hould you find yourself flying in an Airbus A320 on your next trip abroad, then here’s a little-known trivia you might like to know: those doors that you just passed through are made in India. Specifically, from Bangalore. 

Since 1994, the Hundstan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) based in Bangalore has been supplying the passenger doors for Airbus A320 aircrafts. HAL, which is wholly government-owned, is now a major supplier of A320’s doors, including cargo doors. HAL is responsible for half of all the forward passenger doors of this plane. 

HAL is also manufacturing components for other global aircraft giants such as US planemaker Boeing and European chopper company Eurocopter. 

We were given a tour inside HAL’s assembly floor. There was an assembly line of door parts from production all the way to how they are put together and tested for quality control. I never realized how much work goes into producing a single airplane door. 

A HAL executive showing Hal of Malaysia Reserve (in turban) a door in its bare-bone condition. 
Assembly parts laid out on a table while a HAL executive explains how they all work.
We saw a glimpse of how a single door (made of aluminum steel) is assembled in 6 stages, from its barebones state to its fully-loaded finished product. 

The journalists checking out a door that's being formed together at HAL's assembly area. 
I asked one of HAL’s executives if they place a label somewhere on the door indicating that it is made in India. “You know, like how China labels their products ‘Made in China.’ This way, people would know that the doors are made in India,” I said. 

But of course such labels are not allowed by the Airbus company. 

Too bad, I thought. 

HAL’s total 103 workers labor in two shifts, to make sure that it meets its quota of 20 sets (left and right doors) per month or 240 per year. A total of 2,000 sets have already been sold since 1994. 

“Any Airbus A320 flying the skies will have one set of doors from India, that’s for sure, because we are the major supplier of doors for them,” explained our guide from HAL. 

But it’s not just doors that’s flying the skies from India. They are also producing their own choppers and fighter fleets. Approximately 67% of their fighter fleets and 85% of their service fleets are built by HAL.

From HAL's assembly area we drove to their hangar, where we were met by their Dhruv choppers and (ahem) cute pilots.

That's the Dhruv on the left and a cutie on the right. :-)
The Dhruv is a utility helicopter that HAL developed and manufactured. It is now being exported to other countries for military and commercial uses. 

Notice how the blades are not drooping to the ground when it's on standby? That's because of the
hingeless composite main rotor system. 

India’s choppers make use of a hingeless composite main rotor in its blades, a system developed by India’s engineers. Our guide’s explanation of how it works just went over my head (choppers are, after all, a man’s toy), but what I understand is this technology does not cause the copter’s blades to droop when it is on standby and makes it fly faster with lesser noise. 

And while on air, assuming that there’s someone crazy enough (terrorist, perhaps?) to throw a stone at the rotating blades, it will just bounce off. It won’t disrupt the blade’s motors because it’s covered. No hinges, remember? 

Wouldn't this make the perfect Presidential chopper for P-Noy? 

Since we couldn't bring home a chopper for freebies, we had to settle for a group photo beside a Dhruv. 
HAL’s tagline during their presentation earlier for the ASEAN journalists read: “For those who’ll rule the sky will rule the world.” My next, and last, post on the 7DII series will bring you to the stars, India style. 

This post is part of my 7 Days of Incredible India series. In case you missed the previous posts in this series, click on the following (at your own risk!) :

Please Stay tuned! Or if you want to be automatically notified when the next post goes live, please subscribe via email (form is at the homepage) or via Google Friend Connect (gadget below). Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful experience! And I really want to try riding a chopper!



Say hello! :-) Feel free to drop me a line or two. Or more. :-)