On the day of the HS2 supply chain conference, we reproduce the letter sent to Flight International Magazine from Richard Lloyd, an occasional contributer to the Stop HS2 blog. An edited version was published in that magazine in September:
There’s a high entry fee for any new development like Lighter-Than-Air cargo operations (Flight International 2-8 September 2014 p30). However, rather than risk public money by direct investment, a Government can support innovation by being a dependable early customer.
A prime opportunity for LTA technology has emerged in the UK with the proposed construction of a High Speed Rail network. It would be one of the largest construction projects ever, and the Government’s choice of a green-field route has created access difficulties akin to those in remote areas.
The use of LTA cargo aircraft would avoid the need to send heavy construction traffic down narrow country lanes and through built-up areas. Large structural sections could be flown in from centralised fabrication sites, and excavated material could be transported efficiently for re-use or land reclamation.
The Parliamentary Committee for the HS2 legislation will hear evidence on the use of LTA aircraft later this autumn. The timing is fortuitous for this fledgling industry, which needs a major application like this to demonstrate its full potential.