• Thursday, May 26 – The Demand for Cargo Airships in the North

    The first webinar leads off with a panel to consider the demand for cargo airships in the North. The discussion begins with an eye-witness account of climate change and what the melting Polar Ice Cap means to the Arctic environment and transportation.

    Northern communities and resource developments need airships to augment the limited ground infrastructure. The need for better transport in the North, and the role that cargo airships could play is presented from a defense and security perspective, a mining company standpoint and the requirements of government.

    Green aviation is a challenge. All technologies are being examined through the lens of sustainability and net-zero carbon emissions. This webinar will explore the “greenness” of airships and plans for a historic return to the North Pole.   

  • Friday, May 27 – The Supply of Cargo Airships in the World

    The second webinar examines the worldwide competition to develop a new generation of commercial airships. Five leading airship developers from three continents are presenting their plans to create a commercial airship industry. The designs are different and focused on different aviation markets. Passenger transport, as well as cargo airships, are under development. These presentations will provide some guidance on the timeframe for the airship industry to return and their plans to obtain net-zero emissions.

    As with any new industry, governments have a role to play in developing the regulatory frameworks for safety and operations. The European Aviation Safety Agency has regulations proposed that will reduce the risk and cost of engineering airships to meet air-worthiness standards. A description of this new regime will be presented by one its key architects. The future also holds out new ways to control aircraft such as drones. A second presentation will set forth the planning for drones the size of airships to operate in our skies.

    The second day will conclude with a summary discussion of a rapporteur who can draw together the insights of the webinar series.  



Thursday, May 26 – The Demand for Cargo Airships in the North

8:30 a.m.    Climate Change and the Melting Polar Ice Cap

Problems and Solutions of Disappearing Ice
Katrina Nokleby, MLA. Northwest Territories

Sovereignty and Northern Supply
Norm Normand, MBA, GCGI, FynnLink Group Inc.  

Mining in the Remote Areas
Christine Burow, Torngat

Appropriate Technology for Changing Times"
Madeleine Redfern, LLB, National Indigenous Economic Development Consortium

10:30 a.m.    Green Aviation

How Green are Airships?
Johannes Eissing, LTA Expert, Aerarium e.V.

"North Pole expedition: unlocking a new era of sustainable aviation"
Carl-Oscar Lawaczeck, President, OceanSky Aviation

11:20 a.m.    Closing Remarks

Friday, May 27 – The Supply of Cargo Airships in the World

8:30 a.m.        Airship Design and Development 

UK Hybrid Aircraft
Mike Durham, Hybrid Air Vehicles

Development of the Atlant
Gennadiy E. Verba, Atlas LTA Advanced Technology Ltd

"Accessibility and Sustainability: FLYING WHALES presents the LCA60T"
Arnaud Thioulouse, FLYING WHALES 

“Building the Varialift Demonstrator”
Alan Handley, Varialift   

10:30 a.m.     Regulatory Frameworks

Proposed Air-worthiness for Large Airships in Europe
Thibault Proux, Airship PCC & Airworthiness Specialist Group Leader,

Airships, as Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)
Sylvain Bourque, RPAS Task Force, Flight operations - BVLOS team,
Transport Canada    

11:20 a.m.     Closing Remarks


Accessibility and Sustainability: FLYING WHALES presents the LCA60T

Modern airships, a (re)emerging transport solution to some of humanity’s greatest logistical challenges, will likely revolutionize accessibility in remote or underserved areas thanks to their infrastructure independence while drastically reducing the environmental impacts of cargo operations.  Because of its vast geography and little existing land-based transportation infrastructure (roads, rails, runways), Northern Canada – especially its remote communities -- will likely experience the transformational effects of adopting airships as a critical mode of cargo transportation to the greatest degree. FLYING WHALES, a French airship developer backed by a consortium of industry-leading component experts as well as public and private investors, plans to manufacture and operate a fleet of cargo airships in Canada via its subsidiary, FLYING WHALES QUEBEC. FLYING WHALES presents its rigid airship, the LCA60T, and proposes a lighter-than-air cargo transportation service in the Canadian North an equally light environmental footprint.  This novel airship will require no transport infrastructure in operation and will ultimately integrate a hydrogen-fueled propulsion system, therefore preserving the natural state of Earth’s surface and contributing to achieving the goal of net-zero emissions at a planetary scale.

Appropriate Technology for Changing Times

Canada’s lack of strategic short to long-term investment has fallen short of what is needed and necessary to develop a sustainable and prosperous north. Instead, many northern communities especially where there are no roads in or out tend to have unacceptable high rates of poverty, insufficient housing, overcrowded housing, high cost of groceries and basic necessities, high rates of food insecurity. Transportation infrastructure is one of the fundamental and essential requirements to help ensure that these communities and regions have the ability to bring in the necessary supplies and ideally in the most cost-effective way that can bring down the cost of goods but also extend construction - as shipment of materials, non-perishable items (food, office equipment/supplies, etc.) is currently shipped in during a short summer/fall season. Airships - if deemed viable - could transform arctic shipping and therefore, transform life in the Arctic both in the communities but also for mining development. This is why it is at least worth assessing the viability of airships in Canada’s far north, not only as a way of reducing fossil fuel to support climate change goals but also as a way to help make Canada’s Arctic a vibrant and prosperous region.

Airships, as Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)

The presentation provides information regarding CARs Part IX for the operation of a small Remotely piloted aircraft (sRPA) of 25 kg or less, operated in Visual line of sight (VLOS). Several best practices are made available in publication such as the TC-AIM and RPAS101.

It also provides information on the new set of regulations TC is developing: The expansion of the Existing VLOS Framework and Lower-risk Beyond VLOS - NPA 2020-012, published in April 2020.

Until the publication of these new RPAS regulations planned for the end of 2023, it is possible to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) - RPAS for airships >25 kg operated in VLOS or airships in BVLOS in low risk environment. These higher risks RPAS operations can only be authorized with a Operational Risk Assessment (ORA) process specific to the RPAS operation, to mitigate potential risks to other aircrafts and people on the ground or in flight.

This allows innovation to manufacturers or operators to explore new airship applications that can take advantage of Canada’s vast geography. Drones have the potential to serve isolated regions, lower population densities, and large pockets of uncontrolled airspace with reduced airspace traffic.

While there will still be a significant amount of diligent work and trials required to reach its full potential, the coming years holds the prospect of significant advancement in the pursuit of Public Interest missions and commercial applications. With that in mind, the RPAS Task Force looks forward to hearing from the Airship Conference members.

Development of the ATLANT

Atlas New Technology (ATLANT) is a respond to the growing demand in cargo delivery for remote and land locked areas as well as oversize over mass (OSOM) cargoes transportation. Unique capabilities to land practically everywhere both in STOL and VTOL modes as well as its survivability on ground make ATLANT a practically usable aircraft in harsh weather conditions of the Far North. As a side effect of this development there are new opportunities for experiential high comfort travel and other passenger activities in the Arctic. The important step of the ATLANT development is the construction of electric conventional blimp Atlas-11. Although this airship looks completely different from the future ATLANT, its hybrid-electric propulsion system (HEPS) is scalable to the size of cargo airship. The electric sightseeing airship Atlas-11 is going to be operational in 2024 in Israel and shall demonstrate extremely low or zero carbon emission.

Mining in the Remote Areas

Cargo airships are an ideal logistics solution for Torngat Metal's rare earth mineral mine in Nunavik, Québec. This presentation will cover Torngat's cargo airship use case as a learning example for other mines in remote locations. For Torngat's use case, compared to building a road, cargo airships offer many significant benefits for ESG-I and for project economics. These include opportunities for Indigenous communities and supply businesses, a lower carbon footprint, a significantly smaller footprint on the land, lower risks e.g. climate change impacted road conditions, shifting some jobs from the remote mine site to existing communities (this alone creates a range of ESG-I benefits), more flexibility for future production options, cargo airships are redeployable assets (remote roads can become stranded assets), and improved economics. 

Problems and Solutions of Disappearing Ice

In the North, we rely heavily on seasonal ice roads to move goods and supplies to our most remote communities. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent over the past 40 years on melting infrastructure, or ice roads, to connect our people. By not investing this money into permanent infrastructure, we now find ourselves in a state of peril as the uncertainty of climate change wreaks havoc on the extremely sensitive ice. The vast geographic landscape of the North is rich in resources, couple this with a lack of transportation corridors and isolated communities, and the Northwest Territories may be in a place to consider Airships for our future needs. Airships may prove to be cost beneficial over traditional transportation methods such as building and maintaining roads, as well, landing strip infrastructure is not required, furthering savings.

Possible applications for Airships in the North could include passenger and cargo transportation; firefighting and emergency relief efforts; telecommunications; tourism; and geographical monitoring and surveying. Airships also provide an environmental benefit. Under certain conditions, Airships can have better emission levels than traditional overland travel methods while having a lesser impact on local wildlife and terrain. Airships also have a much higher fuel efficiency than conventional heavier-than-air aircraft and an airship produces 80 to 90 percent fewer emissions than a conventional airplane.

I look forward to presenting virtually at the 2022 Aviation Innovations Airship Conference in Montreal. Delegates may be interested in learning more about how the NWT is dealing with our transportation issues, including our melting infrastructure. I will speak on my experience as an Ice Engineer and Consultant in the north and the challenges we face. It is my hope that this will help to inform those that may be interested in collaborating with the GNWT in this interesting and exciting area of air transportation.

Proposed Air-worthiness for Large Airships in Europe

Regulations and certifications are usually seen as a strong constraint on the development of innovative solutions. Certifying a new product is a long, complex, risky and expensive process. On the other hand, aircraft and especially airships, are considered unsafe and a potential risk to the Society. By the size and the history of these flying machines, people and regulators are watching carefully the current airships development around the World. The airship industry in Europe, side by side with local civil aviation authorities, is currently developing harmonized regulations for initial airworthiness and operations to ease the development and operability of safe airships to ensure the best integration of such new type of mobility in the Society.

UK Hybrid Aircraft

Following a successful prototype and R&D phase, HAV is ready to commence the production and Type Certification programme for Airlander 10. To achieve this, collaboration with industry partners is crucial. We are working with leading companies such as AECOM, 2Excel and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to draw expertise from across industry to ensure we have the strongest team possible to successfully deliver Airlander. 
In this talk, Mike Durham will discuss the Airlander family of hybrid aircraft. First to market will be Airlander 10 which will have the ability to deliver up to a 90% emissions reduction by 2026, allowing our customers to rethink the skies. Airlander’s blend of lighter-than-air and conventional aeroplane technologies will allow us to deliver transformative transportation options to customers in the traditional aviation and surface transport worlds. Delivering an economically competitive solution, Airlander will provide operators with a high return on investment from a reliable, safe, and effective product.   


Alan Handley

Alan Handley is CEO of Varialift Airships PLC

Having managed a Company with up to 3000 employees in the mining equipment market. Also with over 45 years of personal experience in designing bespoke process lines and equipment for the steel industry he has worked on heavy lift equipment encompassing the handling of all types of heavy loads. 
Having hands on experience in design, fabrication and welding in steel and aluminium along with pneumatics, hydraulics, electric control systems and the use of programmable controllers. 

For the past 17 years he has worked on variable buoyancy and heavy lift in airships bringing in new ideas and now owns the IP and Patents in the USA also Europe and Hong Kong with regard to the Varialift Airships.


Arnaud Thioulouse

Arnaud Thioulouse graduated from the École Polytechnique in France and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta with a MSc. in Aerospace Engineering.

Before joining FLYING WHALES, Arnaud worked for several years in aircraft development, holding various positions in Project Management at Zodiac Aerospace (now SAFRAN), where he was responsible for the development of Electrical Power Distribution Systems and Flight Recorders.
Arnaud joined the airship world in 2018 as Program Manager at FLYING WHALES before being nominated CEO of FLYING WHALES’s subsidiary in Canada: FLYING WHALES Airships QUEBEC Inc.

Arnaud and his family recently moved from Paris to Montréal and are enjoying the pleasant life of Québec.


Christine Burow, BSc, MBA 

VP Marketing, Torngat Metals Ltd.

Christine is responsible for Torngat’s marketing, partnering and ESG-I initiatives. She has been involved in the rare earths industry since 2013. She has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, strategy and business development in a broad range of industries, including mining, innovative technologies, and industrial equipment. Christine worked in various marketing roles for VALE’s nickel business, and had earlier roles in R&D and marketing at Resolute Forest Products, Trojan Technologies and Rayonier. 

Christine holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University.


Gennadiy Verba

President of Atlas LTA Advanced Technology, Ltd. (Israel) Gennadiy Verba has started his lighter-than-air career in late 1980s in Ukraine being student of Lviv Polytechnic University. Since that time, he leaded several airship and aerostat developments in USA, Russia, and China. Since 2010 his major efforts aimed to ATLANT – the new type of cargo aerial vehicle. In 2016 he founded the Atlas company in Israel that integrates vast experience, novel technologies, and materials for all types of LTA aircrafts, including ATLANT. In 2021 with partners, he founded Strasa.tech – service startup company based on the new concept of HAPS.


Johannes Eissing

SkySailor at SkySails Group, Hamburg

Senior aeronautical engineer, expert in flight physics, airship architect. Graduate of the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, Dipl.-Ing), Aerodynamics, gas dynamics, concept design, flight mechanics, aircraft engines and systems · (1991 - 2000)

Transport Experience: commuter airship and transport airship design. Adept in weights and cost assumptions, airship envelope design and gas management.
Specialties: Profound knowledge in aerodynamics, flight simulation, loads computations, slender Body aerodynamics, added mass computation and propulsion interaction effects. 

Contributed to: Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, CargoLifter Development, Boeing High Altitude Airship, Airbus A400M, A380, LTA Aerostructures, Airbus DS ALtAIR, Kelluu. 


Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby, P.Eng. (non-practicing) is the MLA for the District of Great Slave in Yellowknife. Elected in 2019, Katrina sits on the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment (SCEDE) and attended the UN's COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow as a guest of the GNWT Department of ENR. Prior to entering politics, Katrina worked as a consulting engineer in the north with 13 years of field and project management experience in the environmental, geological, and ice engineering fields. During that time, Katrina volunteered with and served as a NAPEG councillor for several years and is a former president and secretary of ACEC-NT. Currently, she also serves as the Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Development (SCOSD). One of Katrina's main reasons for entering the political arena was to bring an engineering perspective to the world of government and leadership. So far it has been an interesting journey!


Madeleine Redfern

Ms. Redfern is an Indigenous businesswoman involved in high-tech and innovation and actively engaged in transformative technologies in telecommunications, transportation, and energy. She is the COO of CanArctic Inuit Networks Inc. and is committed to building 5000 km of marine fibre optic cable into Canada's Arctic to improve telecommunications in Inuit Nunangat and Nunavut significantly. Madeleine is also the CEO of Arctic Marine Systems, which will transform segments of SednaLink fibre optic cable into a SMART (Science Monitoring And Reliable Telecommunications) cabled observatory. 

Ms. Redfern is President of Ajungi Group (also operating as Ajungi Arctic Consulting), Chair of Nunavut Legal Services Board; Member of the Indigenous Working Group on Small Modular Reactors, Northern Director of Arctic360 (Canada’s only Arctic Think-tank), President of Canadian Arctic Innovation Association, Vice-President of Nunavut Inuit Business Council, Advisor to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Trudeau Foundation Board Member (former Trudeau Foundation Mentor); Co-Chair with Gordon Munk Arctic Security Program; Board member of Maliiganik Legal Aid, President of Amautiit: Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association. Madeleine is from Iqaluit, Nunavut and a graduate of the Akitsiraq Law School with an LLB from the University of Victoria. She was the first Inuk to be given a Supreme Court of Canada clerkship. 

As a businesswoman and a strong social advocate for transformative initiatives, she has a great deal of governance and volunteer experience with Indigenous and Inuit organizations, including, but not limited to, Secretary-Treasurer for the Inuit Non-Profit Housing Corporation; President of the Tungasuvvingat Inuit Community Centre; and a founding member of the Ottawa Inuit Headstart and the Wabano Aboriginal Health Centre. She was the Executive Director of the Qikiqtani Truth Commission, a commission that reviewed the “effects of federal government policies on Eastern Arctic Inuit” between the 1950s and 1980s. 
Her advocacy, professional, and governance work have shown dedication and passion towards developing and delivering programs assisting Indigenous, Inuit, northerners and Canadians that reflect their values, needs, and priorities.


Mike Durham, Chief Technical Officer

Mike has over 30 years' experience developing lighter-than-air technologies. Having graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, Mike started his career with British Aerospace and during the following years became involved with structural design for the Hubble Space Telescope and SkyNet4, and fatigue analysis on the Tornado ADV and Harrier aircraft. Following a brief period on helicopter and rocket motor systems design, he joined Roger Munk's (the inventor and former Technical Director) team in 1988, where his talent and passion for LTA were quickly recognised. Under Roger's leadership, Mike took on the responsibilities of lead designer for multiple military and civil projects, later becoming a CAA and EASA Approved Signatory and Company Design Authority. Mike became chief engineer of HAV at its inception and Technical Director in 2010. He leads the technical development of all of HAV's products.

Norm Normand

Norm Normand was born in Edmonton, AB and joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 2004 as an Infantry Officer. In 2006 he finished his undergraduate studies at both MacEwan University and The University of Alberta. At MacEwan he received a Diploma in Logistics Management and at the University of Alberta he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Religious Studies. He then transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy to see some new places.

Since joining the RCN, Norm has deployed to South America, Asia, and Europe to coordinate and provide logistical support to CAF operations in those regions. In 2013, Norm completed the Ammunition Technical Officer course in the UK while also completing his MBA from the University of Liverpool, specializing in International Business. 

Some other career highlights include, being the Chief Procurement Officer at Canadian Forces Bases Halifax; the Commanding Officer at Canadian Forces Ammunition Depot Rocky Point; and completing his Masters of Defence Studies where he wrote a dissertation about Airships providing sustainment to Canada’s Arctic. In 2021 he started his consulting firm, FynnLink Group, which links expertise to wicked problems.  


Thibault Proux

Thibault is an aerospace engineer who dedicated his career to airships. He has initiated an airship project during his engineering study, and joined FLYING WHALES in 2013. He is now in charge of the certification of the LCA60T, a large rigid cargo airship. Thibault is also part of the “helium-head” community, writing online articles (more than 50) on airships, contributing to development of airships’ related books and board-games, but also sharing his knowledge in several French and international engineering schools.

Contact us

University of Manitoba Transport Institute
Room 631 Drake Centre
181 Freedman Cres.
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry Campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V4