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A Pitch to Airlines With Retiring 747-400s

A Pitch to Airlines With Retiring 747-400s.
Partially updated 5 December 2017.

We can help each other.  And enrich many other lives too...

I'm very eager to make the Airplane Home v2.0 dream a reality.  747-400 Aircraft are awe inspiring miracles of modern aerospace technology which can serve as truly remarkable homes and community resources.  They and their kin are a very special human resource which can add a great deal of excitement and exploratory spirit to a community and surrounding areas.  The rather regular stream of new visitors who tour my Boeing 727 home in America almost universally love the vision - they embrace it enthusiastically as both a wise use of a special resource and a highly unique and appealing way to live.  And 16 years into the project international press interest remains quite frequent and vigorous.

But my 727 project is deeply flawed due mostly to a fundamental execution mistake: The aircraft was quite badly damaged by salvage work prior to my possession.  Our Airplane Home v2.0 team will not allow that terrible mistake as we demonstrate an efficient means to render a truly gorgeous and elegant aerospace class home from a very nearly fully intact and functional bird.  (Engines may be removed if still of high value by strict non-damaging service procedure.  But the cowlings will remain fully intact.  Many, though not all, of the seat rows will also be removed.  No other dismantling or salvage activity will occur - none.)

In my estimation a time will come when retired airliner homes are relatively common.  But first a superb example of the vision must be efficiently rendered.  Airplane Home v2.0 is an attempt to create the first fully compelling majestic airliner home, thus demonstrating the true full potential of the concept to the world.  If successful it will likely dramatically boost the notoriety of the already popular concept and spawn robust press interest which would likely endure for the foreseeable future.  And this would happen with some airline's livery proudly displayed on and in the bird as the global press and others tell the story.

And this project can be superbly executed and leveraged for the community because, in part:

1.   I've gained substantial experience in executing such a project.

2.   I'm determined that Airplane Home v2.0 be superbly rendered as a very nearly full bird - no salvage firm will be involved in any way.

3.   The aircraft will be woven into local community activities so as to enhance its appeal and benefit the area.  Educational institutions will likely be involved.  And concerts will likely be held on the wings.

My sense is that this is a superb promotional opportunity for an insightful and exploratory minded airline - their bird will be seen by millions young and old in consistently positive and exciting terms.  (However, should the airline desire it for any reason, their livery will be very promptly removed or thoroughly obscured at any time upon request.)

That's a simple version of my pitch.  Below I explain why this pitch was necessary, plus some other details.  However, since composing the explanation below I restored my ability to execute this project entirely with cash.  I reman eager to create a partnership with an interested airline but that's no longer required.  So I'll update the following comments accordingly as soon as practical:

Personal financial cards on the table: Due to unusual investing success, fourteen months ago I held $13.3 M in liquid assets before taxes, well more than enough to fully fund the project.  However, due to my failure to perceive the chronic nature of a decline in two concentrated positions sufficiently promptly, most of that asset base is gone, at least temporarily.  So I have very little funding capability at this time - I'm hovering at only about $150K in liquid assets.  I hold substantial very aggressive (and thus very high risk) investment positions which might become successful, perhaps enabling me to recover my lofty position of late 2014.  Or my positions might fail entirely, leaving me with almost nothing.  Or somewhere between those extremes.  Hints of my fate might begin to appear in very roughly 6 months, and become rather clear in about 12 to 18 months.  (Or of course abrupt developments could reveal matters much sooner.) I hope my studies and sense of the technologies, corporate logistics, and market conditions are about right.  But there are no guarantees of course.

In the meantime I must proceed with the project under the assumption that it will have to be funded very economically - currently I simply don't have much money to allocate to it.  And the 747-400 fleet is being retired rapidly, so patience isn't a viable option.  So I'm trying to devise a low cost approach for the project and think this may be possible for three key reasons:

1.  Retired 747-400 aircraft seem to be of very little economic value (see "The current parts resale value for this aircraft has been reduced to its engines.").  So an airline might be convinced to essentially donate one, or nearly so (ultimately sans its engines if of substantial value), if they believe they'll receive enduring and reliably valuable promotional exposure through the project.  I feel very confident that we will make that so for them - I think an beautifully executed project will be of substantial interest to a very large number of people, and the global press, and, if cleverly explored, to the live entertainment industry (especially in concert form, thus ConcertOnAWing.com).  All of this will provide a lot of very positive visibility of the airline's bird and livery, yielding considerable promotional benefit to the airline.  My challenge is to convince an airline firm that this possibility is worth the value of one of their retiring aircraft, or at least highly favorable terms for its acquisition, and I hope to be able to do so.

2.  Currently Shintomi Airport (Nippon) related physical logistics appear to be almost trivially easy, and perhaps the airport adjacent land there there is rather inexpensive (or might become available under very favorable terms).  It's not an ideal location for me personally or some of the end goals of the project, but it's good enough - it's an esthetically attractive area with some unique charm, and is sufficient to support wing concerts and other special events.  And preliminary evidence suggests that the Shintomi community will love the project - its unique attributes would add welcome excitement and enthusiasm to the rural community.  We're also considering Nichinan at this time, and may consider other options soon.  (Frankly if we're successful in any relatively outlying location a second project in a Miyazaki intimate location might garner broad support.  And our Miyazaki team would then be more cohesive and experienced and thus well able to execute a second project with even greater efficiency.)

3.  It might be possible to assemble most of the initial labor for the project at very low cost.  That's the current situation by simple evolution - those now involved have been volunteering their time, energy, and considerable talents with only joy for 'a piece of the action' as their reward.  There are limits to this of course, but we might be able to leverage that joy for most of the initial project planning work.  My hope is that I'll be able to afford to pay salaries for the more intensive direct team work when it becomes necessary, and think that likely.

For the longer term I suspect the home can become a source of modest but sufficient income from press activities, wing concerts, and other special events to support the labor required to organize and manage those events, plus perhaps enough to contribute some monetary reward for volunteers who helped make the project possible.  The core goal for the project is to create a semiprivate home for me and loved ones.  However, it will support the community as well, and international press will be enthusiastically welcome.  Some press activities, such as news or chat programs broadcast from the aircraft cabin and flight deck areas for perhaps a week or a month, might generate a modest profit.  While initial wing concerts will likely be developmental in nature and thus not profitable, or only very modestly so, potential to build the enterprise into a reasonably profitable venture might develop.

And other opportunities for at least modestly profitable ventures might be discovered as the project develops and matures.

My primary hope is that my investment positions will recover in value soon enough to allow me to fund this project on a far more direct basis and with a far more liberal budget.  But we can't simply wait in the meantime - 747-400s are being retired at a rather rapid pace, and I suspect engines are removed from most rather promptly afterward, rendering them incapable of a ferry flight and thus useless for this project.  Or they're utterly destroyed in a scrapping process (which I view as an intensely unwise misuse of a remarkable human resource).  So we must move forward before this particular aircraft model becomes too scarce.  And I'm 66 and thus am in a personal morality race.  Ultimately young blood must carry this conceptual torch much further than I can, but this initial well executed concept demonstration project is extremely important to me as a life fulfillment matter.

And I genuinely believe there is an abundance of unique opportunity for every entity involved.  It should be possible to forge highly productive partnerships in which everyone reliably derives substantial benefits.  I hope we can make that so.  And rather promptly.

Bruce Campbell

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