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Giant British blimps to service Canada’s Northwest Territories

Getting around the frozen tundra of the Great White North can be quite the challenge, especially when it comes to taking off and landing on the icy ground. Well, a British manufacturer is apparently working on some airships for Discovery Air of Yellowknife, supplying remote communities and enterprises in the less hospitable regions of the Canada’s Northwest Territories.

They call them airships, but in layman’s terms, they’re probably better described as futuristic blimps. Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) is the company behind the vision and they signed on with Discovery Air Innovations, based out of Quebec, to build the $40 million vehicles. Since it doesn’t need a conventional runway, the airship can land on just about any surface.

The fleet of airships are powered by non-flammable helium and air power, carrying up to 50 tonnes of cargo to remote mining communities, research stations, and other places that may not otherwise be accessible by other vehicles. That’s pretty important. And just because it’s a blimp, doesn’t mean that it’s slow either, traveling at up to 185 km/h (115mph). That’d beat a truck on an ice road any day.

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About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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3 comments

  1. These ARE airships- man, get a clue and LOOK at the piks of blimps. ANY gas filled ship qualifies as a “blimp” if you are using the general term. Airship is a truly multi-use lifting vehicle and transport carrier.

  2. This is great news and it will make a big difference to the development of the far North of Canada to have an alternative to the use of the unreliable ice roads. I would not use the term futuristic blimp for the new HAV 366, as it is a hybrid air vehicle and is a lot more than just a blimp, it is shaped and produces lift like a fat flying wing, has vectored thrust engines like the Harrier jump jet and uses two hoverskirts for an undercart. Like a ship is uses a bow thruster to point into wind at slow speed.
       Regards JB (Airship & Blimp Consultant 3w dot hybridairship dot net)

    • Thanks for the info! I’m not too familiar with these types of vehicles, so I just went with my first impressions, but I thought it was an interesting move for the north for sure.

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