Aviation pioneers float big ideas at fourth Arctic Airships Summit
Aviation experts from around the world will discuss the feasibility of airships in Alaska at the 2013 Cargo Airships for Northern Operations Workshop, July 10-12 at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium on the UAA campus.
Sponsored by NASA, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Northern Engineering and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, the event will facilitate high-level discussions about deploying cargo airships to move people, equipment and goods in one of the most inhospitable locations on Earth.
“Alaska could be a good proving ground for new heavy-lift airships that do the job trucks and barges can’t do. It is good that NASA and industry are joining with us again to see where this technology could help Alaska,” said Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is among the event’s keynote speakers.
For the first time in the event’s four-year history, Alaska is now able to have a serious conversation about airship feasibility in the Arctic. On the heels of the Paris Air Show, companies attending and presenting at the event have announced:
• Plans for a 12-aircraft fleet deploying to the Arctic, South America and South Africa
• Successful testing of a 250-ton payload capacity airship
• A vertical takeoff/landing aircraft capable of making deliveries without infrastructure support
• An airship that can takeoff and land on any flat surface, including water
• FAA’s move to certify a 500-ton payload capacity design before year’s end
Other announcements and major design advancements are expected to be revealed at this year’s event. In addition to domestic and international aerospace and aviation firms, a diverse collection of stakeholders will attend, including: state, tribal, provincial, and federal agencies; civilian and defense contractors; state representatives and policy makers; commercial shipping, mining and energy firms; and private investors and equity companies.
The workshop will feature presentations from:
• Pete Worden, director, NASA Ames Research Center
• Meera Kohler, president and CEO, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, Inc.
• Bob Boyd, hybrid airship program manager, Lockheed Martin Corporation
• Igor Pasternak, founder and CEO, Worldwide Aeros Corporation
• Dan Sullivan, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources
• Steve Hatter, deputy commissioner for aviation, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
• Lesil McGuire, state senator from Anchorage.
More than 30 sessions and presentations will discuss the potential for airships to support multiple markets and civilian needs in Alaska. These uses include mining, minerals and other resource development, as well as oil and gas exploration and operations. Uses also can support alternative energy development such as wind and hydroelectric generation. Similarly, commercial shipping firms in attendance have expressed significant interest in this technology. Large-scale carbon emissions reduction is another potential advantage cited by proponents, in addition to major environmental, atmospheric and scientific research uses that have been demonstrated by federal agencies such as EPA and NOAA. Humanitarian aid and disaster assistance remain prominent proven uses for airship technology.
For more information, registration or speaker and event details, visit the event website at: http://event.arc.nasa.gov/airships/2013Workshop
The UAF Institute of Northern Engineering is Alaska’s resource for cold region engineering research. Visit INE on the web at: www.ine.uaf.edu
NOTE TO EDITORS: Media are invited and encouraged to attend this event. In addition, multiple agency and private industry representatives are available for interview. Contact Rob Harper to arrange on location or phone interviews.