The Ultimate Housing Adventure
The trend of using unconventional materials like buses, tiny houses, and shipping containers for building homes has been steadily gaining popularity.
These unique and affordable alternatives offer the same level of comfort and a range of customization options. However, Jo Ann Ussery paved the way for this trend long before it became fashionable.
In 1993, after her home in Benoit, Mississippi, was devastated, she embarked on an extraordinary adventure, transforming an old Boeing 727 into a stunning and fully functional home.
From Tragedy to Triumph
Ussery’s journey began when her husband unexpectedly passed away, leaving her and her two children in need of a new place to live. Struggling financially, she initially thought of buying a trailer as a solution.
However, she soon realized that she couldn’t afford a home large enough to accommodate her growing family. It was then that Bob, Ussery’s in-law and an air traffic controller, suggested an unconventional idea – living on a plane.
Intrigued by the concept, Ussery went to view a disassembled Boeing 727 and fell in love at first sight. The best part? The plane only cost $2,000, including shipping. Inspired by the fact that Donald Trump also owned a private Boeing 727, Ussery named her new acquisition “Little Trump”.
With determination and creativity, Ussery began the substantial task of transforming the plane into a unique and comfortable home. For less than $30,000 (equivalent to approximately $60,000 today), she embarked on a project that would require significant time and financial investment.
Ensuring the plane’s stability during the renovation was crucial, so she strategically landed it on her property with the nose facing a picturesque lake. The tail was firmly secured with concrete to keep it in place.
With the foundations laid, Ussery eagerly began dismantling the interior, which spanned an impressive 1,500 square feet. Complete with 76 windows, the nearly 138-foot-long airplane offered an abundance of natural light.
To bring her vision to life, Ussery made important modifications to the plane’s design. While the original windows were non-functional, the existing air conditioning system ensured a comfortable living environment.
She prioritized insulation improvements and installed new flooring throughout the aircraft. Additionally, Ussery ingeniously repurposed the plane’s bathroom and overhead bins as space-saving solutions. The result? A brilliantly designed living space that made the most of the available area.
A Unique Oasis of Comfort
Once the major renovations were complete, Ussery turned her attention to crafting a remarkable and comfortable living environment. The renovated plane now boasted three bedrooms, a cozy living room, a fully functional kitchen, and even a convenient laundry facility.
Not content with just the basics, Ussery went above and beyond, ensuring her revamped jet included unexpected luxuries like a phone and an oven. However, the crown jewel of her design was undoubtedly the cockpit’s transformation into a magnificent master bathroom.
Ussery cleverly installed a soaking tub to take advantage of the stunning views outside. The layout of the room was meticulously planned so that anyone stepping foot into it would feel like they were floating on water.
What truly sets Ussery’s achievement apart is that she accomplished this extraordinary transformation single-handedly. From 1995 to 1999, she and her children lived aboard their converted plane, basking in the joys of their unique abode.
The experience was so fulfilling that Ussery eventually decided to share her creation with the world, converting it into a public museum. Sadly, during the process of moving the airplane a short distance, a mishap occurred, causing it to slip off the carriage and disintegrate.
While Ussery’s Boeing 727 may no longer soar through the skies, its legacy continues to captivate and inspire. Her incredible journey of turning an outdated airplane into an extraordinary home proves that with vision, creativity, and determination, one can create a living space that is truly one-of-a-kind.
Jo Ann Ussery’s story serves as a testament to the limitless possibilities that exist when we dare to think outside the box and transform our dreams into reality.