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November 2002 CargoLifter and ATG To Join Forces

According to a CargoLifter press release, CargoLifter and Advanced Technologies Group signed a letter of intent on 25 September 2002. Subject to a pending evaluation of the legal, financial and technical feasibility of a cooperation, the two companies agreed to work together upon conclusion of CL's bankruptcy proceedings, as early as January 2003. The two companies agreed to build the ATG AT-10 airship at CL's facility in Brand and to develop a prototype cargo airship based on ATG's SkyCat 20. According to a futher report on CL's website, most of the remaining members of the core design team were terminated effective November 31, 2002.

It remains to be seen whether CargoLifter and ATG, who have each been experiencing financial difficulties individually, will find success in their cooperation.

November 2002 European Hot Airship Championship in Slovenia

According to the FAI Sporting Calendar, the 3rd European Hot Air Airship Championship will be held September 11-18, 2003 in Ptju, Slovenia. The Ptju Balloon Club will be organizing the weeklong event.

November 2002 CargoLifter runs out of Money, Terminates Employees

According the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper, the German Finance Ministry turned down CargoLifter's request for 40 million euro in emergency financing on 10 August 2002. A subsequent article explained that CargoLifter would temporarily cease operations because the bankruptcy trustee was unable to secure private financing after the Finance Ministry refused to guarantee 40 million euro of debt. Finally, CargoLifter would terminate most employees, retaining only a skeleton staff [all articles in German].

May 2002 News Update and Continued Publishing Hiatus

Thank you to all who have sent in news, pictures and other information during the last 18 months! I just finished my second year of law school, but there is one more year to go. I hope to get caught up with maintenance over the summer, but the Publishing Hiatus will continue for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, you can read about more important recent events below.

August 2002 CargoLifter in Bankruptcy Proceedings

After increasing difficulty in raising capital to coninue operations, CargoLifter filed for bankruptcy in June 2002. Official bankruptcy proceedings began on August 1. According to a CargoLifter spokesperson, the company hopes to continue operations by cutting staff from 470 to about 220 employees [see German language Reuters article]. CargoLifter's bankruptcy is sad news for the entire airship community and puts development of the CL160 heavy lift airship in question.

May 2002 Advanced Technologies Prototype Video, First Flight of AT-10 Airship

In late 2000, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) made available several Video Clips showing initial flight trials of its SkyCat scale prototype [QuickTime required]. More recently, the AT-10's first flight took place in March 2002. The four seat non-rigid looks like a further improvement on the late Airship Industries' Skyship series, incorporating design lessons learned from the Westinghouse Airships Sentinel 1000. More pictures

[First Flight of the AT-10 in April 2002]

May 2002 CargoLifter U.S. Facility, Hangar, CL75 AirCrane, Capital Increase

In October 2000, CargoLifter announced that it had chosen New Bern, North Carolina, as the site for a possible future U.S. facility. In August 2001, CL celebrated the official completion of the gargantuan hangar at its facility in Brand, 50 miles South of Berlin. In October 2001, CargoLifter started testing the CL 75 AirCrane. The tethered balloon is its first commercial product on the way to the CL160 heavy load airship. CL has also continued to raise money, most recently with a convertible bond issue in Germany.

There are also some less positive news about CargoLifter. Since CargoLifter's IPO and listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, its stock has fallen more than 75 percent. Reasons for this battering include the current recession and investor concern that after four years of development and 300 million euro in capital, all CL has produced is a large hangar and a spherical balloon. Several stories in the Financial Times Deutschland [in German] give a good summary and provide links to several more articles about the controversy and legal battles, which started in early 2001. A realistic assessment in Forbes Magazine (April 29, 2002) provides a strong contrast to a positive article in Flight International [requires Acrobat Reader].

May 2002 Second Zeppelin NT, Passenger Flights over Lake Constance

While CargoLifter and Airship Technologies Group focus on development, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik has moved on to a successful operational phase. Zeppelin completed its second NT-07, D-LZZR "Bodensee", in May 2001. Zeppelin also set up an operating subsidiary, Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, which received German air transport certification in August 2001. Zeppelin is now offering daily passenger flights over Lake Constance. Zeppelin also offered a special opportunity to skydive from the Zeppelin on three consecutive weekends in March 2002.

May 2002 4th International Airship Conference in Cambridge, England

The Airship Association is organizing the 4th International Airship Conference and Exhibition from July 28-31, 2002. After Bedford and Friedrichshafen, this edition of the bi-annual conference will take place in Cambridge, England. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend. But I hope that airship professionals and enthusiasts will enjoy a productive conference, despite the current lull in the world economy.

May 2002 White Dwarf Pedal-Powered Blimp Revived

According to an article in The Oregonian from December 2000, Hot Air Balloon World Champion Bill Arras has bought the White Dwarf pedal-powered blimp from Richard Gallagher. Arras and a partner are apparently hoping to develop an updated and more performing human-powered blimp.

Archived News Reports
1997: 2nd Half 1999: 1st Half, 2nd Half
1998: 1st Half, 2nd Half 2000: 1st Half, 2nd Half
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