Volunteer Eric Watkiss and project manager of the Saving Amy Project which aims to restore a original WW2 Airspeed Oxford Trainer aircraft in memorial to Amy Johnson tells us about one of the skills he has learnt whilst this project has progressed.
When we started to assess the damage to the airspeed oxford components we discovered that some of the components needed replacement or repair and as there were no replacements available at the time repair was the only option.
So not to be detered by this Eric investigated how replacement parts could be manufactured.
One option was to learn the skill of Sandcasting replacement parts with the use of a specialist sand and molten waste aluminium.
Eric picked up the rudimentary information of how to sand cast aluminium items from social media forums and set about producing a number of trial pieces before attempting to produce the parts required.
The first major component that required attentions was one of the two Cockpit Control Yokes, which had a missing horn or handgrip.
Eric took a casting from the other intact control yoke and successfully cast and fitted the new grip section to the damaged yoke.
This lead on to the casting of other components that were missing or damaged beyond use such as Instrument panel attachment points, Brake levers, Control Column Spigots, bellcrank lever assemblies, Spitfire Flap levers and windscreen opening wheels and ME109 Control Grips. (All not serviceable for flight he adds but suitable for ground display items).
Eric was then approached with some waste alloy material from a Vulcan Bomber, which was scrapped at Blackpool airport to see if he could cast a miniature Vulcan from this material as a keepsake for a former Vulcan ground crew member which was duly presented to him on his 80th birthday