Big Lake resident prepares to transport cargo plane via Glenn Highway with plans to renovate into an Airbnb

The Boeing 727 will be converted into student housing and an Airbnb
The Boeing 727 will be converted into student housing and Airbnb
Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 7:02 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Boeing 727 cargo jet will be making an overnight commute out to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough sometime in the coming days.

The plane, donated by FedEx to the University of Alaska’s Aviation Technology Division, made headlines for its 2013 landing at Merrill Field in Downtown Anchorage.

Jon Kotwicki, the owner of FLY8MA Flight Training in Big Lake, purchased the airliner as part of a housing project for students who attend the training facility. The 727 will join a DC-6 and DC-9 already parked at his property, and has big plans in store for it.

“That is our flight school that we are building there off of Hawk Lane and Big Lake,” Kotwicki said. “[The planes] will serve as student housing for students who are coming to do flight training with us from afar as well as an Airbnb.”

But before Kotwicki can begin work transforming the aircraft into a livable space, he needs to truck it out to the Valley. The flight instructor has been working with a small crew of people, removing the wings, nose, and tail of the aircraft in preparation for the big move.

The hope is to have everything ready for transport Wednesday evening, but that is tentative.

The route will include departure from Merrill Field, taking Debarr Road to Boniface Parkway before merging northbound on the Glenn Highway.

“Then Glenn Highway to the Parks, on through Wasilla, hang a left at the flashing light at Hawk Lane and we’ll be home free,” Kotwicki said.

According to Kotwicki, the entire journey is expected to take around six hours, with speeds averaging around 10 to 15 mph. The intent is to depart the Anchorage airfield at 10 p.m.

“We’ll avoid the busiest times, for sure,” Kotwicki said. “But certainly, if you’re driving late at night on the Glenn in the next few days, give yourself a little extra time.”

Pilot cars will be traveling with the cargo jet to help direct traffic heading northbound at the same time. Kotwicki said there are a number of exits they will have to take to avoid going under certain overpasses due to height restrictions.

Kotwicki hopes to have the housing and Airbnb facilities up and running by next year.