Randolph AFB – the World’s Most Symmetrical Military Installation?

randolph air force base symmetry  Randolph AFB – the World’s Most Symmetrical Military Installation?(Image via Google Earth and TerraMetrics)

Part of Joint Base San Antonio, Randolph AFB in Texas is one of the most architecturally appealing and arguably the most symmetrical of all US military installations. Arising soon after the Air Corps Act of 1926, Randolph Air Force Base is bound by two large runways, with a central approach road leading to the Randolph Field Historic District – a National Historic Landmark.

randolph air force base  Randolph AFB – the World’s Most Symmetrical Military Installation?(Image: Shane.torgerson, cc-sa-3.0)

Military facilities are steeped in history, but it’s not often that a serving base is also considered a historic landmark.  In the case of Randolph AFB, the district includes 350 contributing buildings and 47 non-contributing buildings in a 405 acre area.  The majority of the structures – including a historic control tower – date from 1929 to 1932.

Abandoned Boeing 727 Becomes Exclusive Costa Rican Hotel Suite

costa verde hotel 727  Abandoned Boeing 727 Becomes Exclusive Costa Rican Hotel Suite(Image: Cherie Stafford, cc-nc-3.0)

Converting redundant passenger aircraft into hostels, hotels and houses has become more common in recent years, not least the Jumbo Hostel in Stockholm or the incredible recycled Wing House project in California. Now, guests at the Hotel Costa Verde can experience Costa Rica’s most exclusive suite in the form of a recycled Boeing 727.

costa verde hotel 727 hotel  Abandoned Boeing 727 Becomes Exclusive Costa Rican Hotel Suite(Images: Hotel Costa Verde)

The vintage passenger plane, built in 1965, was operated by South Africa Air and later Avianca Airlines (Colombia). But after (seemingly) ending its days in a San Jose aircraft graveyard, the tired airframe was salvaged piece by piece and transported to Hotel Costa Verde on five big-rig trucks.

costa verde hotel 727 hotel 2  Abandoned Boeing 727 Becomes Exclusive Costa Rican Hotel Suite(Images: Hotel Costa Verde)

Perched on a 50 foot pedestal, the 727’s interior is decked out in Costa Rican teak, while the two air conditioned bedrooms boast queen sized beds, private baths and flat screen TVs. It’s not the only aircraft house or plane hotel around, but the hand-carved furnishings and scenic ocean and jungle views from the hard wood deck atop the aircraft’s right wing certainly make it one of the most exclusive examples of post-service aircraft design.

Bizarre-Looking “Aircraft House” in Abuja, Nigeria

plane home abuja  Bizarre-Looking “Aircraft House” in Abuja, Nigeria(Image: Jonathan Blundell, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

Journalist Jonathan Blundell snapped a photo of this bizarre looking “aircraft house” outside the Nigerian capital Abuja.  Presiding over what appears to be a pleasant hillside villa, the aircraft replica forms a portico above the front door of the building.  A door beneath the starboard wing likely provides access to a roof deck.  Not a plane home in the true sense, this odd accessory nevertheless falls into the same category.

Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel

jumbo hostel  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Images: Stefan Sjögren, cc-sa-3.0; jingdianjiaju1 (inset), cc-sa-3.0)

In these times of escalating travel costs, an economy seat on a Boeing 747 is going to set you back a few quid.  But ironically, an entire bed on this retired Jumbo is ideally suited for budget travellers and aviation enthusiasts alike. Known as the Jumbo Hostel, the decommissioned 747-200 boasts 27 bedrooms equipped with wireless internet and flatscreen TVs. With the exception of Air Force One, it’s arguably the most comfortable 200 series 747 in the world.

jumbo hostel cockpit suite  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Image: Lioba Schneider, reproduced under the Free Art License)

Located at the entrance to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in Sweden, the Jumbo Hostel offers 24 hour service and features a cafe where guests and non-guests can enjoy breakfast – served on airline trays, of course. For a little extra exclusivity, guests can book the “Cockpit Suite”, a twin bedroom located on the flight deck with ensuite bathroom and even the remains of the 747’s flight controls.

jumbo hostel 3  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Images: jingdianjiaju1, cc-sa-3.0)

This Jumbo Jet was originally built for Singapore Airlines in 1976 before serving with Pan Am. The plane’s final operator, Swedish airline Transjet, collapsed in 2002. Authorities consented to the 747’s conversion to a hostel in 2007, and work began ripping out the original 450-seat interior and installing 70 beds in 27 bedrooms, while adhering to modern building regulations and energy standards. The hostel opened in 2008.

jumbo hostel 2  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Image: Brorsson, cc-sa-3.0)

At the Jumbo Hostel, guests can monitor flight information from the comfort of their own rooms, while the terminal buildings are just five minutes away. This Jumbo, which featured in our companion site’s article about creatively recycled and DIY 747s, is one of the lucky older model versions to have escaped the scrap heap, and stands resplendent in a fresh new livery today.?