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What else would you do with the body of a retired military helicopter than turn it into a camper? Especially if you and your better half are former Coast Guard pilots. That’s what this Alabama couple did after finding a helicopter for sale on Facebook Marketplace. They made the “Helicamper” a livable camper, and it turned out better than you would imagine.

Why was the Helicamper built?

Builders Blake Morris and Maggie Morton with the Helicamper | Instagram

This out-of-commission helicopter-turned camper is the brainchild of Blake Morris and Maggie Morton. The old workhorse drew them in being Coast Guard pilots themselves. They were looking for a livable camper that they could tackle as a project together. And boy, was this a project.

Original shot of the Helicamper in use 1978 | Instagram

Morris and Morton were able to trace the history of the craft, too. This is a 1978 SA 330J Puma, built by SUD Aviation which ultimately became Airbus. It started out as a German military police copter. Later, the U.S. military used it in the invasion of Afghanistan. Eventually, by 2011 it found its way back to the U.S. 

How much time did it take to convert the Helicamper?

The start of the Helicamper’s interior | Instagram

They say they have over 900 hours converting the helicopter. The couple has devoted an Instagram account to their exploits along the way. Besides converting the cabin into a camper, they also had to fabricate the trailer frame to attach it to. 

Finished shelving | Instagram

“Outdoor speakers, outdoor TV hook up, cable hook up, we’re not roughing it for sure,” says Morris. “The TV swings around so you can watch that in bed, or when you’re making food in the kitchen.” Why not?

The Helicamper uses an aviation theme throughout

Helicamper under construction | Instagram

The inside is a combination of aluminum sheet wall coverings and cedar planks. The aluminum panels cover thick insulation, plumbing, and wiring, and keep the aircraft part of the vibe that runs throughout the Helicamper. In another nod to aviation, deck plank covered in clear epoxy was used for the countertops.

What other touches carry the aircraft vibe?

Finished interior | Instagram

Even the shower curtain has a helicopter motif. And some of the HVAC and audio controls use original compartments and control housings. Little things like a commercial jet lavatory gave up its door for the Helicamper’s bathroom door.

When they first started, the shell of the copter weighed 2,400 lbs. Part of the registration process included weighing the finished Helicamper. We don’t know what the final number came to. Overall, the trailer project took a year and a half to complete, with plenty of time off for family functions and living life. The camper completed its first trip in April 2022. 

The Helicamper is dog-approved | Instagram

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