Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 17

04/04/2017 10:15 AM ENERGY

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Audio Topic
10:19:10 AM Start
10:19:29 AM Presentation: Hybrid Airships
11:43:27 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Presentation: Hybrid Airships: Opening New
Frontiers, by Craig Johnston, Director of
Aeronautics Strategy and Business Development at
Lockheed Martin, Skunk Works
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ENERGY                                                                              
                         April 4, 2017                                                                                          
                           10:19 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Adam Wool, Chair                                                                                                 
Representative Ivy Spohnholz, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Dean Westlake                                                                                                    
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION: HYBRID AIRSHIPS:  Opening New Frontiers                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CRAIG JOHNSTON, Director                                                                                                        
Business Strategy and Development                                                                                               
Lockheed Martin                                                                                                                 
Palmdale, CA                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a PowerPoint on hybrid airships.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
NICK MASTRODICASA                                                                                                               
Office of Project Management & Permitting                                                                                       
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the presentation on hybrid                                                              
airships.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:19:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ADAM WOOL  called the  House Special  Committee on  Energy                                                             
meeting to order at 10:19  a.m.  Representatives Wool, Spohnholz,                                                               
Johnston,  and  Westlake  were  present at  the  call  to  order.                                                               
Representative Johnson arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
^Presentation: Hybrid Airships                                                                                                
     Presentation: Hybrid Airships:  Opening New Frontiers                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:19:29 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL announced  that the only order of business  would be a                                                               
presentation on Hybrid Airships:  Opening New Frontiers                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:19:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CRAIG  JOHNSTON,  Director,  Business Strategy  and  Development,                                                               
Lockheed Martin,  shared some of  his background and that  of his                                                               
employer,  Lockheed Martin.   He  stated that  the company  was a                                                               
conglomeration of  many aerospace companies, was  about 100 years                                                               
old,  and  had about  100,000  employees  in about  80  countries                                                               
worldwide.    He said  that  the  company  was primarily  in  the                                                               
defense  and  military  sectors, although  they  were  increasing                                                               
movement into civil and commercial  sectors.  He reported that he                                                               
worked in  the Skunk  Works Division, which  had been  around for                                                               
about 75  years.  He  said this  division was mainly  involved in                                                               
aviation and  was driven  by urgent  national needs,  pointing to                                                               
the introduction  of the  first jet fighter  in 1943,  the XP-80.                                                               
He  noted  this long  history  of  innovation and  mentioned  the                                                               
development of  the early spy  planes, including the U-2  and the                                                               
SR-71, as well  as the stealth fighters.  He  highlighted some of                                                               
the projects relative to energy,  which were comparatively new to                                                               
the company.   He shared that this new business  area was focused                                                               
on five  areas: energy management which  involved complex systems                                                               
engineering, energy storage and  nuclear systems which focused on                                                               
safety and  controls, tidal and  bio energy, and  advanced energy                                                               
means which  included wind to  power conversion.  He  spoke about                                                               
the wind  to power  conversion which  was put  on the  outside of                                                               
buildings to  generate energy in  an aesthetic way.   He reported                                                               
on  advanced technology  for  energy infrastructure  inspections,                                                               
with sensors to  detect leakage in remote areas.   He spoke about                                                               
advanced plasma research to lock  the power of fusion energy with                                                               
compact fusion reactors.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:25:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON directed attention  to the PowerPoint titled "Hybrid                                                               
Airships: Opening  New Frontiers."   He spoke about slide  1, and                                                               
the branding  of Lockheed  Martin and  Hybrid Enterprises  in the                                                               
commercial marketplace.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON introduced  slide 2, "Why Airships?"  and shared two                                                               
antique  representations.   He said  that ships  provided a  very                                                               
efficient way  for carrying  cargo because  of the  buoyancy, and                                                               
they  only needed  a  small  amount of  energy,  often free  wind                                                               
energy, to move them.   He stated that on the  water the lift was                                                               
free and  the propulsion  to push  it forward was  at a  very low                                                               
cost.   He introduced the  idea of  using air, instead  of water,                                                               
for buoyancy by  means of heated air, helium,  or hydrogen, which                                                               
was also a  free lift.  However,  he pointed out that  in the air                                                               
there  was less  control, so  some of  the older  renditions were                                                               
challenged.   He asked  how to  get the best  of both  modes, the                                                               
ship and the air.   He moved on to slide  3, "Airship Types," and                                                               
listed  the blimps,  with no  rigid  structure and  reliant on  a                                                               
lighter than  air gas;  the semi-rigid  with a  propulsion system                                                               
which was  dispersed; and the  rigid airships which  were massive                                                               
with aluminum  structures underneath  and became  more economical                                                               
as they got  larger.  He shared  the story of the  Norge, a semi-                                                               
rigid airship launched in the  1920s with the intention of flying                                                               
over the  North Pole,  before making an  eventful landing  in the                                                               
Arctic,  being disassembled  and  never being  flown  again.   He                                                               
shared  slide  4,  "Concepts  &  Prototypes,"  which  highlighted                                                               
pictures of various airships as depicted on www.airship-                                                                        
association.org.  He described the  approach which capitalized on                                                               
the power of the helicopter  with lighter than air technology and                                                               
the  concept  using  mechanisms  which  controlled  the  buoyancy                                                               
needed for  up and down  by compression  of the lighter  than air                                                               
gas.    He  pointed  out  that this  technology  could  be  quite                                                               
expensive.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON,  in response to  Representative Johnson,  said that                                                               
the Norge  was built  for the U.S.  Army through  the contractor,                                                               
Northrup  Grumman.   He explained  that a  company in  the United                                                               
Kingdom helped with the development of the airship.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON returned  to  slide  5, a  video,  "What is  Hybrid                                                               
Lift?"  He moved  on to slide 6, "What is Hybrid  Lift?"  He said                                                               
that one key element was buoyant  lift, as provided by the helium                                                               
gas;  although the  lift was  free, a  downside was  that it  was                                                               
always on, and unable to be turned  off.  He said that the use of                                                               
aerodynamics combined  with lift  allowed for  forward operation,                                                               
and  not  just  flotation.    He added  that  this  also  offered                                                               
protection  against any  environmental  conditions.   He  relayed                                                               
that nominally about  20 percent of the lift was  provided by the                                                               
aerodynamics,  but  if  environmental  conditions  dictated,  the                                                               
angle of attack could be increased to provide more lift.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL asked if snow and ice were a huge concern.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON  explained that  this was  dependent on  whether the                                                               
airship was on the ground or in  flight.  He explained that, as a                                                               
ship,  it was  designed  with predictive  capabilities to  decide                                                               
where was the  safest place to be during an  impending storm.  He                                                               
offered an example  for a snow storm, and stated  that the safest                                                               
action, from  an economic  and safety  standpoint, was  to launch                                                               
the airship  and leave port.   He said that the  snow presented a                                                               
bigger challenge  on the  ground than in-flight,  as it  was less                                                               
likely for an  accumulation of snow during flight.   He explained                                                               
that ice  was a bit  different, as for  an airship the  ice would                                                               
create weight, even though it did not disrupt airflow.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE asked if the airships had a stall speed.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON explained that, although  a stall could be achieved,                                                               
it was  not in the  normal sense for a  fixed wing aircraft.   He                                                               
said  that if  there were  an increase  to the  lift requirements                                                               
that could  not be  met, ultimately, the  airship would  start to                                                               
come down.   He pointed out that a safety  feature to this system                                                               
was that "nothing  happens very quickly."  He compared  this to a                                                               
slowly descending parachute.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON   asked  if  the  airship   pilots  were                                                               
studying the air currents, similar to fixed wing pilots.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON,  in  response,  addressed  slide  7,  "Our  Hybrid                                                               
Airship,"  and said  that  the direct  lift  from the  propulsion                                                               
system was  also important.   He reported  that the  LMH-1, which                                                               
would be the first airship  they would build, had four propulsion                                                               
systems attached  to the outside of  the airship.  As  this was a                                                               
non-rigid structure,  the inside pressure  was used to  provide a                                                               
stiff enough  surface for attachment  of the  propulsion systems.                                                               
He explained  that the propulsion  system supported  both forward                                                               
flight and  the flight control system.   He noted that  the pilot                                                               
only needed to give verbal  commands to the flight control system                                                               
for the  airship to  maneuver.   He pointed  out that  the flight                                                               
control system  would also account  for air currents  in planning                                                               
for the "most economic pathway" to its destination.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON asked if  the on-board weather prediction                                                               
and route planning used satellite imaging.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON replied that it did,  noting that it had the ability                                                               
for very detailed, real time worldwide weather.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON returned  attention to slide 7, and  spoke about the                                                               
aircushion  landing  system,  which  was  based  on  hover  craft                                                               
technology.   He explained that  it only  took a small  amount of                                                               
pressure over a  very small area to levitate on  a cushion of air                                                               
and move over almost any ground feature without touching.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked if the  aero dynamic was  still in                                                               
play during the hover action.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON explained  that once in contact with  the ground the                                                               
aero dynamics  were a very  small component  as there was  a very                                                               
low  speed.   He said  that the  decision to  unload brought  the                                                               
airship  into  contact  with  the  ground  using  suction,  which                                                               
created the friction necessary to keep the airship from moving.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE asked about anchoring.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON replied that a  typical operation for a tanker would                                                               
be the  use of  on-board auxiliary tanks,  which allowed  for the                                                               
most economic flight.  He said  that the weight had to be managed                                                               
to ensure  maintenance for  a state of  heaviness.   He explained                                                               
that  fuel could  be off  loaded, and  water could  be pumped  on                                                               
board to  balance the weight  for ballast.   He pointed  out that                                                               
there could be a weekly fuel run to land bound villages.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:47:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  reviewed slide  8,  "LMH-1  Interior Layout,"  and                                                               
reported that  the cargo bay at  the back end of  the airship was                                                               
10 feet by 10 feet by 60  feet, which was slightly larger than an                                                               
overland tractor  trailer, and was  capable of 20 metric  tons of                                                               
cargo,  about  47,000  pounds.   He  directed  attention  to  the                                                               
ballast and cargo fuel saddle  tanks which allowed for extra fuel                                                               
or water for ballast.  He  explained that there was not a penalty                                                               
for  cargo  in  the  back  and  people  in  the  front,  so  that                                                               
passengers  would be  at no  cost.   He shared  that the  Federal                                                               
Aviation  Administration (FAA)  required 2  pilots, although  the                                                               
system was  capable of full  autonomy, and there were  8 business                                                               
class  seats,  although  there  could  be  accommodation  for  19                                                               
passengers.    He  noted  that  beyond  19  passengers,  the  FAA                                                               
required additional safety features.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON,  in response to  Representative Westlake,  said the                                                               
airship was a  hybrid, with a new type of  FAA certification.  He                                                               
noted that  they were working  with the  FAA for new  pilot rules                                                               
because of the degree of autonomy in modern systems.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL  asked whether  the requirement for  two pilots  was a                                                               
large cost  component, and if  the airship were  pilotless, would                                                               
they still carry passengers.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON  replied that this would  remain to be seen,  as the                                                               
primary concern of the FAA was  safety of the people on board and                                                               
on the  ground.  He  questioned whether  the public was  ready to                                                               
fly with no pilot.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked if airspace changes were necessary.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  said that,  in  general,  this worked  within  the                                                               
existing  system.     He  pointed  out  that,  as   this  was  an                                                               
unpressurized system,  the maximum altitude was  10,000 feet even                                                               
though  the normal  operating altitude  was between  1500 -  2500                                                               
feet  above ground  level.   He stated  that most  hybrid airship                                                               
ports would  stay away from  airports and would be  near airspace                                                               
controlled by "the operations of these relatively slow things."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:53:36 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  shared  slide  9,   "Operations,"  a  video  which                                                               
highlighted the business end of the hybrid airship.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON,  in response to Representative  Johnston, said that                                                               
the airship  was non-rigid, and  that the lightweight  fabric was                                                               
similar  to  Kevlar.     He  explained  that   the  material  was                                                               
impervious to  hydrogen and was  strong and lightweight  to allow                                                               
it to  be pressurized without  a lot of  pressure.  He  said that                                                               
the design took the load of  the gondola and suspended it through                                                               
curtains  hanging inside  the airship,  and that  everything else                                                               
was on the outside of the airship.   He said that the concept had                                                               
been around for  quite a while.  He directed  attention to the P-                                                               
791,  slide   10,  which  was   the  smallest  airship   able  to                                                               
demonstrate all  the requisite  technologies, including  the tri-                                                               
lobe  hull   design,  the  digital  flight   control,  the  fully                                                               
automated  flight control  system,  and the  air cushion  landing                                                               
system.   Even though it was  120 feet long, it  was not designed                                                               
to carry cargo.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON directed  attention to the LMH-3,  a massive airship                                                               
capable  of carrying  a million  pounds of  cargo.   He explained                                                               
that the concept  of a large container ship in  the air, the size                                                               
of the  Rose Bowl,  was "just  a bridge  too far"  as a  place to                                                               
start.   He explained  that the smallest  size airship  that made                                                               
economic sense  was the LMH-1,  which could  handle a truck.   He                                                               
said  that  this  would  make   sense  in  remote  areas  without                                                               
dedicated infrastructure, areas that  would otherwise use a heavy                                                               
lift  helicopter.   He  noted that  this was  a  much lower  cost                                                               
option,  comparable to  other forms  of transportation  in remote                                                               
areas.   He pointed  out that  the next  step to  a 400-foot-long                                                               
airship with  a larger payload was  challenged with a need  for a                                                               
new manufacturing infrastructure.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON, in  response to  Representative Westlake,  replied                                                               
that  downdrafts were  not a  significant factor  as much  of the                                                               
lift was on continually.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  shared  the  video   on  slide  11,  "Demonstrator                                                               
Flight,"  and reported  that with  reduced payloads,  the airship                                                               
could perform vertical operations similar to a hot-air balloon.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON,  in response  to Chair Wool,  said that  the larger                                                               
thrusters and the aerodynamics, which  allowed for a reduction in                                                               
drag to surface area, made for a faster airship.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:02:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  introduced  slide  12, "Getting  to  Market,"  and                                                               
explained  that the  difficulty for  fruition "entailed  a fairly                                                               
sophisticated  value  stream."    He  said  that  innovation  and                                                               
revolution happened when everyone recognized  they had a piece of                                                               
the value  stream that made good  sense.  He shared  that oil and                                                               
gas, mining,  logistics providers, transportation  providers, and                                                               
financiers were  all receptive to  the idea of  year-round access                                                               
without  infrastructure  and at  low  cost.   However,  they  all                                                               
wanted to see the elements in place.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON   reported  on   slide  13,   "Offshore  Operations                                                               
Support," stating  that the airship  had the inherent  ability to                                                               
operate at greater  ranges with greater payloads,  and with safer                                                               
transit.    He acknowledged  that  challenges  arose when  flying                                                               
close to  the actual  operations of  the offshore  oil rigs.   He                                                               
said that  the ideal would  be for a  heliport on the  surface of                                                               
the water, although there was not a perfect solution.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  directed  attention  to   slide  14,  "Oil  &  Gas                                                               
Support,"  and  shared  that  the  airship  worked  well  in  the                                                               
exploration   phase  as   its  low   speed   was  excellent   for                                                               
surveillance and  aerial surveying.   It also had the  ability to                                                               
carry sensitive  equipment because of the  inherent low vibration                                                               
environment of a  large soft structure with  low power generating                                                               
noise.   He lauded its use  for emergency services.   He reported                                                               
that  the  airship   could  move  smaller  oil   rigs  much  more                                                               
affordably,   and   that   pipeline  construction   support   was                                                               
available.   He  said that  the airship  was excellent  for spill                                                               
response as well as transport and resupply.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON,  in response to Representative  Johnston, said that                                                               
the airship communications  could be a Wi-Fi node  with its radio                                                               
frequency or it could be similar to a cell tower.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  pointed  to  slide  15,  "Hybrid  Operations  Case                                                               
Study," and said  that economics and an  affordable solution were                                                               
the driver.   Compared to helicopters, he  declared that airships                                                               
had twice the  range, with four times the payload,  at 70 percent                                                               
less operating cost.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  addressed slide  16,  "The  'Roadless' Mine."  and                                                               
reported that  a memorandum  of agreement  for $850  million over                                                               
ten years had  been signed with a mining  company in Northeastern                                                               
Canada to move  all of their concentrate by  airship, twenty tons                                                               
at  a  time.    He  said   that  they  were  also  reviewing  the                                                               
possibility  of carrying  large wind  turbine blades  for a  wind                                                               
farm.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON   shared  slide  17,  "Arctic   Operations,"  which                                                               
reviewed  data  comparing  airship  transportation  with  use  of                                                               
existing roads and showed a 25 percent reduction in costs.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON   presented  slide  18,  "Hybrid   Case  Study,"  a                                                               
significant test  case operation  in Papua New  Guinea.   He said                                                               
that the  transportation infrastructure costs could  mitigate and                                                               
enable  other  things.    He declared  that  the  airship  budget                                                               
projected  a 98  percent  reduction in  the infrastructure  cost.                                                               
Moving on to slide 19, "Hybrid  Case Study," he reported that the                                                               
small hybrid airship reduced the costs by 72 percent.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON discussed slide 20,  "Operational Safety," and noted                                                               
that everything  with a  hybrid airship  could move  slowly, with                                                               
the  ability  to  almost  stop  and  "loiter  without  having  to                                                               
commit."   He pointed out  that the  three engines in  the system                                                               
allowed  for  the loss  of  an  engine  at  a remote  site  while                                                               
maintaining the ability to fly.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON stated  that safety and sustainability  were the two                                                               
big  pieces,  slide  21, "Hybrid  Airship  Sustainability."    He                                                               
compared helicopter and  fixed wing airplane fuel  usage with the                                                               
airship, noting that  the airship used one third to  one tenth of                                                               
the fuel.   He compared the aircraft takeoff  noise factor, which                                                               
affected  both remote  areas  for wildlife  and  urban areas  and                                                               
stated that  the airship  could be muffled  to be  almost silent.                                                               
He reported that the airship noise  was about 60 dB, similar to a                                                               
restaurant, whereas an  aircraft was about eight  times that loud                                                               
with three times the emissions of an airship.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:20:18 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON concluded with slide  22, "Summary," and stated that                                                               
the airship was  ideally suited for remote operations,  as it was                                                               
designed for unimproved surfaces.   He added that the airship was                                                               
very   environmentally   friendly,   that  it   was   driven   by                                                               
affordability,  and  that  it would  enable  projects  previously                                                               
thought  to  be  inaccessible.     He  reported  that  they  were                                                               
projected to close several deals and be in Alaska by 2019.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON asked  if  outside  temperature had  any                                                               
effect on the airship.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON explained that density  goes up when the temperature                                                               
goes  down, and  that the  design was  for the  standard aviation                                                               
specifications, minus 40 degrees,  Fahrenheit or Celsius, as that                                                               
was the  crossover point, and up  to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.   He                                                               
shared  that there  was design  work  on hangars  for the  remote                                                               
operations, although most airplanes were designed to be outside.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON asked if the engines detached easily.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON  replied that the  propulsion systems  were designed                                                               
for  replacement   en  masse.     He  said   that  there   was  a                                                               
reciprocating piston  engine and an  angle gear box that  ran the                                                               
propeller, with  the release of  only a few attachments  to allow                                                               
for the entire thruster system to be taken off and replaced.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON asked if diesel  fuel was affected by low                                                               
temperatures.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON stated  that, as  the  airship was  always on,  the                                                               
environmental systems were  always working.  He  added that there                                                               
was anti-icing  on the critical parts.   He pointed out  that the                                                               
environment was more  desert like in many remote  areas, with not                                                               
a lot of moisture.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE asked  about the  expected service  life                                                               
due to ultraviolet light in an environment with long days.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  stated  that  there was  a  15-year  service  life                                                               
guarantee on the envelope, which was then replaced.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL asked  if there was a risk of  losing helium pressure,                                                               
either through normal operation or attack.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON explained that airships  were almost invulnerable to                                                               
small arms  fire because there  was very low pressure  over large                                                               
areas.   He suggested that there  could be a slow  loss of helium                                                               
lift and  an increased  need of  fuel for lift.   He  pointed out                                                               
that air  would flow in  faster than helium  would flow out.   He                                                               
stated that  the most important  thing was to protect  the pilot.                                                               
He  shared that  an  autonomous vehicle,  "spider,"  was used  to                                                               
crawl around  the envelope,  find small holes  and fix  them, and                                                               
that the military was very interested in this technology.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL asked about water transfer in low temperatures.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON  explained that they  had conceived of  heated water                                                               
trucks and water  systems for these cold, remote  areas, and that                                                               
the airship would have the capability to keep the water heated.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON,  in response to  Chair Wool,  said that 20  tons of                                                               
fuel was quite a bit, which he estimated as about 5,000 gallons.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL questioned whether this was the most economical mode.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE said  that  there  were remote  villages                                                               
that did not have a large  enough storage capacity, and that this                                                               
proposed delivery system was much more economical.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WOOL mused  that  this  could be  in  Alaska  in the  near                                                               
future.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON stated that the  airship would be certified for fuel                                                               
cargo and would also be allowed to carry passengers.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON, in  response, said that people would  ride for free                                                               
and be  designated as non-revenue  passengers.  He  expressed the                                                               
desire that the FAA would  review the safety record and determine                                                               
the potential for operation as an airline with passengers.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:33:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
NICK  MASTRODICASA, Office  of Project  Management &  Permitting,                                                               
Department  of Natural  Resources,  said that  he  would only  be                                                               
repeating testimony by Mr. Johnston.  [indisc]                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked about transporting the airship.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON  said that the  envelope was part of  the structure,                                                               
so  that  the  airship,  once inflated,  was  never  purposefully                                                               
deflated until the envelope replacement.   The system was capable                                                               
of going  all the  way around  the world, and  it was  capable of                                                               
ferrying under its own power.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL asked if there was  any competition at this same stage                                                               
of development.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSTON  opined that Lockheed Martin  was in the lead.   The                                                               
most visible competition  was in the United Kingdom,  which had a                                                               
surveillance  airship not  intended to  be a  cargo airship.   He                                                               
characterized  that   technology  as  being  equivalent   to  the                                                               
Lockheed  Martin technology  of 10  years  prior.   He said  that                                                               
reliability was foremost.   He stated that there  was a challenge                                                               
for the adoption  of new technology as it did  not always mean an                                                               
operator would want to change the way it did business.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked if the  military was involved in the                                                               
development of large-scale transport.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSTON  explained  that  Lockheed  Martin  was  a  defense                                                               
contractor and  had started with  the Department of Defense.   He                                                               
relayed  that   the  20-ton   size  airship   did  not   carry  a                                                               
significantly tactical  payload, although the 100-ton  size would                                                               
carry  be much  more  suitable.   He  spoke  about  the "fort  to                                                               
foxhole" concept,  whereby all  the necessary  transshipments and                                                               
port  bottlenecks could  be bypassed.   He  highlighted that  the                                                               
airships  could  also  manage civil,  humanitarian,  and  medical                                                               
operations,  especially   when  ports   and  airports   were  not                                                               
functional.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:43:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special Committee on Energy meeting was adjourned at 11: 43 a.m.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Energy Comm 4.4.17 Airship Presentation.pdf HENE 4/4/2017 10:15:00 AM
Energy Comm. 4.4.17 - Bio Craig Johnston.pdf HENE 4/4/2017 10:15:00 AM