Saturday, October 27, 2007

Commentary on the "17th Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference" - part 1

Just a little over a month ago the "17th Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference" was held in Belfast by the AIAA our very own Charles Luffman from LTA Solutions Ltd was there and held the opening Session called "Lighter-than-air (LTA) Aircraft Undercarriages: The Author’s Experience." He took the time to attend all sessions and provides us with a detailed coverage and commentary about each session. In the coming days we will feature his paper. Since it is quite long we decided to break it down into multiple parts, to not overwhelm you by posting 14 pages at once. The full paper will be available as a download after we have posted all parts.
The first part today features the introduction and conference details, following will be the coverage for the sessions.
Conference Details

The LTA Technical Committee (TC) of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) held their 17th conference again with the Aviation Technology, Integration and Operations (ATIO) division’s conference, as a combined event from 18 to 20 September 2007, but in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, at the Hastings Europa Hotel – a 12 storey building, said to be the most bombed hotel in Europe, at the city’s centre. Times have certainly changed in Belfast, which was found to be a delightful location, inhabited by warm friendly people who made one feel welcome without reservation.

Ireland was a good venue for the event, enabling international visitors from around the world to attend. Indeed, there was good attendance by people who had travelled afar, including: many European countries, Japan, India, Taiwan, Brazil, Columbia, the UAE and, of course, the USA. It was rather nice to be together in a common purpose, graciously arranged out of the USA, benefiting us all. Especially nice was to see so many Americans with partners who might otherwise never have ventured out of homeland territory. There also was an “Accompanying Persons Program”, which must be American for “Partners Programme”.

The event was supported by several groups, notably: the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Aircraft Technology (CEIAT), who also held their 2nd International Conference on Innovation and Integration in Aerospace Sciences with the AIAA, making an overall magnificent occasion with many hundreds of people; Invest Northern Ireland, who treated us on the first evening to a well organised buffet at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum – with coaches provided for the about 20 minutes journey; Bombardier, allied with Short Brothers in Belfast, who also hosted the Awards Banquet on the second evening in the Grand Ballroom, which certainly was a grand occasion; Queen’s University Belfast, who also provided breakfast for speakers at their briefing session on the 2nd morning; and Emerald Engineering. In addition there was an extended Education Outreach session organised by W5, to bring together local students and aerospace professionals; and the AIAA conferences were extended by a following event to hold the 2nd Technologies for Energy Optimised Aircraft Equipment Systems (TEOS) Forum, held at the hotel on 21 September.

Whilst the hotel was large (needed for the joint conferences) it was filled to capacity, with no rooms vacant. Many delegates therefore had to find accommodation in other nearby hotels. This wasn’t a problem in Belfast and, while the AIAA had negotiated a reduced rate at the Europa, guests at other hotels perhaps were able to strike a lower priced deal. Being at the Europa, however, certainly put one in the scene.

Integration of the various aircraft disciplines to enable cross fertilisation has been one of the AIAA’s themes, which worked very well at the 2003 conference in Denver, Colorado (my last AIAA conference attendance), when the LTA and Balloon TC’s got together, and with other aircraft disciplines. The LTA conference on this occasion, however, was not so well integrated because related groups like the Balloon TC weren’t there and the LTA conference, held on the 12th floor in the Edinburgh Suite, was separated from the others, who convened on the 1st floor in the Grand Suites. Integration was possible though, mainly during break periods (between sessions) and the evening events, when I met with some interesting people – party on! The great things about the Edinburgh Suite though, were its tranquil atmosphere, lounge corridor wing (to sit restfully or meet with others) and panoramic views over Belfast.
Come back tomorrow to read more about day one of the event. Also check out the Website of LTA Solutions, to learn more about what Charles has to offer. We would also invite everyone to send us your comments, if you attended the conference give us your views and opinions. Do you agree or disagree with something said, please let us know. Also if you have not yet subscribed to the Blog please do so either by using a feed reader and subscribing to our RSS feed or subscribe by Email. In our process of organizing the First International Airship Investors Conference 2008 at the ILA in Berlin we are also still looking for your support. Please contact us if you want to contribute to the conference by donating or sponsoring or if you want to hold a session as a speaker or just simply want to attend. We will start taking early bird pre-registrations for the conference as of November 2007.

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