Airships have seen very limited action since the 1930s. Replaced by fixed wing aircraft as a means of transportation, lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicles were confined to a handful of niche uses. But the concept was not entirely forgotten.
About a decade ago, a British company called Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) developed a new-generation large scale airship concept as part of a US military research program. At the time, the Pentagon studied the possibilities that airships could offer to support troops in Afghanistan. Shifting priorities meant the project was canceled in 2012, though, and HAV started looking for new uses for its technology.
What came out of it was the Airlander, a modern reinterpretation of the airship that is, by some measures, the world's largest aircraft.
These developments in the airship space caught the attention of Carl-Oscar Lawaczeck, a Swedish commercial pilot with an entrepreneurial streak.
The idea was to bring back the thrill and sense of adventure of the days of airship exploration, but with the comforts and safety afforded by 21st-century technology.
The result is OceanSky Cruises, a startup firm that offers luxury air cruises on airships, starting with a route to the North Pole and back.
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