Airships to the Arctic I: Conference Proceedings

Airships to the Arctic I: Conference Proceedings

Held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – October 22 – 24th, 2002


By: Dr. Barry E. Prentice Director, Transport Institute I.H. Asper School of Business University of Manitoba

This Symposium was conceived as a means of bringing together all interested parties for a first hard look at the use of airships for northern transportation. The original vision for the Symposium was expressed by the late Hon. Ron Duhamel, former senior Federal Minister for Manitoba. Mr. Duhamel recognized the potential of airships to fill many gaps in our transportation to the north. Sadly, he was not able to see the fulfillment of this vision, but we dedicate the conference to his memory.

The organizers of the Symposium had multiple goals. The first goal was to dispel the negative myths associated with Lighter-than-air (LTA) transport and to introduce information on the state of the art materials that make it possible to construct airships that were never before possible. A second goal of the Symposium was to establish the scope and strength of civilian and military demand for an alternative means of transport with particular reference to the northern markets. The third goal was to examine the passenger, freight and communications applications of existing and proposed airships, and to portray the supply side of the LTA market. Finally, the Symposium was designed to bring political attention to the opportunity to found an airship industry in Manitoba as part of this community’s aerospace industry cluster.

I would like to thank all those who gave so generously of their time to assist in the organization of the conference and to the speakers, some of whom came considerable distances to participate in this meeting. I wish to recognize our sponsors whose financial assistance made the Symposium possible: Transport Canada, Western Economic Diversification, the Manitoba Department of Transportation and Government Services, the Manitoba Department of Energy, Science and Technology, the Manitoba Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, Manitoba Hydro and Southport Aerospace. We also appreciate the in-kind support that we received from: Ironlink, the Manitoba and Winnipeg Chambers of Commerce, MTS, Clarion, and Sport Manitoba. I would also like 2002 Airships to the Arctic Symposium to recognize Mr. Hart Berger, former policy advisor to the Hon. Ron Duhamel, who made a major contribution to the organization and success of the Symposium, and to Mrs. Jill Dutka, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the Symposium was a world class event. Lastly, I want to recognize the help of my co-editor, Shelley Turriff, and all the speakers who worked with us to prepare these proceedings.

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