Airship Feasibility Study from 1978

Friday, February 26, 2016

Commissioned by the Province of Alberta!

This is a fascinating document that I found on the Internet Archives.
The Alberta Modern Airship Study was prepared for the Alberta Ministry of Transportation by the Goodyear Aerospace Corporation.

The study examines the realistic feasibility of using modern airships for transportation in Alberta. We had then, and still have today, large areas of the province that have narrow road access if they have access at all.

This study is packed with analyses, graphs, charts, and the technical feasibility of using airships.

Amazingly the study concluded that such use actually made sense!

Here is the conclusion (Spoiler Warning!)

The survey and ensuing economic case studies indicate that there are a large number of economically attractive applications for airships in the study area. It is apparent from the surveys and economic case studies that an airship operating company [rental service] is both necessary and economically viable.
The operation of airships within Canada is operationally a viable concept. Environmental factors, while severe in terms of cold, will not appreciably affect airship operations any differently than existing aircraft operating in Canada
The technology is available to successfully provide vehicles in the near term. Final definition of the vehicles can proceed immediately. Demonstration vehicles are needed to illustrate:
1) A lack of technical and operational risk to users
2) Economic viability
3) Regulatory agency compliance; and
4) To develop user awareness and confidence it is conservatively estimated that the following vehicle configurations and quantities could be supported by the study area :
Modern Conventional [Non-Rigid]       8 Vehicles
Modern Conventional [Rigid]               2 Vehicles
Heavy Lift                                            6 Vehicles

The earliest operational availability for the configurations considered during the study is:
Modern Conventional [Non-Rigid]       3 Years
Modern Conventional [Rigid]               8 Years
Heavy Lift Airship                                5 Years   

As in the case of the modern conventional non-rigid airships there appear to be two sizes of HLA vehicles having near-term applicability. An HLA with a useful load of 45,372 kg [50 tons] would find primary application in some remote construction activities, power line transmission tower erection, and the forest industry. The largest market in the study area for the HLA is probably in the 90,744 kg [100-ton] useful load range. The device would be used primarily in supporting large remote construction projects.
An excellent read and even though Goodyear obviously had a vested interest in selling Airships (they were the only ones making them in the 70s) they still covered all the bases.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.


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