Becoming increasingly popular, unconventional materials like buses, small houses, and shipping containers are gaining traction as unique building options. Offering comfort at a fraction of the cost, these alternatives also provide ample opportunities for personalization.
However, well before this trend took off, Jo Ann Ussery pioneered her own distinctive dwelling by transforming a decommissioned Boeing 727 into a luxurious mansion.
The story begins in 1993 when Ussery’s home in Benoit, Mississippi was destroyed. Facing financial constraints and the recent loss of her husband, she sought affordable housing solutions for herself and her two children. Initially considering a trailer, she soon realized the limitations in finding a sufficiently spacious home for her family.
Enter Ussery’s brother-in-law, Bob, an air traffic controller, who suggested the unconventional idea of living in an airplane.
Enthusiastic about the concept, Ussery and Bob explored a decommissioned Boeing 727 on the brink of being dismantled for parts. Captivated by the aircraft, she named it “Little Trump” after discovering that Donald Trump also owned a private Boeing 727.
Acquiring the airplane for a mere $2,000, including shipping, Ussery embarked on an ambitious transformation project.
Investing less than $30,000 (equivalent to around $60,000 today), Ussery secured the airplane in place, utilizing the natural presence of a lake on her property. With the plane strategically positioned to overlook the water, she reinforced the tail with concrete. The extensive interior demolition followed, involving the transformation of the 138-foot-long aircraft with 76 windows.
Ussery addressed challenges like non-opening windows by enhancing insulation and installing new flooring. Innovative solutions, such as using the original airplane lavatory and overhead bins, maximized the limited space.
The renovated interior featured three bedrooms, a living area, a kitchen, and even a laundry room. Ussery’s attention to detail extended to the cockpit, converted into a master bathroom with a soaking tub, offering occupants a sensation of floating in midair.
Remarkably, Ussery undertook all the remodeling work herself. Between 1995 and 1999, she called her converted jet home before deciding to share its uniqueness with the world by turning it into a museum. Unfortunately, during transportation, the airplane met a tragic fate, falling off its carriage and being destroyed.
Fortunately, snapshots of this breathtaking transformation and unique living space have been preserved, showcasing Jo Ann Ussery’s pioneering spirit in creating a truly one-of-a-kind home.