PHOENIX — A product made right in the Phoenix area could save your life on an airplane one day.
The formal name is “evacuation systems,” but the general public knows them as the big plastic slides that pop out of airplanes every time there’s a hard landing or crash. They’ve been made in Phoenix at UTC Aerospace Systems for almost 30 years.
“We produce about 8,000 slides here a year,” Michael Stuart, a site leader with the company, said. “Some aircraft have up to 16 evacuation slides on them. Smaller aircraft typically have four.”
Martha Gonzalez, the operations manager for UTC’s Phoenix plant, said each slide is tested rigorously before it is shipped to any client.
“The first test in the process is the functional test,” she said. “Once the functional test is conducted, they take pressure; time and then the inspector will go around and make sure no parts were damaged.”
UTC Aerospace Systems makes both narrow and wide-body airplane slides. Some even have life rafts attached. Gonzalez said the bigger slides are usually used on international flights that travel over oceans.
UTC Aerospace Systems has been in Phoenix since 1989.