The History Behind the ‘Olympic Airways’ Plane Sitting in an Oregon Forest

A Boeing 727 from the now-defunct Greek airline Olympic Airways, which since 2012 has sat in a forest in Oregon, has a surprisingly glamorous history.

Retired engineer Bruce Campbell, who had a vision to save decommissioned aircraft from becoming scrap metal by reusing them, bought the plane in 2009.

He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy it and tow it to the ten acres of forest land he owns, in order to turn it into a home.

“My goal is to change humanity’s behavior in this little niche,” Campbell once said.

After a great deal of hard work, Campbell finally managed to make his dream of living in a decommissioned airplane come true.

He seems to have little regard for what others may consider to be essential creature comforts. He sleeps on a sofa, and it is only rolled out to its full width when he’s entertaining company.

Campbell stockpiles two months’ worth of canned foods and goods at a time, and bathes in a shower he created by rolling a sheet of PVC into a four-foot-high cylinder.

But the retired engineer bought more than he realized in this old 727 jet. He didn’t learn until much later that his new home had quite a history.

Down the aisles once walked Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis herself when the body of her then-husband, Aristotle Onassis, was transported to its final resting place in March of 1975.

Christina and Jackie Onassis arrive in Athens in 1975

Campbell compared the registration number of his 727 airplane to images he found online and it was a match — this was indeed the airplane which transported Onassis’ coffin to Greece after he died in France.

Olympic Airlines, which was named Olympic Airways for at least four decades, was the flagship airline of the Greek nation.

Onassis bought the Greek state airline (then called T.A.E.) in July of 1956, renaming it “Olympic Airways” the next year and making it one of the most reliable and luxurious air carriers of the time.

On September 29, 2009, Olympic Airlines ceased all operations and most flights. “Olympic Air” is the new airline formed from the privatization which occurred at that time.

It is noteworthy that this aircraft with such an interesting past has not been scrapped, melted down, reused and lost forever. That this once-luxurious airplane which transported such an illustrious personage who was so important to Greece, and still exists somewhere in the world, is remarkable.

Even if it sits in the middle of a forest in Oregon.