$200,000 Airplane Home – Meet The Man Who Turned an Airliner Into His Home

Source: Facebook Project Freedom

Have you ever dreamed of living in an airplane? For Joe Axline, that dream became a reality. Inspired by a childhood fascination with airplanes and a TV show called “The Magician,” Axline transformed two retired passenger jets into his dream home. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Axline’s journey and the incredible home he has created.

A Childhood Dream Takes Flight

Growing up with a father who was an aircraft mechanic and pilot, Axline developed a deep love for airplanes from a young age. His first experience inside an airplane was helping his dad rebuild a Piper Tri-Pacer.

Source: Joe Axline

This sparked his passion for aviation, and he obtained his pilot’s license at the age of 18. However, life took him in a different direction, and he put his dream of living in an airplane on hold.

The Call of Freedom

After a divorce in April 2011, Axline decided it was time to pursue his long-held dream.

Source: Joe Axline

He had about $250,000 in savings and wanted to spend it all on his dream “Project Freedom”.

Buying The Land

He purchased a piece of land at a private airport in Texas and began searching for an airplane to convert into a home.

Source: Joe Axline

“Project Freedom,” is a symbol of his newfound independence and the freedom to pursue his dreams.

Finding the Perfect Airplanes

Axline’s search for the right airplanes led him to a Spirit Airlines DC-9-41 in a mall in Florida. The cockpit was a perfectly preserved replica of a 1970s interior, while the back of the plane housed flight simulators.

Source: Joe Axline

Axline also acquired a McDonnell Douglas MD-80 from Arkansas, which would become the main living space for his home. These two planes would serve as the foundation for his unique living space.

Building the Foundations

In his pursuit of turning airplanes into homes, Axline faced the daunting task of constructing steel foundations for his planes. This crucial step required meticulous planning and execution, as the support for the MD-80 structure alone demanded 25 cubic yards of cement.

Source: Joe Axline

Axline described the project as a constant dance of “two steps forward, one step back,” with challenges aplenty. However, he remained undeterred, stating that there was nothing small or easy in his ambitious endeavor.

A Milestone Achieved: The MD-80 Arrives

After the completion of the steel foundations, the eagerly anticipated moment arrived when the front fuselage of the MD-80 was delivered to the site in December 2011. This marked a significant milestone in Axline’s journey toward realizing his dream.

Source: Joe Axline

Axline shared that the cost of hiring cranes and trucks to transport airplane fuselages was substantial, but he firmly believed it was a worthy investment to “live the dream” he had envisioned.

Unleashing Creativity: The Transformation Begins

The interior of the MD-80, filled with parts that needed to be removed, posed a significant challenge for Axline. Undeterred, he embarked on a journey of learning renovations “on the fly,” utilizing YouTube videos and assistance from his electrical engineer brother.

Source: Joe Axline

Axline’s renovations involved removing ceilings and overhead bins to ensure his height wouldn’t be restricted. He also added two walls, one to separate the master bedroom and the shower, and another between the first bedroom and the living room. These modifications were surprisingly manageable for him.

A New Addition: The DC-9 Makes Its Entrance

Paragraph 1: In January 2012, the DC-9 arrived at the site and was installed next to the MD-80. However, due to the extensive focus on making the MD-80 habitable, Axline did not have the time to begin renovations on the DC-9.

Source: Joe Axline

Currently, the DC-9 remains gutted and empty, serving as storage for parts from the other plane. Axline envisions transforming it into a cinema and entertainment center, showcasing his creative vision for the future.

Converting Dreams into Reality: Making the Planes Habitable

Axline’s determination and resourcefulness shone through as he installed sewage and water systems, electrical wiring, LED lighting, and insulation in the MD-80. These essential components took over a year to complete, with Axline finally moving into his newly renovated plane in August 2012.

Source: Joe Axline

Axline’s attention to detail extended to replacing carpeting with vinyl flooring, adding insulation to combat the scorching Texas summers, and even constructing a deck and a life-sized chess set outside the plane. These personalized touches made the space truly his own.

In Goes The Wooden Flooring

The Entire plane has had its floor redone.

Source: Joe Axline

Each piece was meticulously installed creating the ultimate foundation to build upon.

A Home Above the Clouds: The Joys of Living in an Airplane

Axline’s unconventional home offers a seamless blend of living room, dining table, kitchen, and office space within a few feet of each other.

Source: Joe Axline

This unique arrangement creates a sense of convenience and functionality that Axline thoroughly enjoys.

Home Office

Everyone has to have a home office these days, Axline is no exception.

Source: Joe Axline

Preserving Some Elements

While Axline made several modifications to the interior, he also preserved certain original features, such as shutters, windows, and overhead bins.

Source: Joe Axline

The plane’s sink and bathroom features also remain intact, complete with the original warning lights, although they no longer serve their original purpose.

The Spirit of Creativity

The ceilings were removed to create a sense of spaciousness, and a deck with a life-sized chess set was added outside.

Source: Facebook Project Freedom

The result is a unique and inviting living space that captures the spirit of aviation.

Project Freedom’s Future

While Axline is currently living in the MD-80, his vision for Project Freedom extends beyond his current home. He plans to connect the MD-80 and the DC-9 with a bridge, creating a unified living space.

Source: Facebook Project Freedom

A hangar will be built next to the MD-80, giving the impression that the planes are at an airport. Axline also envisions adding wings to both planes and creating a mini control tower and landscaped area with model trains and cars.

Living the Dream

For Axline, living in an airplane is not just about the unique and unconventional nature of his home. It’s about following your dreams and embracing the journey.

Source: Joe Axline

He encourages others to pursue their own dreams, no matter how unconventional they may seem. Axline’s airplane home is a testament to the power of imagination, determination, and the pursuit of a dream.

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

Joe Axline’s journey from childhood fascination to living in an airplane is an inspiring tale of following one’s dreams. Through his creativity, hard work, and unwavering passion, Axline has created a truly extraordinary home.

Source: Facebook Project Freedom

His airplane residence stands as a symbol of the freedom to pursue our dreams and the power of turning imagination into reality. So, what dreams are you ready to take flight with?

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Ben Miller

Written by Ben Miller

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