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European Patent No.
USA Patent No.
Hong Kong Patent No.
» HK 1083614
I.P. Patent Pending
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Background and History
The idea of building a variable lift airship first occurred to Alan Handley in the early 2000s. He filed for European, US and HK China patents in April 2004. All were granted.
In 2007 Alan Handley started raising global awareness of the huge potential for variable lift airships through a series of presentations at relevant conferences and symposia across the world. In all, presentations were made to 11 separate events (listed below), leading to Varialift becoming viewed by most experts as the most promising technology to deliver wide scale airship cargo services.
A section of a prototype airship was constructed in 2010-2011 to test the variable lift concept. The project was completed in November 2011 when the test flight was successfully conducted and the unit lifted off the ground under full control using its variable buoyancy units. The first man to be lifted into the air was Mr David Bacon, a long standing friend of Alan Handley.
From 2012 Alan Handley, now CEO of Varialift Airships Plc, and Varialift Business Development Director Ernesto Soria Garcia focussed on raising finance to move to full scale construction. They also set out to identify a suitable location for the first manufacturing site. In this period they also refined the manufacturing process design, devising the “Car Wash” assembly concept.
From 2012-2016 Handley and Soria held discussions with a number of local authorities in France who were competing to attract investment to disused military airfields and facilities. Agreement was finally reached with the Prefecture of Eure et Loir, the town of Chateaudun and the French Ministry of Defence in 2016. Varialift Manufacturing France SARL was duly set up in November 2016 and recruitment of designers and manufacturing line employees commenced.
Presentations and Events:
Airships to the Arctic: Making it happen at the Fourth International Symposium of ISOPOLAR in Canada, October 29th-31st, 2007
Airships to the Arctic: Approaching the tipping point, ISOPOLAR, Calgary Alberta, 23 September 2009
Airships, Presentation to Peterborough Envirocluster at the Eco-Innovation Centre in Peterborough, UK, 14th June 2010. Supported by: Prof J Fielding and his team from Cranfield Aerospace University.
Airships, Presentation to the Airship Association, Imperial College London, November 1st 2011
Airships VI: Game -Changer, ISOPOLAR, Seattle, 5-6 December, 2011. Supported by: Ernesto Soria Garcia.
Cargo Airships, 22nd-24th August 2012 at Northern Operations Workshop, Anchorage. Organised by Alaska University Transportation Center in Collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center and ISO Polar Airships Inc. Supported by: Ernesto Soria Garcia.
Cargo Airships, Presentation to Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, 15 January 2013, Farnborough, UK. Supported by: Ernesto Soria Garcia.
Realities of Remote Logistics, Presentation to Northern Exposure 2 workshop of CanadianTransport Institute, 1 March 2013, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Arctic-Logistics-Infrastructure, Presentation to the Canadian Transport Institute, 19-20 June 2013, Yellowknife, Canada. (Ernesto Soria Garcia only).
Bringing Cargo Airships to Alaska, Presentation to Third Cargo Airships Symposium of Alaska Department of Transport, 10-12 July 2013, University of Alaska.
Remote No More, 9-10 October 2013, Cargo Airships Conference, Winnipeg, Canada. Organised by Wabung Developments Ltd in collaboration with MKO, the Government of Canada and the University of Manitoba.