Artist plans to bury Boeing 727 in Calif. desert

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A Swiss artist plans to bury an intact Boeing 727 jetliner in California's Mojave Desert and build a tourist tunnel to give visitors a chance to view the underground project.

Christoph Buchel has applied for a Kern County conditional-use permit that will allow him to bury the 153-foot-long decommissioned airliner west of Boron. It's not far from the desert's aircraft boneyard.

The Bakersfield Californian reports the project, dubbed "Terminal," already has planning department staff approval. Scott Denney, operations division chief for the county Planning Department, said there has no opposition to the project, but a lot of inquiries about it.

The jetliner would be buried 38 feet below the surface. This brings up issues like soil load on the windows and pressure on the wings that engineers have to tackle.

Visitors will be able to experience the subterranean art project via an underground tunnel connecting the plane to a parking area. They'll be able to use the plane's restrooms, which will be connected to a septic system.

The plane will have all potentially hazardous material including engines and jet fuel removed. The interior will keep the appearance of a commercial airline, while new electrical plumbing and ventilation systems will be installed.