Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Voyager Airship by 21st Century Airships

21st Century Airships a Canadian Airship Development Company, is currently working on a new airship. Up until now 21st Century Airships has been famous for their spherical Airships. They also successfully licenced their technology to the US company Cyber Defense Systems. To see pictures and even a video of their original airship you can also check out a post on the Blog crashworks.
Now 21st Century Airships is working on a new Airship for tourism and sightseeing activities. On their website you can see some great pictures of the gondola which will accommodate up to 19 passengers. Of course such a new development needs a prototype. So 21st Century Airships has build a small scale 2 person prototype of the Voyager Airship which has already complete it's first test flights. Here are the recent announcement released by 21st Century Airships:
September 24, 2007
We have just completed the test flights for the scale version of the Voyager Airship. The Voyager Airship is a 19-passenger craft, purpose designed for sightseeing rides. As expected, the airship was extremely maneuverable and is able to perform VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landings). Steering and altitude controls are activated with a joystick, making the pilot's workload very light.

August 1,2007
Our latest airship is now ready to take flight. This distinctive looking airship is a two-seater, scaled-down version of our 19-passenger, sightseeing airship. It will act as a test platform for the many systems, with new and advanced standards, that we are incorporating into our airships.

Although this elongated-shaped airship has stabilizing fins, there are no moving surfaces such as rudders and elevators. Steering and altitude controls are affected by directed thrust from the engines, a system developed and patented by 21st Century Airships Inc. The main advantage of this new system is that it allows the airship to be highly manoeuverable at any speed from 0 to full. This airship has no elevator wheel or rudder pedals. Instead it is simply controlled with a joy-stick.

Test flights are scheduled to begin mid August 2007 near Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. After the initial test flights are completed, the airship will be used for demonstrations, as well as for collecting data for the ongoing Type Certification of our 19-passenger, sightseeing airship.
We quoted the two announcements here since we do not know how long they will stay up on the Website of 21st Century Airships. But make sure to check out the original website for more pictures of the prototype.
The Winnipeg Free Press article we talked about yesterday also mentions that 21st Century Airships is planning on flying the prototype to Winnipeg this coming fall. You can be sure we will be reporting about it when it happens.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lockheed announcing the P-791 offically ?

Bringing the first piece of news from the Airships to the Arctic Conference is the Winnipeg Free Press. They released an Article this Tuesday about the conference and possible announcements that might be made by Lockheed Martin about the Skunkworks P-791 project.
Like the wizards in the fictional world of the Harry Potter books who will not say the name of their nemesis out loud, company officials will not even utter the name of the project -- P-791.
But a Lockheed spokeswoman Melissa Dalton is quoted in the article saying:
the official's planned address for the conference will be about buoyant systems in general and not about the unmentionable P-791 in particular.

Read the full article on the Winnipeg Free Press Website for more details.

Part 3 of the "17th Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference" Commentary

Continuing our coverage of the 17th AIAA Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference we bring you the third part finishing Tuesday September 18th and going in to Wednesday September 19th. If you missed our previous posts you are invited to read
Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing on. As before this post is part of a longer Commentary written by Charles Luffman from LTA Solutions Ltd. Now enjoy reading Part 3.
Events of Tuesday 18 September (1st day of conference) - continued

LTA-3. The final (third) and longest session (with 5 speakers) from 15.30 – 18.00 was chaired by Michael Burns, also of Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., McLean, VA, USA. He also had been asked at a late stage to chair the session, due to unavailability of E Engleman Conners from the Federal Communications Commission in Washington DC, USA. Michael was another person who I didn’t previously know. It’s good to see new people spreading their wings, helping to generate interest in LTA aircraft, and that Booz Allen Hamilton is taking a leading role. His session concerned, High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Airship Technologies and Operation.

9) Michael’s first speaker, well known to everyone at that stage, was again Rajkumar Pant; clearly an industrious and knowledgeable chap with many hats, who also has further papers to be discussed. In fact, as detailed in the programme, Rajkumar was the representative of a team of people in India developing various airships – so was there as a representative of his associates (saving the expense for so many from India) to deliver the team’s effort. It was good to see the extent of the team’s efforts, showing that India is taking the initiative to become a leader in the technology. Nonetheless, this was more to do with providing transport and communication services in India, where LTA technology is seen to be an effective, environmentally friendly and relatively cheap way to do this. It was great to be able to learn more about this initiative, which I hope others will follow.

The paper presented by Rajkumar was about, Modelling and Simulation for Precision Navigation of Airborne Vehicles using Pseudolites Mounted on Stratospheric Airships. This showed that they have solved the equations of motion for a 6 degree of freedom (DOF) theoretical model and understand the control laws, so can use this now to enable autonomous control of real models in the stratosphere. I look forward to seeing their developments in this direction.

10) Patrick Hendrick from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, was Michael’s next speaker with a paper titled, Comparison of Propulsion Technologies for a High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Airship. This was to be one of two related papers from Patrick, with the other at the end of Michael’s session. Just how one may power an unmanned airship reliably for long periods (say 1 month to 1 year) at stratospheric heights is a real challenge. If one uses solar power, it’s not available through the night. If one uses fuel carried on board, then this is used up over time causing lift/weight imbalance – where gas would need to be released – and conventional engines need a good intake of oxygen for combustion, which is rare in the upper atmosphere. Patrick’s paper, like a good systems analysis, looks at the issues and provides recommendations that should enable HALE airships to fulfill their power needs reliably, so is important for those developing such systems.

11) Michael Lee from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, AL, USA and working with I Steve Smith Jr, of Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, I think were Michael Burn’s next speakers. I remember the paper about The HiSentinel Airship, because they actually did it on a low budget – producing the airship, getting it up to the stratosphere, flying around and later recovering it. This was a notable achievement, even though it was a model (with not much payload capacity) and didn’t stay up for long. Hopefully, this will enable them to develop bigger long endurance types able to carry useful payloads.

12) Masaaki Nakadate, the manager for LTA System Technology at JAXA in Tokyo, Japan, followed with his paper on the, Flight Approval of SPF-2 Low Altitude Flight Test Vehicle. With regards to the subject matter, this paper might have been better placed under Giles’ session, as it provided a good example of the issues one faces with the authorities concerning UAVs in civil airspace these days and the requirements that the Japanese Civil Airworthiness Board (JCAB) have determined. Masaaki’s presentation is therefore important to those who wish to develop unmanned airships, which also applies to HALE types where, in the stratosphere, there is confusion about the international airworthiness requirements that need to be developed.

13) Returning to the podium for his second and the last presentation of the day, Patrick’s subject, Developing a European Research Strategy in the High Altitude Aircraft and Airship Sector also reflected the need for new regulations to cover such aircraft. His paper, however, was more to do with providing a report following the several workshops and studies by the Use High Altitude Aircraft and Airships (Use HAAS) group.

Brussels was the main meeting location for this group who came from all over Europe and Patrick was one of its main organisers, who also included: Tim Tozer (not at the conference), University of York in the UK and Bernd Sträter, our conference chairman, who undertook much of the donkeywork to write the final reports. I also had contributed a little along with a host of people mainly from around Europe. The intention of this group was to arrive at a common strategy, raise awareness of the subject at government level and to try to get funding for research and development purposes in Europe. Patrick’s paper provides the background and conclusions/recommendations from the work of the Group. Let’s hope it leads to properly funded LTA aircraft developments in Europe that we can participate in as leaders in the field

Evening 1. It had been an interesting (although intense) first day, so light entertainment was needed. As part of the event coaches were provided for an evening visit to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, where food, refreshment and Irish hospitality (with music) was to be had. Unaccompanied, as I was at the event, I soon found an unused seat on the coach beside an interesting looking American lady in a similar situation, but attending the ATIO conferences, which led to good companionship at the museum and interesting conversation with others who we met there together.

This was good because many delegates there had their partners with them, so we fitted in well. Especially nice was to talk with Ron Hochstetler and his wife. Ron had been a buddy who worked on the US Navy airship project with me in 1986 and more recently was the former AIAA TC chairman – still providing sterling help. Ron had been a steady going bachelor for many years until his delightful lady embraced him. Having not seen him for some time, it was evident that his long wait for a good woman was worthwhile. Cheers for friendship and happiness in life together.

Events of Wednesday 19 September (2nd day of conference)

LTA-4. But the evening was soon over and the sessions starting promptly next morning at 09.30 again. This second day, however, was to be less demanding – with just two LTA sessions instead of three. The first session, about Unmanned Airship Design and Control, was chaired by Patrick.

14) Patrick’s first speaker was Thomas Kuhn, from the Technische Universität München, Garching, Germany, who presented his university team’s work concerning, Multidisciplinary Design Methods for the Hybrid Universal Ground Observing (HUGO) Airship. This gave a very good account of the university’s design, analysis and prototyping capability, showing a nice model lifting body arrangement they had determined – intended to be produced and flown at the university. Thomas also had been an organiser at the previous DGLR meeting, when he saved me from the wrath of the weather by taking me to my hotel during a hail storm with hail stones like bullets of 1 cm diameter. This is a design case that LTA aircraft designers should give attention to these days, because climate change is having some odd effects.

15) We were then introduced by Patrick to Ely de Paiva, who was from the Centro de Pesquisas Renato Archer, Campinas, Brazil, as the next speaker. He also was presenting on behalf of a team effort concerning, Nonlinear Control Approaches for an Autonomous Unmanned Robotic Airship. His paper was quite mathematical, showing three different approaches for solving the 6 DOF equations of motion and control law inputs. Clearly, they had this in hand and were progressing with an unmanned airship with autonomous control. Their reason for looking at so many solutions was to find a robust method that was not subject to inference, enabling a reliable system to be developed.

16) The third speaker in Patrick’s session, Chin Lin, from Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan (roc), again on behalf of his associates, provided input on a related aspect by showing us their work on, Flight Autonomous System Integration for LTA Remote Operation. However, this was more to do with the electronic components and the selection of micro chips for the computerised controls, i.e. the hardware involved.

17) Due to non-attendance of a speaker from the Italian group, the final paper of Patrick’s session on a, Mobile Ground Station for the Unmanned Elettra-Twin-Flyer Airship, was not presented. The session was therefore closed early, giving time for networking.

Mid-day 2. There was reasonably good attendance of the conference with numerous people there keeping an eye on developments and the possibilities that arise from such conferences. Delegates in the audience ranged from about 30 to 80 people. It was good to be able to talk and it was interesting to note who was there but not as a speaker or session chairman. To name a few, people such as: George Spyrou, CEO of American Management Services (AMS) in the USA, operators and developers of airships; Philip Yiin, CEO of the Airship Group in Malaysia, aspiring developers; Luke Brooke, a representative of Tensys Dynamics Ltd in the UK, a group specialising in the analysis of membrane structures (such as airship envelopes); Jean-François Rives, Director of Strato Tex, with interests in fabric structures; Erin Murrin, an assistant editor of Wiley, the publishers; and people from Queens university Belfast or other institutions in Ireland learning about LTA.

This concludes our third part. We will have at least one more if not two parts to wrap up our coverage. If you have questions or comments please don't hesitate to contact us.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Commentary on the "17th Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference" - part 2

Today we continue the commentary of the 17th Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference that we started yesterday. If you missed Part 1 just jump back to our previous post and read the Introduction. Today we continue with the first two days of the conference Monday September 17th and half of Tuesday September 18th. The whole commentary was compiled by Charles Luffman from LTA Solutions Ltd who is also part of the organizing committee of the First International Airship Investors Conference. But now enjoy part 2 of his commentary.
Events of Monday 17 September (not scheduled)

While advertised as being from Tuesday 18 September, the event actually got underway on the previous evening with registration (for those who had already arrived) and an impromptu TC group meeting at a pre-conference dinner. Many people with oceans to cross naturally arranged their travel at the weekend, so were there on Monday with time on their hands. This made the TC meeting possible although, because of the late advice, those with pre-booked flights who arrived late Monday or early Tuesday for the official start and could not easily reschedule their travel, to arrive sooner, weren’t able to attend. Consequently, there’s no commentary about the TC meeting.

Events of Tuesday 18 September (1st day of conference)

Michael Conners (of Booz Allen Hamilton Marketing, McLean, VA, USA), the LTA TC Chairman, who appears to be a relatively new person to the LTA community, got the conference underway at 09.30 Tuesday morning, 18 September (the time that I was due to deliver my paper, scheduled as the first speaker). This was the first time for me, at least, to have the opportunity of hearing him speak. He made a good start, but we were there for the conference papers, so it was also good that he kept his opening speech short. Nonetheless, there were things to explain (primarily about himself and Booz Allen, and what the conference was all about) and then the technical chairman for the conference Bernd Sträter, who is an established elder in the LTA community known widely (formerly CEO of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH) from Germany, had to be introduced.

Bernd then came on to make his opening speech and to say how the conference would be run (primarily the programme of events – attached, see the appendix) with session chairmen for each session. So this led to the introduction of Rajkumar Pant (an Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai, India), the first session chairman.

LTA-1. Rajkumar, who I first met in Denver 2003, then took over the podium to get the first session, concerning Airship Design and Propulsion, going. Naturally, he spoke about himself and his work in India, but quickly moved on to say there would be four speakers in the first session – starting with me. From the breakfast briefing earlier, we already had organised things, so we were prepared. Nonetheless, before proceeding, I had to be introduced and a short biography about me was given. The pattern of the conference was thus defined and I was then able to present my paper.

The various chairmen were all brief in their addresses but, inevitably, used up about 20 to 25 minutes of the session time (09.30 to 11.30 – 2 hrs between 4 people). The 30 minutes each, which we thought we were going to have, already was reduced.

1) The first paper, about my experiences in the design and development of undercarriages for LTA aircraft ensued. Lighter-than-air (LTA) Aircraft Undercarriages: The Author’s Experience. Instead of reading the paper, a power point presentation was given (the way most papers were subsequently delivered). This enabled one to speak about the different aspects while the delegates in the audience could focus on the main points and the pictures, which filled my pages. If folks would like a copy of the presentation arrangements can be made, details later.

I believe it made a good paper, covering many different types of undercarriages and the basic theory/logic necessary for their design. It had been my experience that most aircraft engineers I encountered in the LTA sector gave very little thought to the need for an undercarriage, just as most people give very little thought to the care of their feet, so there was a need to highlight the issues. One soon finds out just how important feet are when foot or leg injuries occur and it’s similar for aircraft – immobilised or worse. If attitudes and needs change then, when the LTA industry picks up, the paper may be useful.

2) Jens Ottmann, a student from the Hochschule Bremen (University of Applied Sciences), Germany, quickly followed with his paper about Measurements of Drag/Propulsion Interaction Effects on a Spherical Airship Model. He also was nervous and had been practicing prior to the event to get his English right – his English is sehr gut! I met Jens and his co-authors (Jürgen Bock and Uwe Apel) last at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DGLR – German Organisation for Air and Space Vehicles) workshop in Munich (June 2007). Thoroughly nice people.

Jürgen, now retired, I believe was first known in the LTA sector for his work on the Aereon deltoid lifting body types in the late 1960’s early 70’s (way before my time) and is co-author of the excellent book “Leichter Als Luft, Transport- und Trägersysteme”, ISBN 3-86180-139-6, first published in 2003 by Frankenschwelle KG. He also was a delegate at the conference and it was rather nice to see and talk with him.

Uwe (not at the conference) is a Professor at the Hochschule Bremen (head of research I think), who took over as chairman of the DGLR LTA Committee (S2.3) from Thorsten Lutz – announced at the DGLR workshop. The DGLR in Germany is a similar organisation to the AIAA in the USA. It was good to see that the Hochschule Bremen is active in LTA research of this kind and I look forward to hearing more.

Jens’ paper was well formulated and of importance to the LTA aircraft industry, since it looks at a system that should be adopted for heavy lift purposes in the future. Just a balloon some might say. Nonetheless, it is simple cheap concepts like this, rather than the complex hybrid types (needing considerable sums to develop) that may soon enable heavy lift operations that one can only dream about at the moment. Jens’ paper showed that large spherical balloons could have reduced drag and stabile flight at higher speeds through careful positioning of the thrust units. This work is mirrored at full scale by the spherical motorised balloon systems of 21st Century Airships developed by the Swede, Hokan Colting in Canada, showing their capability at full size.

3) Alexander Hirner (the next speaker), a young research engineer from the Institute of Aerodynamics and Gas Dynamics (IAG) University of Stuttgart in Germany, promptly followed. His paper on the Improvement of Propulsive Efficiency by a Dedicated Stern Thruster Design, also was an important topic for the LTA industry, since it dispels myths about the benefits, which (whilst small) were shown in his paper to be real, if an airship uses a designed for the purpose thrust unit at the stern. Alexander works with Thorsten Lutz (who didn’t attend the conference) at the IAG, where research in LTA aircraft ensues. Bernd Kröplin, Professor of the Institute of Statics and Dynamics (ISD) at the same university, also is active to advance LTA technology, leading several projects (most notably in the past, Lotte – a solar powered unmanned RC airship with a stern thruster). It was a pleasure to see Alexander’s work being advanced.

4) The last paper of Rajkumar’s session was presented by Silvain Michel of Empa, Duebendorf, Switzerland. This was entitled, Feasability Studies for a Bionic Blimp with a Fish-Like Propulsion System and undertaken in collaboration with Alexander Bormann of Aeroix, Kleinmachnow, Germany; M. Bernasconi, also at Empa; plus M. Zobel and E. Fink, Technical University, Berlin, Germany. I hadn’t met Silvain before but was aware of him and his work. I was pleased to see an articulate advocate with technical know how promoting this. Whilst perhaps not matching the LTA aircraft industry’s capability at the moment, which suffers through extremely poor funding and recognition, this was very interesting research work that shows how things may be developed. This is very important in a world that now recognises the effects of carbon emissions and the need for alternative ways that don’t degrade our environment.

Some of Silvain’s collaborators also were known to me, as I live near Berlin and have had the privilege to meet them in the Technical University (TU) there and to see their work. Alexander presented some of this in later sessions and it is interesting to see how these developments are also progressing. More later!

Mid-day 1. With the first session over at 11.30 punctually there was time to mingle and have lunch before engaging the second session at 13.00. Giles Camplin, my good friend and mentor, the next session chairman (put in at a late stage due to the withdrawal of A Elkins - unknown in the LTA industry to me, but allied to the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, Dahlgren, VA, USA) was down in reception having just arrived with his wife Christine (both active LTA people). This was perfect timing, giving Christine and I time to scoff while Giles was off preparing for the next session. Time, however, marches on, so it was soon back to the 12th floor with the curtains closed and that after lunch soporific feeling after good food and drink.

Giles deserves a word or two here because, although about the age of 3 score years now, he recently finished his PhD thesis and it was accepted, so he is now a Dr of the LTA business. His PhD subject was “Rediscovering the Arcane Science of Ground Handling Large Airships”, which took several years to finally produce with much sifting through archives and critical revue to provide a succinct account. Well done Giles! No doubt his thesis should be the foundation for anyone involved in new large airship developments, to save reinventing what has been done successfully before.

LTA 2. Giles’ session was about Low Altitude Unmanned Airships, a subject that interests many people these days, since they are perceived as a low cost long endurance way to conduct Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations. The problem here however is that they are restricted under civil regulations because of the danger UAVs pose to manned aircraft in the same airspace and to the public at large if things go wrong. On the other hand, military operators care less about such things and do not operate under such exacting requirements in a war zone. Even so, it’s not easy for the military to operate freely outside these zones, when they must comply with normal civil requirements. This therefore is an emerging business that people are trying to develop needing clear regulations to enable progress. The papers of this session were, no doubt, to look at how things are developing.

5) The session opened with a presentation by Rajkumar Pant titled, Design Fabrication and Operation of Low Cost Remotely Controlled Airships. This paper had been brought forward/swapped with a later paper to avoid double booking, where Rajkumar was scheduled to speak on another subject in the ATIO conference at the later time. It appears that the restrictions in flying such types are not as exacting in India (where this work ensues) as Europe or the USA. However, the work also appears to be more for test and development purposes, where flights were conducted safely away from populated areas and away from other aircraft. The paper shows the developments they are making, proving that these types can be easily produced and operated in a cost efficient way.

6) Giles next presenter, Masahiko Onda from Japan, who was scheduled to present a paper titled, Infrastructure Inspection LTA Robot with Cycloidal Propellers, regrettably didn’t attend. This was a shame, as he is a regular attendee at LTA conferences around the world, speaks well and has contributed significantly to LTA development. Also, Cycloidal Propellers, used by some boats (such as tugs), are an interesting concept for LTA aircraft because they should enable rapid thrust vectoring in any radial direction (360°) from a central axis under full power. Their development is therefore very important for the success of the LTA aircraft industry to improve control. Hopefully we will hear more from him on this work in the near future.

7) Rescheduled to the later time, Kimito Tanaka from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tokyo, who is a Senior Researcher in the associated Institute of Space Technology and Aeronautics, was the next speaker. His paper was entitled, Studies and Applications for LTA. Kimito gave us a lengthy paper, starting with background history about LTA developments in early times leading to modern day applications. He showed us many aspects of the developments now being undertaken. In particular, he showed us the material tests that have been conducted on several high strength materials: Kevlar, Vectran and Zylon. He also provided examples on the use of airships at high altitude and for carrying out sensitive gravity surveys. In addition, he showed us examples of aerodynamic analysis, modelling and water canal tests undertaken by JAXA. In conclusion, one could say that JAXA have the capability to handle many aspects and to do research necessary for a variety of LTA applications.

8) Whilst Giles had another final speaker scheduled for his session (from the Politecnico di Torino, Italy), regrettably there was nobody at the conference from that group. Their paper, titled, Fuel Cell Electric Power Generation System of an Unmanned Airship, is another important subject about the development of environmentally friendly power systems, which airships may employ most usefully to provide long duration power needs. Hopefully we will hear more about this in the near term. The session was therefore closed, giving us time for a good chin wag before the final session that day.

We hope you enjoyed our second part of our conference coverage. With this commentary we want to make the current research in Lighter Than Air Technology more visible to the public. If you got interested into one of the Papers mentioned above, or if you wrote one of the papers, contact us and we will go into more detail about the projects and research. If you happen to attend a Conference about Airships and Lighter than Air and would like to write a commentary about it, please contact us, since we can not be at every conference we need you as our correspondents. The next conference on the map is the Airships to the Arctic Conference starting this Monday in Winnipeg Canada.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Commentary on the "17th Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference" - part 1

Just a little over a month ago the "17th Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference" was held in Belfast by the AIAA our very own Charles Luffman from LTA Solutions Ltd was there and held the opening Session called "Lighter-than-air (LTA) Aircraft Undercarriages: The Author’s Experience." He took the time to attend all sessions and provides us with a detailed coverage and commentary about each session. In the coming days we will feature his paper. Since it is quite long we decided to break it down into multiple parts, to not overwhelm you by posting 14 pages at once. The full paper will be available as a download after we have posted all parts.
The first part today features the introduction and conference details, following will be the coverage for the sessions.
Conference Details

The LTA Technical Committee (TC) of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) held their 17th conference again with the Aviation Technology, Integration and Operations (ATIO) division’s conference, as a combined event from 18 to 20 September 2007, but in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, at the Hastings Europa Hotel – a 12 storey building, said to be the most bombed hotel in Europe, at the city’s centre. Times have certainly changed in Belfast, which was found to be a delightful location, inhabited by warm friendly people who made one feel welcome without reservation.

Ireland was a good venue for the event, enabling international visitors from around the world to attend. Indeed, there was good attendance by people who had travelled afar, including: many European countries, Japan, India, Taiwan, Brazil, Columbia, the UAE and, of course, the USA. It was rather nice to be together in a common purpose, graciously arranged out of the USA, benefiting us all. Especially nice was to see so many Americans with partners who might otherwise never have ventured out of homeland territory. There also was an “Accompanying Persons Program”, which must be American for “Partners Programme”.

The event was supported by several groups, notably: the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Aircraft Technology (CEIAT), who also held their 2nd International Conference on Innovation and Integration in Aerospace Sciences with the AIAA, making an overall magnificent occasion with many hundreds of people; Invest Northern Ireland, who treated us on the first evening to a well organised buffet at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum – with coaches provided for the about 20 minutes journey; Bombardier, allied with Short Brothers in Belfast, who also hosted the Awards Banquet on the second evening in the Grand Ballroom, which certainly was a grand occasion; Queen’s University Belfast, who also provided breakfast for speakers at their briefing session on the 2nd morning; and Emerald Engineering. In addition there was an extended Education Outreach session organised by W5, to bring together local students and aerospace professionals; and the AIAA conferences were extended by a following event to hold the 2nd Technologies for Energy Optimised Aircraft Equipment Systems (TEOS) Forum, held at the hotel on 21 September.

Whilst the hotel was large (needed for the joint conferences) it was filled to capacity, with no rooms vacant. Many delegates therefore had to find accommodation in other nearby hotels. This wasn’t a problem in Belfast and, while the AIAA had negotiated a reduced rate at the Europa, guests at other hotels perhaps were able to strike a lower priced deal. Being at the Europa, however, certainly put one in the scene.

Integration of the various aircraft disciplines to enable cross fertilisation has been one of the AIAA’s themes, which worked very well at the 2003 conference in Denver, Colorado (my last AIAA conference attendance), when the LTA and Balloon TC’s got together, and with other aircraft disciplines. The LTA conference on this occasion, however, was not so well integrated because related groups like the Balloon TC weren’t there and the LTA conference, held on the 12th floor in the Edinburgh Suite, was separated from the others, who convened on the 1st floor in the Grand Suites. Integration was possible though, mainly during break periods (between sessions) and the evening events, when I met with some interesting people – party on! The great things about the Edinburgh Suite though, were its tranquil atmosphere, lounge corridor wing (to sit restfully or meet with others) and panoramic views over Belfast.
Come back tomorrow to read more about day one of the event. Also check out the Website of LTA Solutions, to learn more about what Charles has to offer. We would also invite everyone to send us your comments, if you attended the conference give us your views and opinions. Do you agree or disagree with something said, please let us know. Also if you have not yet subscribed to the Blog please do so either by using a feed reader and subscribing to our RSS feed or subscribe by Email. In our process of organizing the First International Airship Investors Conference 2008 at the ILA in Berlin we are also still looking for your support. Please contact us if you want to contribute to the conference by donating or sponsoring or if you want to hold a session as a speaker or just simply want to attend. We will start taking early bird pre-registrations for the conference as of November 2007.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Airship news round up

We are from Vacation and starting to clear the tubes a bit, so tonight we are bringing you a few stories that surfaced in the last few weeks, some might not be really current as of today but just for completeness we try to cover everything we can find. Check back regularly since we are going to publish quite a bit over the weekend.
  1. Sanswire's airship comms platform looks like a bag of hot air
    This first item talks about Sanswire and their airship concept, summing up the history from 2004 till today. To me it's not clear if Sanswire is still in Business or not i have not checked their website since our post about the LA County Sheriffs to levy and seize Globetel's Stratellite Airship
  2. The Aeros 40D S/N 40D-21 Sky Dragon airship gondola roll-out
    As you might guess from the Title of the second article this one talks about Aeros who created quite some press with their Aeroscraft in the last few weeks. But this article speaks about their more down to earth already existing Aeros 40D Sky Dragon and the Gondola that was built for the next model. All critizism aside, that Aeros might have faced, they have a certified airship and they are producing, which is something you can say of very few Airship companies nowadays.
  3. That Blimp Rarer Than You Imagine
    This article talks about the Horizon Blimp that is flying around in New Jersey. What I found interesting about this article is what can only be read between the lines. There is currently no passenger service on any airship in US skies. You can not buy a ticket anywhere. But this is what Brian and Alexandra Hall from Airshipventures are going to do, the certification of the Zeppelin NT is on it's way, the Airship is built in Friedrichshaefn right now, so 2008 seems to become a very interesting year for Airships, maybe in a few year we are not talking 10 or 20 airships worldwide but more than 50. The demand is there they just need to get built.

Monday, October 8, 2007 Blimp at Cardington Sheds

The Skyship 600 (SKS 600 N605SK) lately known as the blimp that toured Poland this summer. Returned to Cardington this week. In one of our previous posts our readers kept track of the airship via the comments as it was flying over Belgium and France on it's way to England. This marks the end of the promotional tour of the Skyship 600 that left Cardington as the Spirit of Dubai in late 2006 and then got the new Branding in May 2007. I like to thank ragtag04 for shooting some great pictures of the airship as it arrived at Cardington. Also available in his flickr profile are pictures of the Spirit of Dubai leaving Cardington.
Click the following links for the pictures of teh Blimp by Ragtag04:
-Airship activity
-Airship at Cardington
-Airship manouvres
-Allegro ad on a Skyship.
-Busy scene at Cardington

Note: As you might have noticed the posts are currently less than regular. This is because I am on vacation right now, not having the time and infrastructure to post daily. But stay subscribed, I will be back full throttle in November. Until then, take a look into the archives, there is more than 100 posts to read through and if you haven't read Airshipworld from the bginning there might be some interesting stuff for you to find.