Airships not just pie in sky

What do the U.S. Army and the Boeing Aircraft Company know that Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers and Premier Darrell Pasloski don't?

What do the U.S. Army and the Boeing Aircraft Company know that Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers and Premier Darrell Pasloski don’t?

They know that heavy-lift Hybrid Air Vehicles or HAVs are practical and they are investing in them big time.

Hybrid Air Vehicles are a modern redesign of the zeppelins that crossed the Atlantic in the 1920s and ‘30s. They combine lighter-than-air principles with helicopter rotors to create payload capacities of up to 80 tonnes. They can carry as much as two Hercules or two B-trains. That’s up to 112,000 litres of fuel to Old Crow or a main battle tank to an inaccessible war zone.

Or how about a couple of D8s to a remote mine in the Peel watershed? Or 80 tonnes of ore from the same site out to Mayo or the Dempster Highway? No landing strip needed. No roads into invaluable wilderness at $1 million a kilometre to build and $1 million a kilometre to restore. No road subsidies needed from reluctant (or angry) taxpayers. No bitter betrayal of the Yukon public over the Peel River watershed plan. No lawsuits over undermining the Umbrella Final Agreement and bad-faith participation in planning. Mining speculators will have no standing for compensation claims. And no more need for the Yukon government to contort public policy on behalf of industry.

Pie in the sky? Hardly. The U.S. Army has already commissioned its airships to be built. Boeing and its Canadian partner Skyhook will market their HAV within two years. Well-informed companies and governments from Labrador to Alaska to Siberia are planning now to incorporate HAVs into their operations.

“The federal government is showing no interest in building new all-weather roads – even maintaining existing infrastructure is getting too costly,” says Barry Prentice, a professor of supply chain management at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

“Any politician who isn’t willing to pursue airships is being negligent.”

This describes Cathers and Pasloski. Reckless, too, since they are precipitating a train wreck in public policy in support of an obsolete and unaffordable technology -“roads to resources.”

HAVs will transform northern transport in the same way that railroads reshaped North America in the 19th century and airplanes shrunk the globe in the 20th century. The Yukon Party government is doing their mining clients no favour by messing with the Peel plan by promoting roads that they cannot afford.

The Peel plan is the compromise for Yukon society – it is the Yukon government that is extremist. And it is needlessly shortsighted, too. The Peel plan and Hybrid Air Vehicle technology offer a practical way forward for miners, First Nations and environmentalists alike.

The Peel Watershed Planning Commission invested six years of study, public and industry consultation and expert analysis to arrive at a sound compromise. It is implausible that the Yukon Party cabinet will produce a better plan behind its closed doors. Or a legal one.

David Loeks, chairman

Peel Watershed Planning


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read