DAI And HAV To Launch A Commercial Heavy Lift Air Vehicle Program


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DAI And HAV To Launch A Commercial Heavy Lift Air Vehicle Program

By Bill Goldston

August 31, 2011 - Discovery Air Innovations Inc. (DAI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Discovery Air Inc. and Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited (HAV) have entered into a commercial agreement which identifies DAI as the launch customer for HAV’s Commercial Heavy Lift program.

HAV is a pioneer and world leader in the design, manufacture and support of innovative lighter-than-air aircraft products, known as Hybrid Air Vehicles. 

Under the agreement, HAV grants DAI multiple aircraft delivery options and, subject to successful completion of final design and commercial terms, both companies anticipate conclusion of a definitive purchase agreement in 2012, followed by production and delivery of the first operational heavy lift hybrid air vehicles in 2014.

Founded in 2004, Discovery Air Inc. is a specialty aviation services company operating across Canada and in select locations internationally. With over 130 aircraft, it is one of the largest air operators in Canada, employing more than 600 flight crew, maintainers and support staff to deliver a variety of air transport, maintenance and logistics solutions to its government, airline and business customers. 

DAI is in the process of securing lead customers with a need for heavy-lift capability to optimize their logistics solutions into remote areas in the 2014 timeframe. The helium-filled hull creates aerodynamic lift, which when combined with vectored thrust engines enables vertical takeoff / landing (VTOL), as well as precision hover.  

The hovercraft landing system, with “suck down” capability, allows for multi-surface operation and load transfer on land, water, ice and snow, while roll-on-roll-off cargo load capability facilitates heavy load operations. The aircraft will carry a payload of 50 tonnes delivering cargo point to point, without the need for a runway. The ability to load, launch, and land from gravel airstrips, water, snow or ice surfaces with no preparation or specialist handling equipment saves time and investment in infrastructure. 

“Hybrid Air Vehicles will dramatically improve existing supply chains for large industrial projects in hard to reach places and enable economic development where it was previously not viable”, said Paul Bouchard, President of DAI. “We are extremely pleased to partner with a company like Hybrid Air Vehicles to deliver this revolutionary product to the market. HAV has re-examined the basic principles behind lighter-than-air science and applied modern technology and materials to this 100 year old concept.” 


“The North has been waiting a long time for a year-round, heavy-lift, transport capability. DAI presents an opportunity for Alaska and the Canadian Territories to take control of their economic destiny.  The conditions are right for a new form of transport that is capable of heavy lift, but is also low cost and environmentally sustainable. DAI has recognized the opportunity presented by hybrid aircraft for the North” said Dr. Barry Prentice, Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Asper School of Business in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


“The introduction of a Heavy Lift Air Vehicle is very exciting. With its large lifting capacity, low emissions and the fact that it reduces the need for infrastructure, it is exactly the kind of solution Nunavut needs to promote economic development while at the same time respecting the environment and the land," said Mr. Victor Tootoo, Co-Chair of the 2010 Northern Economic and Sovereignty Infrastructure Conference.

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