A stay-at-home dad is turning a Boeing 737 plane into a camper trailer for family vacations

Melissa WileyJan 22, 2021, 23:56 IST

  • Stay-at-home dad Steve Jones is converting a Boeing 737 plane into a camper trailer.
  • Jones has been renovating camper trailers for over a decade.
  • Jones’ plans for the Boeing 737 camper include adding French doors and a rear balcony.

Steve Jones knows his way around a plane.

A former aircraft technician turned stay-at-home dad, Jones has found a creative way to combine his love of planes with his duties at home.

Last year, he transformed a 13-foot-long nacelle of a VC10 jet engine into a camper trailer for family road trips.

Now, he’s set his sights on something much larger: a decommissioned Boeing 737 plane.

Take a look inside what he calls his “craziest project” yet.

Stay-at-home dad Steve Jones is transforming a decommissioned Boeing 737 plane into a camper trailer.

Stay-at-home dad Steve Jones is transforming a decommissioned Boeing 737 plane into a camper trailer.

Steve Jones poses outside the Boeing 737 he plans to renovate.

Courtesy Steve Jones

A former technician for the Royal Air Force, Jones has been renovating camper vans and trailers for over a decade and calls the Boeing transformation his “craziest project to date.”

A former technician for the Royal Air Force, Jones has been renovating camper vans and trailers for over a decade and calls the Boeing transformation his "craziest project to date."

Steve Jones poses for a selfie.

Courtesy Steve Jones

The plane, which Jones purchased through industry contacts, originally belonged to the low-budget UK airline BMI Baby that was grounded in late 2012.

The plane, which Jones purchased through industry contacts, originally belonged to the low-budget UK airline BMI Baby that was grounded in late 2012.

The decommissioned plane belonged to a now-grounded airline.

Courtesy Steve Jones

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Jones wanted to convert as much of the plane as possible, but also knew he had to transport it 130 miles from the Bruntingthorpe Airfield to his home in Lancashire, so decided to cut off a section just before the wings.

Jones wanted to convert as much of the plane as possible, but also knew he had to transport it 130 miles from the Bruntingthorpe Airfield to his home in Lancashire, so decided to cut off a section just before the wings.

An arrow shows where Jones, with the help of friends, cut the Boeing 737 fuselage.

Courtesy Steve Jones

The dimensions of the future camper trailer came to 32 feet long and 13 feet tall.

The dimensions of the future camper trailer came to 32 feet long and 13 feet tall.

View of the Boeing 737 section that Jones will transform into a camper trailer.

Courtesy Steve Jones

To transport the plane in October, Jones hired a specialty company that was able to lift the aircraft onto a wide-load trailer using a crane.

To transport the plane in October, Jones hired a specialty company that was able to lift the aircraft onto a wide-load trailer using a crane.

A truck lifts the Boeing 737 onto a wide-load trailer using a crane.

Courtesy Steve Jones

The aircraft turned quite a few heads on the highway, especially in Jones’ hometown, he told Insider.

The aircraft turned quite a few heads on the highway, especially in Jones' hometown, he told Insider.

The Boeing 737 is hard to miss.

Courtesy Steve Jones

“It was just a funny sight to see, because I live in a very rural area. Most things you see down my lane are tractors and trailers, not aircraft,” he said.

"It was just a funny sight to see, because I live in a very rural area. Most things you see down my lane are tractors and trailers, not aircraft," he said.

The Boeing 737 arriving at Jones’ home in Lancashire, England.

Courtesy Steve Jones

Jones’ first order of business after receiving the plane was to pressure wash the outside, since it had accumulated dirt and grime from being exposed to the elements.

Jones' first order of business after receiving the plane was to pressure wash the outside, since it had accumulated dirt and grime from being exposed to the elements.

The Boeing 737 looks very different after a wash.

Courtesy Steve Jones

Next, he built a steel frame, or chassis, for the plane to rest on.

Next, he built a steel frame, or chassis, for the plane to rest on.

Courtesy Steve Jones

Jones’ vision for the trailer includes a fully restored, authentic cockpit, he told Insider.

Jones' vision for the trailer includes a fully restored, authentic cockpit, he told Insider.

Jones’ sons pose in the cockpit.

Courtesy Steve Jones

Tracking down all of the parts, which were scrapped when the plane was decommissioned, will take the longest amount of time, he said.

Tracking down all of the parts, which were scrapped when the plane was decommissioned, will take the longest amount of time, he said.

Left: A BMI Baby cockpit before the fleet was grounded. Right: The scrapped cockpit of Jones’ Boeing 737.

Courtesy Steve Jones

While he tracks down parts from the cockpit, Jones is mapping out how he will renovate the rest of the Boeing 737 interior. Jones has budgeted around $21,800 (£16,000) for the entire project.

While he tracks down parts from the cockpit, Jones is mapping out how he will renovate the rest of the Boeing 737 interior. Jones has budgeted around $21,800 (£16,000) for the entire project.

The Boeing 737 sits in a shed on Jones’ property.

Courtesy Steve Jones

His plans include French doors with a glass balcony at the rear and a walk-in shower toward the front.

His plans include French doors with a glass balcony at the rear and a walk-in shower toward the front.

A sketch shows Jones’ plans for the Boeing 737 static caravan.

Courtesy Steve Jones

The camper trailer will be able to sleep flour with a cargo deck bedroom and double bed suspended from the ceiling that can be lowered to the floor.

The camper trailer will be able to sleep flour with a cargo deck bedroom and double bed suspended from the ceiling that can be lowered to the floor.

Arrows show the approximate locations of Jones’ planned ceiling bed and the lift-up hatch to the lower cargo bedroom, looking toward the rear of the fuselage.

Courtesy Steve Jones

This is not Jones’ first aircraft conversion. Last year, Jones transformed a 13-foot-long engine shell from a VC10 jet plane into a camper trailer.

This is not Jones' first aircraft conversion. Last year, Jones transformed a 13-foot-long engine shell from a VC10 jet plane into a camper trailer.

The VC10 engine shell on a trailer being prepared for transport.

Courtesy Steve Jones

The build took him an estimated 1,000 hours, he previously told Insider.

The build took him an estimated 1,000 hours, he previously told Insider.

The renovated VC10 caravan pod is 13 feet long.

Courtesy Steve Jones

Jones has much more space to work with in the Boeing 737 than in the VC10 engine shell, which he said will make the renovation easier.

Jones has much more space to work with in the Boeing 737 than in the VC10 engine shell, which he said will make the renovation easier.

The inside of the Boeing 737 fuselage looking toward the cockpit.

Courtesy Steve Jones

Beyond moving the location of the galley kitchen slightly, he plans to maintain the plane’s original character. “It’s all about authenticity,” Jones told Insider. “I like things being as they were.”

Beyond moving the location of the galley kitchen slightly, he plans to maintain the plane's original character. "It's all about authenticity," Jones told Insider. "I like things being as they were."

Left: Inside the Boeing 737 bathroom. Right: Looking toward Boeing 737 galley kitchen.

Courtesy Steve Jones

Jones plans to keep the camper trailer at a friend’s caravan park nearby once complete and rent it out to families and other travelers.

Jones plans to keep the camper trailer at a friend's caravan park nearby once complete and rent it out to families and other travelers.

The Boeing 737 is seen from above.

Courtesy Steve Jones

Jones’ goal is to allow families and other renters the chance to “get up close and personal with an aircraft” and “enjoy a bit of a different experience,” he said.

Jones' goal is to allow families and other renters the chance to "get up close and personal with an aircraft" and "enjoy a bit of a different experience," he said.

Jones will begin renovating Boeing 737 later this winter.

Courtesy Steve Jones

“What better way than to go into a flight deck, sit down with your partner, get yourself a gin and tonic, and sit down and have a laugh and a joke,” he said.

"What better way than to go into a flight deck, sit down with your partner, get yourself a gin and tonic, and sit down and have a laugh and a joke," he said.

The sun sets behind the Boeing 737.

Courtesy Steve Jones