Our business started as LTA Solutions in 2003 (a design services practice) to help the beleaguered airship industry become successful with new ways to go.
This was shortly after CargoLifter closed (end July 2002), when it was felt that expertise was needed to provide a lead for the introduction of new types with better characteristics that were not just copies from the 1940’s with modern materials and systems; where designs since the 1960’s perpetuated numerous handling and maintenance issues that should have been solved before (hindering industry growth).
These issues perhaps were not understood well enough by new developers trying to re-establish things in the late 20th Century, when there were few specialists with long-term expertise. However, there were many historians (often with entrenched opinions) and enthusiasts (many beguiled by past achievements) who in some cases invested large sums on huge types unwisely.
Even so, late 20th Century designs helped provide experience, knowledge and understanding essential for industry recovery.
For the airship industry to be successful in the 21st Century a progressive approach from the bottom up is needed with types that can operate and be maintained more efficiently without overt nursemaid tactics or a hangar from small grassed sites with a minimum of crew in weather that HTA aircraft generally manage. It’s not just a matter of robustness; rather, it’s a matter of capability.
There thus is a need to instil better technical nous, know-how and attitude befitting the aircraft industry (to which LTA types belong) to restore confidence in what has been a failing sector – evidenced by the very low number of airships flying today, just a handful. This can’t be achieved without team building, affordable projects to learn from and new ways to follow with willingness to change.
It appears that a number of the relatively few people in the airship development sector find it hard to let go of established practices, but they must embrace new ways to enable success! One of these is to learn how to re-establish things and grow in a natural way.
In addition, new airships and associated products must be affordable and cost effective in operation. They also must be safe and able to undertake their duties on a regular year round basis. Due to their great size and relative fragility, developers and operators must pay closer attention to weather issues and find ways that work effectively.
With modern forecasting and monitoring systems plus intelligent operation of new types configured to cope in difficult conditions, airships then should succeed.
By enabling operators to prosper, the industry also should find an easier route towards further bigger developments. These are our aspirations for Omni-directional (O-D) airships as the better way to go!