Discovery Air Innovations to buy hybrid airships

by MM&D staff

YELLOWKNIFE: Discovery Air Innovations Inc. (DAI) has signed a deal to buy hybrid airships from British-based Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd. (HAV). Through the agreement, HAV will grant DAI multiple aircraft delivery options and a purchase agreement should be complete in 2012. Production and delivery of the first operational heavy lift hybrid air vehicles will take place in 2014.

“Hybrid Air Vehicles will dramatically improve existing supply chains for large industrial projects in hard-to-reach places and enable economic development where it was previously not viable,” said Paul Bouchard, president of DAI.  “We are extremely pleased to partner with a company like Hybrid Air Vehicles to deliver this revolutionary product to the market.”

The helium-filled hull creates aerodynamic lift, said DAI, which when combined with thrust engines enables vertical takeoff and landing, as well as precision hover. The hovercraft landing system allows for multi-surface operation and load transfer on land, water, ice and snow, while roll-on-roll-off cargo load capability facilitates heavy load operations. The aircraft will carry a payload of 50 tonnes delivering cargo point to point, without the need for a runway, the company said.

“The introduction of a Heavy Lift Air Vehicle is very exciting,” said Victor Tootoo, co-chair of the 2010 Northern Economic and Sovereignty Infrastructure Conference. “With its large lifting capacity, low emissions and the fact that it reduces the need for infrastructure, it is exactly the kind of solution Nunavut needs to promote economic development while at the same time respecting the environment and the land.”