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Thursday, November 14, 2013

House, you are cleared for takeoff

Several years ago, someone came up with the neat idea of taking a retired Boeing 747 out of the boneyard and making it into a house. A few closed highways later (747 wings don't exactly fit on the back of an F-150 pickup truck), and the house is now complete.

The results are more imaginative than just plopping an aircraft down on a lot, taking out the seats, putting in new carpet, and calling it done. Instead, this is a house that is made out of 747 parts, not just a 747 that was made into a house.

Architecturally, it is interesting in its own right, but what I find most interesting about it is actually being able to see the shape of the airfoil at the wing root. Since wings taper at the end, getting thinner and changing into a more flattened shape, and then hiding the rest of the aeronautical design in winglets at the tip, it is hard to see that the same Bernoulli-inspired design that you see in the generic textbook airfoil is also at the heart of the 747's wing.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that the same principles that apply to a little Cessna 172 also apply to a huge Boeing 747, but the pictures of this house make it blatantly obvious that they do. Physics is physics, and you can see that for yourself here with one of the coolest examples around at Houzz Tour: A Salvaged Airplane Becomes a Soaring Hillside Home.

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