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Free Press: U of M’s Prentice pumped by sale of hybrid airships

April 1, 2016 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports:

It’s a $480-million vindication of something Barry Prentice has been saying for 15 years.

Lockheed Martin recently closed a sale of 12 hybrid airships to Britain’s Straightline Aviation, a deal Straightline CEO Mike Kendrick said “represents a revolution in remote cargo delivery.”

That sounds exactly like what the University of Manitoba’s Prentice has been saying for years.

The British company that bought the 91.4-metre-long, 20-tonne dirigibles says it has customers in the resource industry lined up. All the talk around the world is they will be used to move cargo to remote locales.

It’s like that corny comedy routine where the self-styled hero parrots the line the smart but hapless character has been saying all along.

The concept of using hybrid airships to carry heavy cargo to remote locations with insufficient transportation infrastructure likely did originate at the U of M.

Prentice, for one, is convinced of it. He knows many of the Lockheed Martin executives and many others involved in the airship business.

“I am very proud of the fact that when people look it up, they will find that the first references were from the Transport Institute at the University of Manitoba,” Prentice said. “We were the first to start making the idea known and holding conferences. The only reason Lockheed Martin is looking at the oilsands region and the British company (who bought the airships) is looking at Canada is because we identified it as a market.”

 

Read more of Martin Cash’s article here.

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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