Nat’l Post: Manitoba professor refuses to abandon airship dream after storm destroys life’s work
Things were looking pretty good for Barry Prentice at 5:30 p.m. on July 20. He was at home as the weather reports rolled in about a wild storm heading for Winnipeg, bringing rain, high winds and tornadoes with it. At 5:30 p.m., however, all was tranquil. Prentice, a professor of supply management at the University of Manitoba, figured that his baby — the Sky Whale — an airship (picture a blimp, only with a rigid interior skeleton) prototype that he had spent five years and $1 million of his and a partner’s life savings developing, would safely ride out the gnarly weather in their research hangar at St. Andrews Airport northeast of the city.
Things were looking less OK three hours later. The sky was black. Branches were being blown from the trees. Prentice hurried to his computer to check on the security feed from the hangar. The feed was dead.“I remember thinking, “Oh-oh, that’s not good,” he says. “An hour later I get a call from the airport manager saying our building had been flattened. I didn’t know how bad the damage was, and so I hoped it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.”