modified the forward toilet to flush with domestic water pressure as I have the two aft toilets. I could rather easily though, and might do so if future event loading experience suggests it appropriate.
Gray Waste Water
Gray waste water plumbing is not combined with sewage water in Airliners in any way - gray water plumbing is entirely independent from sewage plumbing. All gray water in my Boeing 727 routes directly to one of two drain masts on the bottom of my fuselage. I suspect all airliners release gray water to the atmosphere in a similar manner. In my 727 the forward drain mast currently serves only the forward lavatory and galley sinks. My aft drain mast is used more extensively however - the aft galley sink, the two aft lavatory sinks, my non-native multi-use sink, clothes washer, and shower all drain through my aft drain mast. Due to the volume of water involved I placed erosion control perforated splash panels slightly above the turf below and a bit aft of that drain.
I added a substantial extension to that drain mast's plumbing to accommodate the extra elements but in an ad hoc temporary fashion using rather small diameter ribbed flexible polyethylene drain pipe. It serves sufficiently but must be upgraded to larger diameter smooth wall pipe (perhaps rigid type) at some future date. My sense is that should be rather easy - perhaps a one day project. But at this time it's a rather low priority.
I haven't worked with modern era aircraft toilet systems directly yet, but from experience as an ordinary passenger plus review of this patent it's clear that modern era airliners utilize air pressure differential to flush toilet debris into a single remote holding tank with very little adjunct water. When the aircraft is above very roughly 5 K meters these systems use the air pressure differential between the pressurized cabin and the outside environment to flush sewage. When below that altitude a vacuum pump or similar is automatically activated to create the necessary pressure differential.
For an airplane home rendered from a modern airliner (as I hope with Airplane Home v2.0) I can only speculate about how to modify them for use with constantly connected utilities since I have no direct experience with the task yet. But my sense is that the process is likely rather easy and straightforward by simply preserving native functionality but adding an automated adjunct to rinse the holding tank either periodically or shortly after any toilet is flushed.
The toilet related systems probably utilize both DC and 400 Hz electrical power. Both must to be provided, but efficient power converters and high power amplifiers which can easily convert 50 or 60 Hz utility power to DC or 400 Hz power respectively are readily available, inexpensive, and must be installed anyway to support a large array of other aircraft systems. Simply insuring that the aircraft's electrical power buses are all properly energized should render the individual lavatories fully functional in native mode. This is quite easy for anyone with electronic systems skills, and achievable for anyone who's generally technically proficient.
The holding tank ramp service port would be connected to an underground sewer utility pipe at all times of course, and the drain valve pull handle held in open position by a simple small diameter slotted conduit (to see an example on my 727 view images 189 through 193 here). Also very easy.
Lastly holding tank flush water, connected to the ramp service port from a normal utility water pipe, must automatically flow into the holding tank to rinse it periodically. This could be designed to occur either every time any toilet is flushed or simply periodically, for example every two to six hours depending upon lavatory use patterns and special events. A control valve, if not already native in the aircraft, would be required somewhere in that line. It could be inserted inside the aircraft, spliced into the pipe between the ramp service port and the tank, or outside on the water delivery pipe just behind the water port ramp connector. If the later a short electrical cable from the service panel to the control the valve would be required, complicating fabrication and reducing outside appearance aesthetics. So an interior valve might be best if reasonably feasible. And perhaps a native valve already exists - I hope so because in that case modification of the system should be easy - it would just be a matter of adding an ancillary automatic control for that valve.
Legacy era airliners such as my Boeing 727 are different. In these aircraft each toilet has its own small debris holding tank directly underneath the toilet bowl and flushes by recirculating that tank's water through the toilet bowl with a water pump. They're commonly referred to as chemical toilet blue water recirculated electric flush type toilets. A rather elaborate filter generally prevents visible debris from appearing in the flush water, but it was hardly a perfect system - my toilet's annular water distribution rings were highly clogged with old debris which took hours of painstaking work to remove by finessing the material through the small distribution holes after dislodging it by inserting stiff wires into those holes and maneuvering them to disrupt the internal debris. Some of the debris flowed out during frequently flushing as I worked, but a lot of the material had to be pulled out with forceps. About five hours of quite intimate bowl work time was required to clean the internal channel in the annular bowl rinse ring in each of my two aft toilets. Which, as you might imagine, was no picnic.
Conversion of these toilets, even though basically more simple in design than modern era toilets, involves a bit more work. But just a bit - it's still a pretty easy task (if the annular water distribution ring is clean). In the native structure each toilet's small holding tank is rinsed and subsequently filled by water delivered into the ramp service port. That water line is easily disconnected from its attachment point on the top of each tank. And the rubber pipe which connects the pump to the toilet bowl's annular distribution ring is easy to disconnect from the pump and rotate toward the opposite side where it will connect to a source of valve controlled fresh water. An ordinary underground lawn sprinkler system electric water valve, available at home improvement stores for about $10, plus additional pipe to route the water to the toilet bowl's annular distribution ring as well as the holding tank is added to the system so that when the valve opens water from the ramp service port flows into both the toilet bowl's annular distribution ring and the holding tank rinse port. The original pump isn't used but may be left in place to retain the tank's seal. The electric valve is designed for 24 V operation, either AC or DC, but in my experience it's perfectly reliable using my aircraft's 27.24 Vrms bus to which the flush switch is natively connected. The two wires from the water valve are then routed to the flush switch connector so that when the flush switch, which looks like an ordinary flush handle in my aircraft, is engaged 27.24 Vrms is connected to the water valve causing it to open. The flush switch in my 727 incorporates a mechanical pneumatic delay mechanism which maintains contact for about 10 seconds, allowing a generous water flow. I implemented my plumbing additions with PEX and will add images of the structure if an opportunity arises. It's a clean and reliable installation.
An additional revision is best however: In my 727 the holding tank rinse ring doesn't deliver water vigorously enough to insure that all debris is forced to the tank's drain hole. So I have to inspect the inside of the tank occasionally, peering through the bowl's bottom door, to check for debris and, using a stick from my forest, dislodge any which might be there, pushing it toward the tank's drain where water flow is far more robust, which resolves the issue temporarily. This needs to be resolved permanently of course, and the obvious approach is to revise the structure of the tank's rinse ring to render it more effective. The solution might be as simple as drilling a very roughly 4 or 5 mm hole in the rinse ring pipe just below the connector, angled toward the bottom of the tank slightly before center so that the water sprays to the tank bottom in such a way as to directly liquify and push debris toward the tank drain. I'll report progress as time permits...
Similar to above, my two aft toilet holding tanks drain to the ramp service sewage port which is connected to my underground sewer utility pipe at all times, and now both drain valve pull handles are held in open position by a simple small diameter slotted conduit as illustrated in images 189 through 193 here (but just one of the two drain valve pull handles was held open at the time those images were captured).
Jetliners incorporate superb air mixing and distribution systems of course so that infrastructure is best utilized in native form. Since engines, even if retained, wouldn't be used as a source of cabin heat for an airliner home and frigid outside air isn't available during hot weather more conventional heating and cooling equipment must be added. Wikipedia provides terrific heat pump information here which forms the foundation for further details which follow.
The outdoor portion of a split heat pump system is probably best placed in a service equipment bay (forward or aft of the main landing gear bays) but other options include within a tail structure, inside a wing, or, for greatest ease of installation simply inside any of the landing gear bays (however doing so might interfere with retraction of the landing gear so that consideration would have to be studied). I'll likely utilize an alcove in my forward equipment bay which was formally occupied by one of the four native 727 heat exchanges removed by the salvage firm. It's probably best to connect the indoor portion to the aircraft's native air distribution system, but it's reasonable to consider a ductless direct room air unit, and it's likely easy to find an existing alcove within which to mount it unobtrusively. I haven't made a choice yet.
The temperature of my private well water is always 13 °C irrespective of the season or weather so it provides an economical medium to sink or source heat. I'll connect it to a heat exchanger such that water flows inside the exchanger while squirrel cage fan forced cabin air flows over the exchanger fins. The water will thus cool my cabin air during hot weather and heat my cabin toward 13 °C during frigid weather. During hot weather no heat pump should be required - the 13 ° water alone will provide sufficient cooling if the heat exchanger has sufficient capacity. Similarly during frigid weather no heat pump will be required if I'm away from my home since a temperature near 13 °C is sufficiently warm for internal systems. The exchanger is sealed - no moisture enters the air (it's not a 'swamp cooler').
But the electrically powered heat pump will be used when outdoor temperatures are below a personal comfort level and I'm home. A rather ordinary heat pump will be utilized but with an adjunct: I'll fabricate a device which will port my well water over the the heat pump's exterior heat exchanger whenever the outdoor air temperature is below about 13 °C to improve system efficiency (substantially during freezing weather). Drain water will be discharged to the ground, ideally through my aircraft's aft drain mast.
None of this fabrication has begun as of April 2017 except that I connected an ad hoc heat exchanger, a retired Mazda RX-7 radiator, currently in my cabin, to my water system through an ordinary manual valve. I plan to attach my large squirrel cage fan via a very short custom duct next. When complete and the weather becomes hot this summer I'll test the temporary system to gauge effectiveness, thus providing a reasonable basis to judge how much additional capacity will be required. If any - my earlier use of the squirrel cage fan to locate leaks in my pressure canister (in the section starting at "This last narrative is a long but focused story....") left me with the strong impression that it alone will provide sufficient air flow. If so the capacity of the heat exchanger to transfer thermal energy would be the limiting factor. And I suspect it alone can transfer quite a bit. But we'll see...
So more comfortable summers seem imminent. But I need to acquire a split system heat pump to address the need for more comfortable winters. Maybe I'll be able to attend to that this year, but maybe not. If not another winter of cuddling to space heaters awaits...
Native jetliner illumination systems are remarkably pervasive - they're everywhere, including internal structural areas most people have never seen or perhaps even know exist. And they're superb in effectiveness and aesthetics - they're a real class act in all respects. So in general simply utilize them directly.
But if your aircraft is a pre LED technology era bird it's best to upgrade all incandescent bulbs with precision actively regulated LED bulbs or fixtures as a simple matter of energy efficiency and reliability. They provide brighter illumination too where desired, and of course dissipate far less heat. Don't acquire passively (resistor) regulated LED devices because they're considerably less energy efficient and typically have quite short lives (because they can't prevent broad LED current variation even with precisely regulated power buses.) Florescent bulbs should be replaced with LED fixtures too but they're a lower priority since their efficiency is much better than incandescent technology (though still significantly worse than LEDs).
This applies throughout your aircraft, including navigation lighting systems. For devices which aren't structured with simple replaceable bulbs you should still be able to locate LED equivalents - they're available in a very broad array of forms. But I elected to custom fabricate most of the fixtures in my 727 project because the work is native to my skills, in many cases it was more time efficient to fabricate than to shop, and in some cases I could improve upon the native incandescent technology focused lamp fixture design. If you're adept with a soldering iron and custom fabrication in general you should be able to do the same - no electronic circuit design skills are generally required (though they don't hurt, and an understanding of Ohm's Law, V=RI, is certainly helpful). In particular:
In many cases consider custom mounting modern COB (Chips On Board) LED modules to the inside surface of transparent or translucent lamp windows, or to a back surface of a lamp enclosure, using clear RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing, aka silicon rubber) as the adhesive then custom connect them to a regulator circuit mounted either inside a lamp base or adjacent to the LED module. An intervening connector might be suitable in some cases, but since the lamp base serves as a connector it alone is often sufficient. Many lamp bases are BA15 / 1156 size with is large enough to contain the regulator circuit in most cases. COB LED modules generate far more light than an original incandescent or florescent bulb, and when mounted directly to a lamp window project their light through the window far more efficiently as well. Thus their current can be set to a far, far lower level than the original bulb's current - a level which is also substantially lower than the COB LED module's maximum rating. They should exhibit exceptionally long lives under these conditions. So even though an RTV method of mounting a COB LED module isn't convenient to replace when a failure occurs, failures are likely to be extremely rare. And though replacement is a bit cumbersome it's not highly so - an old module can be rather easily pried off of the back of a lamp window and a new one attached in its place with a fresh thin coating of RTV. When the COB LED is mounted directly to the inside surface of the lamp window an contamination (dirt) can never diminish light transmission from the inside - so long as the easily cleaned outside surface of the lamp is kept clean light transmission efficiency will remain fully efficient, an additional substantial benefit. Empty lamp bases can be obtained from component vendors, but since you are leaving incandescent technology behind forever, consider removing the glass bulb from its base using a small URT (Universal Repair Tool - aka hammer) with care. That is a bit cumbersome but once you refine your method many old incandescent bulbs can be converted to empty BA15 shells fairly rapidly.
COB LED modules, regulator circuits, empty BA15 shells, and other highly useful components and tools are readily available from a variety of vendors of course. My favorite portal is AliExpress.com because it strikes me as the most efficient and economical means to purchase from actual fabricators, but there are other good options of course.
Many or most jetliner illumination devices are powered from a 27.24 V bus (generally referred to as a 28 V bus). Sometimes DC but often 400 Hz AC. Actively regulated LED devices typically allow that voltage level and can utilize either DC or AC power, including 400 Hz power. But when you shop review the LED device specifications to be sure.
Illumination fixtures associated with emergency egress are battery backed. The systems provide a (presumably) gentle maintenance charge to each battery under normal operational conditions - no human maintenance is required - you need only replace them when they reach their service age limit. Other than upgrading the lamps to LED technology keep those systems intact - they're an excellent safety precaution. (And they eclipse typical housing code requirements by a very wide margin, a fact you might be able to leverage as you negotiate with a bureaucracy over other issues.)
The remainder of this section, from here to the next red text advisory, is just preliminary composition or editing scratch text.
Power from the electric utility grid, that is, 120 / 240 Vrms 60 Hz domestic electricity, is routed through the service panel on the left side of my fuselage just forward of the left wing then into my aircraft's cabin. No connector was used - wire cables from my outdoor meter box route continuously through exterior type conduits up to the service panel, then through an interior type conduit through the forward internal service bay, then through the pressure wall, then to a nearby small circuit breaker box installed below a cabin window panel. Ordinary domestic Romex® copper cable routes from that small circuit breaker box to a few receptacle boxes. No distribution to light fixtures or switches is involved because all permanent lighting is powered by my aircraft's native 13.62 Vdc and 27.24 Vdc power systems. Numerous very easily accessed internal areas allowed easy routing of the Romex® cables so the work was a rather straightforward task. A few receptacle boxes have been installed but more will be added later, all in a more advanced receptacle strip form mounted below several window panels and a modest number of other locations. I use only IEC 60320 type 120 Vrms connectors (like the one on the back of your traditional desktop computer) rather than grotesque and dangerous legacy NEMA 15 type normally installed in conventional homes. I probably won't install a 60 Hz to 400 Hz power converter to service the native 400 Hz power buses because all florescent bulbs are being replaced by LED modules so the numerous 400 Hz florescent ballasts are being removed, allowing the original 400 Hz buses to be converted to either 60 Hz or DC.
Since my aircraft's receptacles are safe IEC 60320 type most tools and appliances have been converted from NEMA 15 type domestic power connectors to safe IEC 60320 type connectors. More of this work remains but I roughly estimate that over half of the awful NEMA 15 connectors have been replaced. Ultimately almost all will be replaced to mostly eliminate the manifestly obsolete and dangerous NEMA system from my aircraft, except that a few portable plug-in type power converters such as USB power adapters and similar are impractical to convert, so when used will require an adapter. But they'll be needed only very rarely once the ship's high capacity 5.25 Vdc and 27.24 Vdc power converters and associated connectors are installed. All the 120 Vrms utility power receptacles are IEC-60320 type of course - I never installed nor ever will install any 120 Vrms NEMA 15 type power receptacles - they're hideous and a blight on the Cosmos.
Landing Gear Foundations
Cabin Access Stairs
Wired Telecom or Internet Connection
To be expanded then added to the climate control section: The fuselage is a sealed pressure canister so controlled air exchange is required to avoid suffocation. So the system must exchange some outside air with inside air, passing the outside air through a heat exchanger and filter during transfer, using the existing air intake and exhaust ports.
The ordinary domestic water heater is located at the aft end of the aft cargo hold where its high mass helps to restore the original balance of the aircraft, partly compensating for the loss of the engines. A well water pressure tank will likely be located in that area later too, as will any other high mass items which need to be located within the pressure canister. My backup electrical generator is currently located in the right landing gear bay but may be moved to the number two (center) engine alcove at a later date. Both locations are rain sheltered but open to outdoor air of course.
I hope to install several extra conduits in the landing gear pillars before concrete is poured so I can route service lines into the fuselage via visually obscured conduits adjacent to the landing gear, both main and nose, if deemed useful later.
This marks the end of the section which is still being composed. All the rest of this page is current as of 10 May 2017 JST:
In very general terms studio apartment style, that is, one large room except that the galley and lavatory rooms will remain intact, and ultimately my shower will incorporate walls simply to prevent water spray to outer areas. I'm single so other walls are extraneous and cumbersome. A current seasonal exception is a thermal barrier I erect during the cold season which allows me to warm just the aft cabin section, thus conserving energy. But once I've completed my climate control system as described above it might become unnecessary. Otherwise, as I currently envision the matter:
My flight deck will be cyber equipped with Macintosh and Android systems, subject to change of course as the OS landscape evolves. They'll display flight avionics and navigation emulation images or run active flight simulator applications. These systems may eventually be integrated to provide some aircraft and domestic control and monitoring functions such as environmental and electrical power monitoring and alternate means to control illumination, climate control, and security systems. My hope is to restructure the cockpit so as to partially resemble a modern glass panel class flight deck but due to other priorities I might be unable to invest enough time to accomplish that.
The left cockpit wall and cockpit door were removed to open the area to the cabin. I could also remove most or all of the flight engineer's station and seat since it cramps the area but as a matter of respect for the original design and history of my aircraft that's quite unlikely. Much longer term I might try to mount the two control yokes on quick disconnect shaft couplers and the anti glare dash on quick disconnect supports so the cockpit area could be easily converted from original structure to a more open theme and back, the latter providing more personal maneuvering room and a better view through the windows. Maybe...
My lavatories won't be expanded nor otherwise remodeled in any substantial way except for the remote possibility of the right aft lavatory (more about that below). They're small but I find them perfectly comfortable. Both aft lavatories are currently fully functional except that hot water's not yet connected to their faucets. That's a modest project and should be completed rather soon priorities allowing. I hope to convert the front lavatory toilet for domestic water flushing too but will probably only rarely attach outdoor sewage and tank rinse water service pipes, and thus it will only rarely be used.
The lavatories were equipped with small (perhaps about 1 to 2 liters) individual water heaters powered by a 27.24 V bus, but all three burst many years ago during an unattended freeze after I failed to drain the system properly, alas. They could be replaced but since hot water from my domestic water heater which resides in my aft cargo bay is very close to the two aft lavatories the latency for hot water delivery is minimal and thus not a significant nuisance, so I have no plans to replace those two. The forward lavatory is quite distant though so I might try to replace the native water heater for its sink. If so I probably wouldn't plumb a separate hot water line.
Since becoming very crudely functional many years ago my shower stall project has been chronically deferred. The plan is to erect two new walls but share the right aft lavatory wall with an enhancement, and the right aft window panels with another enhancement in the form of a transparent polycarbonate or acrylic waterproof cover. All the walls will mate with the shower pan already installed, in the later two cases with a modestly angled lower section. The major remaining work involves installing the stall walls, incorporating the control valve and shower wand standpipe into the enhancement of the aft wall, and fabricating lighting. All the required materials are in my cabin and the project might consume only two or three days. But frankly I find the shower sufficient as it is - it's not cumbersome to me and, camping class style, it's perfectly adequate with its simple rolled 4' x 8' sheet of white PVC to confine the water spray. So it's just not a high priority and likely won't get attention until far more important projects are completed.
The forward galley, also known as the number one and number two galleys, was originally planned to become a section of a kitchen which would utilize the area against the aft wall of the number two galley for my refrigerator and possibly a dishwasher. That's still modestly possible, but now my kitchen is far more likely destined for a much more aft location, though the forward galley might be equipped with a second microwave oven and include food storage similar to a domestic home's pantry. During inclement weather or to address artist preferences Concert on a Wing events are held against the aft wall of the number two galley so that area needs to remain open for artist use - kitchen related items there would compromise artist use of the area. Currently my roughly 50 year old yet still fully functional and energy efficient (I measured its power consumption) refrigerator and ad hoc kitchen resides on the right side starting roughly abeam of the forward wall of the number three galley. My clothes washer is adjacent to my refrigerator aft. The location is reasonably convenient for those items at this time. They might be relocated but frankly it's not yet clear where evolution will take kitchen and laundry areas except that I suspect they'll reside generally aft. The interior areas of the galleys aren't directly suitable for accommodating my refrigerator, a dish washer (if I ever install one), or a clothes washer because they're mostly structured to hold thin and short serving carts or smaller bins and my sense is that expanding some areas such as by removing walls separating serving cart bays isn't wise structurally nor as a matter of project time efficiency. So perhaps the galleys will be used primarily for food, tool, and mechanical and electronic component storage since they're among my largest volume storage needs. But this is an ongoing evolutionary process of quite low priority so determination of the fate of the galleys and the future locations of major kitchen elements and the clothes washer awaits a later time.
I also need a kitchen class sink, perhaps a personal use sink for daily hand washing and tooth brushing (because the lavatory sinks, while usable, are inconveniently small long term) and if reasonably feasible a utility sink. A personal sink which also serves for dish washing is currently located adjacent to my clothes washer aft. But I consider that a temporary location and the structure which holds that sink as purely temporary (it's fabricated with quite poor wood fiber materials which are degrading rapidly). I don't know how these needs will be addressed yet - at the moment their priority is rather low.
I don't personally need a conventional oven nor stove since I never use them (I'm a nerd - other than microwaving food I don't cook) but a sweetheart might want them in which case I'd oblige as best I can of course. I hope to install a utility washer (a dishwasher dedicated only for tools and other hardware cleaning) and possibly a dedicated food freezer somewhere but these are also low priority items at this time.
In general this work simply must wait. But there'll likely come a day when more important projects are complete and my attention can focus on organizing these functional elements of my cabin much more formally. Patience please...
The original forward closet assembly was removed - it's a bit tattered and it cluttered the area. I could reinstall it if deemed useful later but that seems very unlikely at this time.
My nerd's lab consisting of a long white bench cluttered with instruments and project flotsam resides just forward of the number three galley as revealed in numerous images on this site. It could move a bit forward or to the right side or both if deemed suitable in the context or arranging more permanent locations for other items, but no such plans exist yet. I won't move it substantially forward though, such as beyond of the wings, because my sense is that the aft section of my bird will remain more utilitarian in nature whereas the forward section will address social and concert needs. And my nerdy lab is certainly utilitarian in nature...
The rest of the cabin will be spartan class and mostly open and flexible. My six or seven rows of original seats help accommodate concert guests but might be set to one side during other times to provide more open room for friends who visit overnight or longer, or other activities. My futon sofa, currently located on the right side over the min landing gear bay, folds flat into a double bed and an inflatable mattress serves for additional bedding (but is deflated and stored when not needed). Plastic shelves filled with a variety of items occupy the majority of the space between the forward and aft wing exit hatches. The cargo holds were hastily filled very haphazardly with aircraft components and as a matter of aesthetics rather urgently need to be reorganized since they're in plain site through my mostly transparent acrylic floor panels. I need to acquire more acrylic panels to completely replace the original opaque panels. Personal use desktop class computer, audio, and video systems need to be restructured and relocated but that's currently a low priority project. At least three electronic equipment racks with casters are available to house some or all of this equipment.
The entire length of the number two engine "S" duct in the tail area was removed long ago so there's far more room in this cathedral like outdoor but rain sheltered area for whatever uses seem appropriate, probably including a rather daunting custom fabricated ladder to a small upper level deck for relaxation, reflection and perhaps romance, taking advantage of a wonderful view through the center engine cowling of the local tree tops (the local valley and the distant mountains can no longer been seen due to continuing Douglas Fir tree growth).
I don't know. It's an important question of course but I have no quantitive means to answer it yet, though that might be possible later. The insulation consists of fiberglass enclosed in sewn light nylon jackets which fit precisely around whatever structure is involved in every location. They're like custom shaped fiberglass parkas. The fabrication is light and not intended to endure a lot of hardship, but nonetheless impressive and able to withstand my powerful pressure washer at moderate range. But they are relatively thin so as to preserve space within the pressure canister and minimize flight mass, so their thermal performance is limited. And several in the lower sections of my aircraft were so badly soiled or damaged that they had to be entirely discarded. And thus far I haven't replaced them with alternate insulation.
Boeing must balance insulation space consumption and mass against energy drain from the engines used to heat the pressure canister and noise dampening benefit. And of course some fresh air from the outside must continuously replace stale cabin air - preexisting cabin air can't be recirculated indefinitely. The salvage firm removed the outflow valves from my aircraft so I can't be certain whether they incorporated heat exchangers to reduce thermal loss from outflow air. But I suspect not, in which case there's a limit to how much benefit can be derived from thermal insulation even if of very high performance.
In my estimation that consideration plus the fact that cabin space and flight mass are so critical are such that Boeing's balance is toward rather modest performance insulation. So I differ with those who suspect a jetliner's insulation must be very high in performance owing to extremely frigid typical cruise altitude temperatures (-50° C is common). It's not that simple. So while the quality of the insulation in my aircraft is high, it's rather thin and I suspect its performance is rather modest.
Earlier here I stated that 727-200 engines burn about 30 gallons of fuel per minute total in cruise, from which I deduced that a lot of excess heat was available. That was a wholly ill conceived statement on my part - a jet engine produces no 'excess' heat. The engines generate a great deal of heat, but it's all utilized for some productive purpose (ignoring efficiency factors) - mostly to generate thrust.
Internal combustion engines do generate heat which, if not utilized to warm a vessel's cabin or other productive purpose, must simply be dumped into the environment. But jet engines are different - all the heat they generate contributes to thrust unless bled from compressor turbines for other uses. But bleed air decreases thrust - unlike an internal combustion engine a jet engine provides no 'free' heat. So 'excess' heat was a misconception on my part - none of it is 'excess'. (I haven't researched the matter but my sense is that Boeing 727 engines were highly inefficient compared to modern high bypass jet engines - the 727 was an aircraft with quite low fuel efficiency by modern standards. But nonetheless there was no 'excess' heat for cavalier consumption.)
If time and logistics permit I'll try to run a test someday in which I monitor indoor and outdoor air temperature differential and heat pump cycles over a 24 hour period, roughly calculate a surface area, and then calculate a rough insulation performance figure. But be immensely patient please - this is a very low priority item for me.
I can't speak for other regions but in my practical experience no serious problems have occurred with my 727 project. I prefer as high an order of craftsmanship as is feasible within the practical limits of my resources - I make a sincere effort to perform high quality fabrication which will contribute to an ever more safe but practical and capable environment and will endure reliably for as long as the base materials involved retain their integrity. There are of course times when the unique nature of my project or the extended span of its execution simply doesn't fit within the usual framework of provincial standards. But I have no beef with the county nor do they seem to have any with me. And I try to document my work well and maintain substantial transparency. I don't coordinate with the bureaucracy more than seems necessary, but they're always welcome to my records or to inspect my fabrication.
One must be willing to work vigorously and with integrity and respect if the project is to be shared with others or the public generally as a simple matter of civil responsibility. Some might prefer a highly private project which they alone will occupy which, in my view as a Libertarian, should free them from most constraints. But that's not my intention with my airplane home projects - on the contrary they're quite public in nature.
Since my 727 project is a highly extended exercise in heavy construction I very clearly ask all who visit to recognize the safety hazards common in a construction environment, and unique to my mine in particular, and require they visit at their own sole risk. But I'm working vigorously and with a considerable sense of urgency to eliminate the most substantial of the risks. Nonetheless no environment is entirely risk free of course, so everyone must remain very wakefully vigilant. Ultimately we all try to balance safety with opportunity - we wish to live safe yet full lives, so we strive to strike a rational balance.
Culture, including bureaucratic culture, varies enormously in all respects from region to region of course. A project's helmsman must become familiar enough with the local bureaucracy to manage it wisely. Hostility is highly counterproductive of course. Whatever the nature of the local bureaucracy, maintaining respectful, polite, friendly, and comfortable relations will very likely minimize any difficulties. So just perform the highest quality fabrication you can practically muster and be highly civilized to minimize bureaucracy related costs and problems.
No, I don't. I don't participate nor hold accounts in any networking sites such as FaceBook.com or LinkedIn.com. When I receive invitations from such sites I direct the site to remove my contact information from their records. I utilize wholly independent personally composed and maintained web sites and private email as remote communication tools. (An exception of professional necessity however is a specific investor discussions (but not networking) site.)
As a matter of constructive transparency I occasionally reveal, in general terms, some deeply personal experiences on my web site in an effort to try to convey the true human element behind endeavors which have garnered rather broad public interest. But only in general terms, and only to the extent I think it might be helpful to further an understanding of the human heart within the dreams. And I highly prefer that such transparency not migrate into social networking sites nor any other location where immature or hostile behavior is even modestly common.
I seek direct real world human relationships whenever possible. Many predominantly cyber based personal relationships strike me as hollow, unfulfilling, and sometimes immature. Or at times they're simply impractical due to an inability to further the relationship with direct contact. If you're interested in a project partnership, friendship, or playful mojo validating romantic flirting feel free to contact me boldly (I'm not prudish) via email. Perhaps then we can advance the connection further. Preferably in the real world where people can spiritually touch each other far more effectively. And literally touch too...
It's impossible to be substantially objective about oneself of course, but as best I can view it the evidence seems to suggest so. I'm 67 (as of 2017), an Electrical Engineer (BSEE, circuit design engineer specialized in electronic instrumentation), thin, want nothing to do with any form of intimidation or aggression, never married, and for a large portion of my life sufficiently amused with technology pursuits and toys while rather socially inept (or perhaps simply inexperienced and thus ignorant).
But I've been an avid tennis player since about 25 and still frequently enjoy tough but entirely sportsman hearted competition - the existential joy of physical games has very deep and fulfilling roots. I love hit and giggle tennis too since the existential joy of highly social games has its own brand of compelling fulfillment. And mini-volleyball in more recent times as well. And challenging though they always are I've experienced many fond and fulfilling relationships, each of increasing depth and honesty as experience refines style. And I look forward to more very eagerly.
Intellectual challenges, especially in science and technology, physical and social play, constructive human relationships, fascinating toys, big and challenging dreams, and more are all necessary to live a full life. But sure, I'm a nerd. But we nerds have heart and depth too...
As perhaps the following, retained from its original roughly 2012 or perhaps a year or two earlier posting here with only very minor recent edits, might illustrate:
With the vital aid of very dear friends and a fearless spirit made rather easy by deeply painful events I recently embarked on fresh adventures and bold quests in new lands. It's been a time of wonderful personal discovery and experience, including the healing embrace of a more refined level of human respect which seems to permeate some cultures, and superb gifts of unbridled joy derived from vigorous and confident pursuit and nurturing of romance in both playful and intimate forms. Now, with my beloved sweetheart at my side and friends so dear as to be reasonably described as intimate to the heart, life is much more than simply good - it's glorious.
In my estimation no living creature can manage to live a life which is free from a few deep wounds which leave scars which can never heal. But if we're lucky we find escape in the form of positive intimate connections, sometimes in new lands, such that the scars, although never forgotten, do fade from daily view. And I've been very lucky indeed. Very lucky... But no matter how successful our rise from ashes may be we still try to protect our sensitive scars from further injury even if a price must be paid to do so. Life is never a perfect experience and at times some sacrifices must be made. But if we're lucky life is very rich and rewarding, scars notwithstanding. And I've been very, very lucky...
So, in my very rough estimation, though still fundamentally a nerd, I haven't missed the deeper values in life nor escaped the pain which occasionally accompanies them. I've spent most of my life hunched over tiny electronic components and a soldering iron or fully focused on a cyber system display. My religion remains absolutely solidly The Scientific Method. I still believe the next great event will be an actual HAL-9000 like sentient silicon and chalcogenide based life form, that it will likely occur rather soon, that such beings will continuously acquire, analyze, organize, and correlate information and knowledge at very high speeds, 24 hours a day, without reproductive drive or hunger distractions (or at least not our versions of them), and like all conscious life forms be deeply driven to survive and propagate in environments which are inherently resource limited and therefore inherently competitive. They will become much more powerful than we are very, very quickly, and thus our world will experience profound and extremely rapid change. As a species we seem rather inept with the challenge of building social frameworks which nurture reliably peaceful coexistence. People and other creatures continue to die needlessly because of our limited skills in this area. But when artificial life forms insist upon their survival rights as well our limited social framework building skills could exact an even higher price. We are facing an immensely challenging future in my estimation and we seem profoundly ill prepared for it.
My guess is that most people consider such activities and thoughts to be the province of a nerd. So evidently I'm still a nerd. However, even though I shield my scars as best I can, I'm a very happy nerd with a considerable sense of human fulfillment. Watashi no koibito to ii tomodachi no okage, arigatai.
And the adventure continues...
Copyright 10 May 2017 JST, Howard Bruce Campbell, AirplaneHome.com.
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