Running out of inspiration or ideas for things to upcycle? Jon Salmon at AirTanker spoke to Air Charter Service about his experience with upcycling aircraft parts and how he turns old plane parts destined for scrap into trendy and wonderfully reimagined pieces of furniture. By giving these pieces a new lease of life instead of breaking them down for parts, they’re given a new purpose and a trendy look for modern day use. How chic!
ACS: What made you decide to repurpose plane parts?
Jon: I saw work by some US companies (like MotoArt) that do this on a large scale, such as turning engine cowlings (covering of a vehicle’s engine) into beds, or whole wings into tables. I figured that it would be a fun project if I could get hold of the right part of an aircraft.
ACS: What type of plane was this and how did you acquire the parts?
Jon: I purchased a cabin trolley from Air Salvage International at Cotswold Airport. They had stock from airliners that they scrap and I believe that my trolley came from an Airbus A310.
ACS: Does this particular model hold any special meaning for you?
Jon: The aircraft model itself doesn’t, but the knowledge that the trolley has flown around the world, being used to feed thousands of people over many years is quite special. A few months after finishing it, I was walking around Hong Kong at night and found a shop selling brand new trolleys for home use. Whilst they looked smart, clean and very professional, they certainly didn’t have the character or history of a real, slightly battered airline trolley.
ACS: What do you love most about your retired plane furniture?
Jon: I like the physical presence of the piece. When lit up, it provides a very interesting feature in the room and is actually quite a practical piece to use. It is very much a talking point when people see it, and very useful for storing things (in my case, wine and spirits).
ACS: Are you a big fan of aviation in general and if so, how did you get into it?
Jon: I have grown up around aviation all my life, and have been flying since age 18. My parents were both in the RAF and my sister is a Breitling wing walker so, overall, my family has covered lots of areas in the aviation world!
ACS: Would you recommend this for others?
Jon: Absolutely! Why buy manufactured furniture when you can spend time (and some money!) to create something completely unique? You can acquire parts through people like ASI, Everett Aero, or just search around on eBay.
ACS: Did you set this all up yourself? Tell us a little about the process.
Jon: The process was very time consuming, because of the way I went about doing it. I could have merely left the trolley the way was, however, I decided to repaint it and polish the metal edges to achieve a mirror finish. That required many hours of sanding, then polishing properly with a drill-based polishing kit. I fixed a chopping board to the top, fixed blue LED strip lighting inside and bought wooden shelves, which I cut to size in order to make shelves to fit wine bottles etc.
To find out how to get started, and to see more amazing images of upcycled aircraft pieces, visit Air Charter.