AbstractAs part of an ongoing process to fully assess the potential for friction stir welding (FSW) to be used in the aerospace industry, an attempt was made to produce double sided FSW joints at traverse speeds equal or higher than 5 mm/s of AA2050-T84 12.7 mm thick plates for high-volume production applications. With an emphasis on weld quality, the local and global mechanical properties were evaluated and correlated with microstructure of the welding area. Sound welds with no volumetric defects were obtained for tool traverse speeds up to 12 mm/s, resulting in yield and ultimate tensile strengths corresponding to 65% and 77% of base material, respectively. The metallurgical and mechanical characterization demonstrate that density of Cu-rich precipitates has a first order effect on micro-hardness variation. In the stir zone the dissolution temperature of this precipitate is achieved and its volume fraction is greatly reduced. The remaining precipitates seems to be partially dissolved and undergone a significant thickening at the welding zones in which the process temperature has not reached the dissolution temperature. Weld fractures after tensile tests were observed to start in the region of hardness minima.