International forces bobsleigh team sled fixed in Rotherham

By Gareth Dennison | 18/12/2017

International forces bobsleigh team sled fixed in Rotherham
Members of the AMRC Composite Centre team with Cpl Brown and team mate Snr Aircraft Technician John Barnes

ENGINEERS in Rotherham repaired the RAF bobsleigh team’s sled ahead of an armed forces championships in Austria.

Experts at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s Composite Centre fixed a broken left wing which had put the sled out of action for months.

Now the air force team will be able to take part in the Inter Services Ice Championships in March 2018, held at the Innsbruck-Igls Olympic track.

Team manager Cpl Ross Brown was invited to the Composite Centre, at Catcliffe, after meeting development engineer Craig Atkins at an air show.

Cpl Brown said: “We took along three of our sleds and were delighted the AMRC agreed to assess the various ways the damaged sled could be improved and carry out the substantial repair work it needed to get it back into service.”

Bobsleighs are designed to be aerodynamic and reach speeds of 100mph in races. They can cost up to £50,000 because of their mixture of carbon fibre reinforced plastic, glass fibre reinforced plastic and metal chassis.

Composite technician Josh Oxley, who started at the AMRC as an apprentice in 2012, was given the task of repairing the sled.

He cut away a section of the sled, finding numerous old repairs, and used the skills and techniques he has learned to create a new piece.

Josh said: “This is the first composite repair I was tasked with since qualifying as a composite technician, so  it was a really exciting job to do. 

“I engineered a new bale that was lighter, which is important for the weight of the sled, but one that was also stronger and lessens friction on the track compared to a cast repair.

“It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction knowing I have repaired a sled that will be used by the RAF at the Innsbruck-Igls ice track. All of us wish them the best in bringing home a trophy.”

Cpl Brown said: “I was hugely impressed by the AMRC Composite Centre and the work carried out by Oxley went above and beyond what I expected.

“Structural integrity of a sled is paramount when travelling at speeds of up to 100mph down a concrete tube covered in ice. 

“Regarded as Formula One on ice, bobsleigh races are won or lost by hundredths of a second, so a quality repair is of the utmost importance to us.”


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