Flying High on Building Wild: Hilltop Hangar

This week on Building Wild, Mike and Wendy Steindl offer The Cabin Kings yet another interesting challenge in cabin building. Mike is a professional pilot and with the help of some of his flying buddies he’s determined to build an aviation-themed cabin, complete with a “control tower.” Driving out to the site with the bones of an old Cessna 172 to incorporate into the build, Paulie seems pretty excited about the possibilities. Tuffy, on the other hand, remains the consummate pragmatist. “Why can’t we do something easy once in a while,” he asks.

Building on the highest point of the 150-acre property overlooking New York and Vermont, the cabin is planned to be 22 x 16 feet and to look like a hanger with a curved roof and large garage door. In addition, there will be a re-purposed steel tank with a bedroom built on top that will mimic a control tower. Of course, there will be unexpected challenges.

When Tuffy arrives pulling the beast of a tank behind his tractor, everyone looks perplexed. Mike is having trouble imagining how a gigantic rusty tank and the fuselage of a Cessna are going to somehow come together as a workable and attractive cabin. And when Tuffy and Paulie bust a hydraulic line in his excavator while working to move the tank into position, it becomes even more questionable. The two bicker, strategize and somehow manage get the tower upright with a skip loader and Paulie’s truck.

The next challenge is fitting the plane’s fuselage into the cabin. The plan is to make it into sleeping quarters. Even after cutting the tail off, fitting it through the 10-foot door and aligning it inside the cabin is a squeeze. That’s not the biggest problem the Cabin Kings end up navigating, however.

Getting the completed bedroom lifted on top of the tower is sketchy work with an excavator, which was never meant to work as a crane. “These are the things I don’t tell my wife about,” says Tuffy, admitting that it was a dangerous proposition. “She’s scared for me. She doesn’t realize that I’m having fun.”

After being banished for the final 24-hours of the build, Mike returns to find that his “crazy vision” of a dream cabin is an actual reality. Outside, there is a small fire pit, a table made from one of the Cessna’s wings, and a weather vane shaped like aircraft. Inside, the wrecked Cessna has become a centerpiece. It is both a moving bar and a place to sleep. The hangar door lifts up into an awning where the crew move their bar and can enjoy a brew and the view.

The bedroom on top of the tower is a masterpiece of ingenuity. At least, getting it into place took a great deal of ingenuity. Wrap around windows give the room an amazing vantage point in a cozy space. Perhaps the most fun reveal is Tuffy’s automatic ball launcher for Mike’s dog Ellie. Tuffy drops a tennis ball into the contraption which chucks it out into the field. Ellie chases it down, brings it back and quickly learns to drop the ball in herself and keep the game going. She has her own personal canine cannon. Every member of the family and crew is flying high with their accomplishments.

Watch an accelerated view of the construction of the Hilltop Hangar cabin in this timelapse:

Tune in next week to Building Wild: Treehouse Cabin on Tuesday March 24 at 9/8c to find out what Paulie and Tuffy can accomplish next!


  1. Francis Casella
    March 26, 2015, 7:52 pm

    While my wife and I enjoy watching the accomplishments of the crew on the building of the cabin Tuffy’s bad language, especially the taking of the Lords name in vain is very offensive to us. He should have more respect for the Name of Gods Son. Tuffy, you can do better. Jesus loves you!