After spending his first five years at Airbus in hydraulics system testing, company engineer Xavier Guillot was looking to expand professional horizons. A perfect opportunity came in 2014 with his selection to be part of Airbus’ innovation partnership with the ORACLE TEAM USA sailing squad.
Calling the selection a “turning point” in his career, Guillot has since relocated from Airbus’ St. Martin campus in Toulouse, France all the way to the Atlantic island of Bermuda – where he is one of two Airbus engineers, along with Xavier Pol, on-site as ORACLE TEAM USA prepares to defend its title in the 2017 America’s Cup competition.
ORACLE TEAM USA has won the previous two America’s Cup competitions (in 2010 and 2013), and will attempt a third consecutive victory during the upcoming 2017 edition – which will be held June 2017 in Bermuda.
As the team’s Official Innovation Partner, Airbus is sharing the know-how of its experts in areas that include aerodynamics, instrumentation, simulation, composites, structures, hydraulics and data analysis. In parallel, Airbus benefits from the innovative approach of a world leader in sailing technology in their quest to retain the America’s Cup.
"We have a lot of knowledge about hydraulics systems testing and about many different kinds of hydraulics systems,” said Guillot when asked what his testing skills bring to the team. “That will be important as boat testing begins and we have a relatively short timeframe to capture the results and make sure the boat performs as expected. The team needs to be confident that if they do this, the systems will do that."
Initially he was unsure what the sailors expected of him and his aviation colleagues. “But when we first met [them], they said, 'This new boat embeds complex systems, you're familiar with such systems and we have to learn, so if you know something, speak up,’” Guillot added. “We knew then that we had gained their confidence."
Guillot arrived in Bermuda during September and will remain on-site for one year.
More on the ORACLE TEAM USA partnership