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10 Ways to Recycle an Airplane

Updated on December 18, 2022

10+ Examples of Aircraft Conversions

This is a follow-up to my articles covering railway carriages and stations as holiday homes.

I came across a design company that specialises in converting aircraft to luxurious standards, The picture on the left shows an example of the type of work they get involved in.

For the lesser mortals among us there are cheaper, though just as wacky alternatives available.

747 Wing House - Malibu, California

This house, designed by David Hertz, includes sections of a Boeing 747 including the wings and the First Class cabin from the top of the aircraft. It is located on a 55 acre property in the remote hills of Malibu, California.


Airplane Restaurant

Colorado Springs, USA

The Airplane Restaurant is located in Colorado Springs and includes a complete Boeing KC-97 tanker aircraft.

It was built in 1953 and saw active duty all around the world. In May 2002 it was converted into a restaurant sitting area and can sit 42 people while the main area has space for an extra 230.

The converted airframe incorporates hundreds of pictures and flight memorabilia. The cockpit is also accessible - which is a great attraction for kids.


El Avion

Quepos, Costa Rica

This Fairchild C-123 has been converted from a cargo plane to a restaurant and bar perched up a hill in Quepos, Costa Rica. You can see a review of the restaurant on YouTube.

This American aircraft was part of a program set up in secret by the Reagan administration of the 1980s. It involved selling arms at inflated prices to Iran, with a view to raising money to support a war in Nicaragua, and to help secure the release of US citizen who had been abducted in Lebanon.

Part of the scheme involved purchasing cargo aircraft which were then flown out of Costa Rica to Nicaragua. The project was cancelled when a Fairchild C-123 was shot down in Nicaragua, which caused an embarrassment for the US government. A second Fairchild was never recovered from San Jose Airport in Costa Rica, and this is the airframe that is now used as a restaurant.

It was bought in August 2000 for $3,000, broken up in 7 pieces and transported by ship and road to Quepos, where it was re-constructed on site.

Hotelicopter - (it was an April Fool's Day fake advert in 2009)

The interior pictures in the video were lifted by the author from the airport hotel chain Yotel's website and the helicopter is of a type which was only produced twice, One Mil V-12 crashed in 1968 and the second is in a museum near Moscow. The video went viral in 2009 and attracted thousands of fans on Facebook and Twitter. You can read more about this spoof video on the Daily Telegraph website.

Jumbo Jet Hostel - Stockholm, Sweden

Netherlands Airplane Hotel - Teuge, Netherlands


Parachute Inn

Arkansas, USA

This is an ex-Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-200 jet engine which has been stripped of its under-carriage and transformed into a dining room as part of a restaurant specialising in seafood.

The cockpit is still in one piece, the interior has been re-arranged to included typical American diner tables and the overhead bins are used to store coats.

It is located at Walnut Ridge Regional Airport, Arkansas, an hour's drive from US Highway 60 and has received good reviews on the Internet.

Runway 34 Restaurant - Zurich, Switzerland

This is an Ilyushin 14 which has been converted by a former pilot as a restaurant smoker's lounge. It is located under the runway at Zurich Airport, Switzerland


Susuman School

Susuman, Russia

This is an old Ilyushin 18, the front part of which has been attached to the front of a school by a local aviation enthusiast.

Susuman was founded in 1936 and is named after the nearby river of the same name. The area was the site of the Soviet Union's largest forced labour camps. The prisoners were put to work in local gold mines and industrial plants from 1949 to 1956.

Susuman was given town status in 1964. After the break-up of the Soviet Union in the 1990s the population dropped by over half.

The Aircraft to Cafe concept is catching on....


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