The planes arrive empty and the new owners hire an architect to design the interior to meet their needs. The company modifies the airplane's wings so they no longer provide lift. The wings span about 108 feet of usable surface area for a deck.
The 727 home will sit on a large bearing that's planted into the ground, which will enable it to remain stationary or rotate at the home owner's command. Once secured, the plane will sit about 20 feet above the ground. Home owners can use the extra space to build storage areas, parking structures or whatever else they want.
"I think it's fascinating...When I stand next to a pole and look up and think an airplane could go there," Peters said.
Bennington secured his first U.S. patent for the airplane home in 1997. He said nothing about the technology used for the homes is new, but his patents cover an aircraft stationed on a bearing that is used as a dwelling.
The empty airplane weighs about 45,000 pounds. The outside is about 153 feet long and the inside is about 12 feet wide. In total, there is about 1,200 square feet of living space. The airplane comes with 106 windows.
The three planes sold so far will be sent to Connecticut, Tennessee and a small island off the coast of Florida. However, Bennington said the plans to station an airplane in Tennessee may fall through. If that happens, he plans to ship the plane to the same small island near Florida and live there himself.
"I really like the airplanes. I've been in the airplane business all my life," Bennington said.
The airplane homes are the reason he launched Max Power Aerospace, which also buys and sells aircraft engines and other parts, dismantles commercial aircraft and offers aviation consulting services. The company is based in Smyrna, TN.
Bennington believes airplanes are the best-made structures around. He's broken the jaws of an industrial excavator while attempting to crush airplanes.
"When you break them down, they're worth a lot of money," he said. Despite his strong feelings about not tearing planes apart, his company breaks down planes and sells parts in order to survive financially until he starts to sell more of the airplane homes.
Who's buying the airplane homes and how will they be used? A real estate investor bought one and plans to use it for rental properties, according to Peters. A business owner bought one to use as an office, and a professional tennis player bought one to use as a home.
Peters sells other unusual real estate items through iWillSellYourStuff.com, including an inflatable church and an inn and restaurant in Arizona made from a missile silo. The missile silo is situated underground with the restaurant area built above ground. The silo has about 5,000 square feet of usable space, he said.
Peters set up a Web site, Airplanehomes.com, where people can learn how the planes are stripped, shipped and set up for living spaces. The pictures are artists' renderings of how a completed structure would look.
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