Hollowed-Out Jet Engine Camper Took 6 Years, 1,000 Hours to Build

A mechanic gutted this jet engine nacelle and converted it into a sleek family camper.
Brad Bergan
1, 2

Many things are done with grounded aircraft — some rust away in airplane graveyards, while others are sold away to newcomer airlines. But in the time of the coronavirus crisis, people are finding new uses for unused planes, including one mechanic who converted a 1967 Vicker VC10 airliner engine nacelle into a customized camper that fits on a trailer — or as British people call it — a caravan, according to a YouTube video.


Mechanic converts jet engine into customized camper

The aerospace mechanic behind the novel camper — Steve Jones — gutted the engine housing of a Vickers jetliner, specifically number XV104, which served in the U.K.'s Royal Air Force for almost 45 years.

It was retired in 2012 with 38,383 total flight hours.

Jet Camper Pod
An outside view of the converted camper, which is mobile. Source: The VC10 caravan pod / Facebook

The airframe was sent to a scrapyard under the purview of an acquaintance of Jones' — who Jones asked for the engine, to convert into a customized camper, reports The Drive.

Jet Camper Interior
The interior features a comfortable dining area and a mini-kitchen. Source: The VC10 caravan pod / Facebook

Jones has built several campers in the past, but reports say this one was the trickiest yet.

Jet Camper Construction 1
Jones enjoying wine in the converted jet engine nacelle. Source: The VC10 caravan pod / Facebook

It took him more than six years and 1,000 hours of hard labor, but throughout he kept his attention to detail — which we can assume paid off not because we like the photos, but because his work made a TV cameo on the British architectural show "George Clarke's Amazing Spaces."

"I've converted lots of camper vans and caravans over the years, and used all that experience in designing and building the pod," said Jones to The Drive.

Jet Camper Kitchen
The converted jet engine features a quaint kitchenette. Source: The VC10 caravan pod / Facebook

"I'm always doing weird and wacky builds, and I wanted to make something that everyone goes WOW! (sic) I think I've achieved that now."

Most Popular
Jet Camper Construction 2
Jones' team cutting parts for the camper. Source: The VC10 caravan pod / Facebook
Jet Camper Entryway 1
Jones shows how the entryway opens in two steps. Source: Steve Pod imovie V2 / YouTube

Jones' one-of-a-kind nacelle camper

Jones' nacelle trailer is likely the first-of-its-kind in the world, and has already raised offers to buy it for more than $31,000.

Jet Camper Entryway 2
The bottom part also opens to allow easy entry. Source: Steve Pod imovie V2 / YouTube

Since it cost Jones $4,400 to build, the sale would make it a significant profit margin, so long as we don't divide the difference by six (years) and compare it to an average engineering salary.

However, Jones isn't in it for the money.

Jet Camper Other Side
The other side of the converted jet camper shows how Jones left the essential sleek minimalist look of the nacelle. Source: Steve Pod imovie V2 / YouTube

"This is for myself and family to enjoy over the next few years," said Jones to The Drive, adding that he doesn't plan to build a second one — mostly because extra VC10 nacelles are not easy finds.

Jet Camper Front Window
The front window offers campers a panoramic view of the landscape. Source: Steve Pod imovie V2 / YouTube

"I can't get any more as they've all been scrapped, but I've got a few plans to build a Boeing 747 engine nacelle into a static caravan with two levels," said Jones to The Drive. "That nacelle will take around the same amount of time."

While the VC10 isn't around anymore, it certainly has an interesting history. And, as additional aircraft are grounded and retired — whether from coronavirus and market interference, or global climate change and the global move away from fossil fuels — we may see customized campers of even more impressive varieties in the future.

message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron