Air Cruisers can be a pilot's best ally if skies turn unfriendly. The company makes about 60% of the inflatable safety equipment, including life vests, life rafts, helicopter floats, and evacuation slides, used on the world's passenger planes, as well as many used on military and commercial aircraft. Its products were successfully deployed in the US Airways craft that landed on the Hudson River in 2009. Air Cruisers' lineup of rafts hold from four to nearly 60 people. A subsidiary of Zodiac Aerospace, the firm operates manufacturing facilities in the US, Mexico, and France; sales offices in the Asia/Pacific region, France, and the US; and service centers in France, Singapore, the UK, and the US.
Reportedly about every 10 days one of the Air Cruisers' slides is activated during flight evacuation. (Rafts are used, too, but less frequently.) Moreover, Air Cruisers asserts its company founder James Boyle invented the "Mae West" inflatable life jacket, made famous in WWII. (Other individuals are also credited with the invention.) Since then, the company has produced many other safety firsts, from the one-person life raft and the vacuum-packed inflatable life vest to the pressurized actuator system for simultaneously inflating multiple floatation pieces, patented in 2008.
Air Cruisers benefits from a roster of international manufacturers and operators of civil and military aircraft. The company's stream of federal contracts includes aircraft escape slides, as well as repair/modification of inflatable life rafts and support gear. Zodiac secured a sole supplier contract for escape chutes installed on Bombardier's new CSeries aircraft in mid-2010. Air Cruisers is leading the equipment's development and certification.
The company was acquired by Groupe Zodiac in 1987. Founded in 1935, Air Cruisers operates as part of Zodiac Aerospace's AeroSafety & Technology business segment.
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