‘We get a lot of honks’: Inside a military helicopter turned into a camper

by | May 26, 2022 - 1:49PM | Gadgets, Lifestyle, Travel

The helicopter camper with its doors open.

A couple has turned an old military helicopter into an RV camper.

When US Coast Guard helicopter pilot Blake Morris spotted the main body of the aircraft on Facebook Marketplace in 2020, he snatched it up.

He and his helicopter pilot wife, Maggie Morgan, have been slowly renovating it since then, putting in more than 900 hours of work.

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The helicopter before it was renovated.
Image: helicamper_rv via Instagram/NBC15 News

You can follow their journey on their Instagram page @helicamper_rv.

“It was kind of a crazy idea,” Morris told NBC15 News.

“I asked Maggie and luckily she was very supportive. I was expecting her to say I was crazy, but she actually said that’s a great idea.”

The cockpit of the 1978 SA-330J Puma helicopter has been converted into a space Morgan could “come out and sit and drink [her] coffee and look out of the windows”.

They had to gut most of the interior, but the aviation theme remains with the toilet door coming from a plane lavatory.

And they didn’t need to skimp on the creature comforts of a modern home either.

The camper has outdoor speakers, an outdoor TV and cable hook up.

The helicopter camper with its exposed walls.The inside of the helicopter camper after being renovated.
Image: helicamper_rv/Instagram

Over their bed, the TV swings around so you can watch it lying down or from the kitchen.

Morris and Morgan were finally able to take their camper on the road last month.

And it draws quite a reaction.

Morgan says they get “a lot of honks” and “big thumbs up” whenever they take it on the road.

The couple has even dug into the helicopter’s history and was able to track down old photos of the aircraft via the serial number.

“It went to the German military police first, then it got bought from there and used in Afghanistan with US Troops for a few years then in came here in about 2011 back in the States,” Morris said.

Quick stats about the SA-330J Puma

  • Four-bladed, twin-engine helicopter
  • Developed by French army to carry up to 20 soldiers
  • Used in the Gulf War, Iraq War and Falklands War
  • Originally manufactured by France’s Sud Aviation, then by Aérospatiale

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