Joanne Ussery in her airplane home.

Meet the woman who lives inside a converted Boeing airplane

There's nothing worse than house hunting; take it from me. It's an even more dispiriting experience than looking for a new job. I certainly didn't relish the endless parade of flat viewings and emails to realtors that I had to endure recently. But somehow, it's even worse if you can afford to actually buy a house. These days, inflation in the housing market has ratcheted the price of many dwellings to extortionate prices. According to a recent federal census, the average price of a house in the United States stands at approximately $398,900.

The demand and competition for homes, particularly in large cities, is so fierce that people are resorting to more and more desperate measures just to get a roof over their heads. If only there was some other solution: a fixer-upper that we could buy on the cheap and transform into a cosy abode. Well, it turns out that a few people out there have managed to discover a novel source of much-needed living space in the form of grounded passenger planes. Yes, these folks have bought disused commercial planes and converted them into houses.

Joanne Ussery in her airplane home. Credit: Getty

Just take the case of hairdresser Joanne Ussery, from Benoit, Mississippi. Joanne wanted to build a mobile home next to a tranquil lakeside in the woods near Benoit after a house fire destroyed her previous home. She wasn't content with squeezing herself into some dingy condo and didn't want to pay for a pokey trailer. But then her brother-in-law Bob Farrow, an air traffic controller, suggested that she invest in an unconventional trailer; namely a gigantic, Boeing 727 plane. The 727, registration number N88701, made its first maiden flight on May 11, 1968, and operated until September 20, 1993; it was stored at Sherman, Texas, before being flown to the Memphis Group in Greenwood, where the fuselage was stripped was stored at the scrapyard.

Joanne paid the tidy sum of $2,000 for the plane's hull and a further $4,000 for a house-moving company to move it to her lot by the water. At first, her friends thought that she'd lost her mind, but they changed their minds when they saw how well she'd managed to renovate the plane's interior. Spending $25,000 on refurbishment, Joanne's plane-house was soon up and running with hot running water and electricity; she also added three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a laundry area and a master bathroom, complete with a jacuzzi bath, in the former cockpit. Joanne nicknamed her dream house “Little Trump,” a reference to Donald Trump’s personal corporate jet, which was also a Boeing 727.

Joanne Ussery outside her airplane home. Credit: Getty

When her renovation was completed, then 51-year-old Joanne stated: "The plane is 27 years old and it's the best home in the world. It has all the things you want in a home: a telephone, air conditioning, an oven, a washing machine even a dishwasher. It's always very warm, even in winter, and it's very big, 42 meters long! My grandchildren love running up and down. And my friends love parties here - but there aren't any flight attendant to serve their drinks! Next time, I want a Boeing 747, not a 727, because they have an upstairs and a downstairs, and I want to go upstairs to bed."

Joanne still lives there to this day, so obviously she's become content with having one floor after all. Nonetheless, she isn't the only person who has transformed a jet into a home. Engineer Bruce Campbell (no relation to Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell) has also purchased the fuselage of an empty Boeing 727, and is currently in the process of converting it. The grounded plane now features a number of rooms and electrical fittings, although Bruce purchased his plane for a much steeper price than Joanne did. His Boeing cost $100,000 back in 1999, although this is because most of his plane's electrical fittings are still in working order. Bruce is so taken with his aircraft-cum-house that he believes that all airplanes that are out of commission should be transformed into new real estate. "Shredding a beautiful and scintillating jetliner is a tragedy in waste and a profound failure of human imagination. Retirement into an aerospace class castle should be every jetliner’s constructive fate. They should never be mindlessly scrapped," he stated.

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed - although considering how broke I am, I'm not even sure I could afford a stair car right now, let alone a whole flying fortress. However, this isn't the first awesome DIY job we've looked at. Check out this amazing house where the iconic Simpsons home is perfectly recreated.