Airship hybrid could be big for Ponoka

Changes could soon hit the small town of Ponoka if testing of a unique aircraft in England proves successful.
The company World SkyCat UK hopes to put a hovercraft airship hybrid through tests in August with oilsands operators among those involved with the process. The aircraft is planned to transfer heavy equipment and cargo from one place to another without interrupting other rails or areas of traffic.

By Eraina Hooyer

Staff Reporter

Changes could soon hit the small town of Ponoka if testing of a unique aircraft in England proves successful.

The company World SkyCat UK hopes to put a hovercraft airship hybrid through tests in August with oilsands operators among those involved with the process. The aircraft is planned to transfer heavy equipment and cargo from one place to another without interrupting other rails or areas of traffic.

Michelle Stirling, local associate of World SkyCat UK, believes that this breakthrough could have a positive outcome with Ponoka likely being a major part of this technology.

“World SkyCat of the UK is interested in Ponoka because the airport is suitable, the town and council and county have been very supportive and we have a CANPASS designation which may prove useful for corporate flights and shipments,” said Stirling. “In the event that it comes to pass, I would see a whole new set of support and spinoff industries and educational opportunities unfolding from SkyCat coming to Ponoka.”

The SkyCats are hybrid air vehicles that can be navigated in the air and can land and take off independently in a vertical take off and landing or a short take off and landing mode, depending on the cargo.

Stirling sees a virtually limitless amount of benefits resulting from the use of the SkyCat. She believes the environmentally friendly and quiet SkyCat could radically change shipping and traveling in Alberta, are the solution to rising fuel prices, give pilots jobs on a passenger SkyCat and be beneficial to farmers.

“This could really help spread the Alberta advantage,” she said.

The SkyCat is designed to pick up virtually anywhere including farmers fields and Stirling says that could make farmers growing specialty crops very happy by picking up their shipments and shipping direct to the sea port or the end buyer, freeing up the rail system and making specialty crops more attractive to farmers as well as consumers.

For Stirling, her involvement in the introduction of the SkyCat is not solely based on interest but also her passion to help make her father’s idea a reality.

“My late father, Peter Stirling, foresaw this years ago and I grew up on it,” she said. “He was simply a man before his time and I hope the time has come for his dream to come true.”

The trials being conducted in England include demonstration tests, loading and unloading heavy equipment, flying, landing and more. Stirling believes that after the tests are complete and assessed that major decisions will be made.

“If they are the decisions I expect,” said Stirling. “Then I can hardly wait for the summer of 2011 to be sitting on our deck, my father’s favourite drink in hand, watching our SkyCats float by, filled with freight.”

Just Posted

Chicks for Charity’s “Champagne High Tea” an elegant success

Chicks for Charity’s ninth annual fundraising event on June 22, “Champagne High… Continue reading

Ponoka County receives update from energy lobby group

CAPP hopes to work with municipalities on property tax issues

The Brick Learning Centre celebrates 2019 graduates

The “Good Old Days” continue on

Ponoka senior receives first place writing award for her memoirs

Anne Teeuswen, 88, recognized for “Spending Time With My Memories”

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Late night fight in Wetaskiwin results in aggravated assault, assault with a weapon charges

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate armed robbery and aggravated assault

Maskwacis featured in documentary series that unearths Indigenous cuisine

Red Chef Revival’s host visits community, elders and Nipisihkopahk School

UPDATED: Manderville located, Edwards still missing

Last seen in Ponoka June 22, 2019

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Fighter Jets light up Bucs’ to take AFL first place

38-3 loss puts Central Alberta into second place in the AFL

Most Read