Converting a 1944 Beachcraft C18 World War II Airplane into my Personal Travel Trailer
July 8, 2016
The whole purpose for this project is to convert a plane fuselage into a functional art sculpture travel trailer. Airstream Trailers were originally based on the airplane monocoque fuselage concept. I've always been amazed with the element of early aviation design. This fuselage was purchased at an aircraft graveyard in Denver, Colorado in 2014, the aircraft graveyard no longer exists. The aircraft graveyard was an integral part of Denver since 1950, another iconic gem for finding old interesting pieces that I utilized to construct into art forms. My intention with this airplane project is to travel through the Southwest and sleep in it, along with my dog, interviewing interesting people along the way and engage them by utilizing the plane once completed into a traveling sculpture, as well as a platform for promoting myself as an artist.
The C18 mounted on trailer, along with Nemo, a Malemute, in Big Fork, Montana.
Pilot view of cockpit.
Originally the floor to ceiling height was only 4'6", I'm 6', I didn't want to have to bend down all the time while inside. So, I cut out the floor, raised the frame of the fuselage by 2', then enclosed the gap of the exposed frame to the trailer bed and now I can stand up inside.
Where the wings originally were bolted, I've decided to create a organic, yet futuristic cowling. Inside this cowling will be extra storage that can be accessed. The front of the cowling will contain two propane tanks, one on each side, one will be for the BBQ, the other will be for internal heat. The hubcaps on the trailer wheels will be vintage spun aluminum, similar to the old Lakester drag cars of the salt flats from the 40's and 50's. The overall appearance, once completed, will resemble somewhat the original plane fuselage design, combined with my own interpretation to start morphing into Jules Verne-esque spaceship on wheels.
Here I am imagining how the machine gun barrels will look on the side of the fuselage against the polished aluminum.