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Rigid® Airship Design: Company Profile
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Rigid® Airship Design N.V. is a Dutch consortium whose purpose is the development and commercial manufacture of Rigid® airships. It was officially formed on 26 May 1998. Its aim is to start building a prototype airship at the earliest opportunity, followed by the mass production of airships at its new production complex in Lelystad, on which construction work will begin this year. Rigid Airship Design N.V. believes that in the 21st century there will be a large market for airships as a silent, safe, energy-efficient, cost-effective and multifunctional alternative for transport, observation, data communications, promotion and tourism.

The Shareholders

Rigid Airship Design N.V. brings together the combined knowledge and capital of leading Dutch companies to develop an idea put forward by the Scottish airship expert Ian Alexander. RDM Aerospace N.V. via amongst others Nevesbu (the designers of ships and submarines), and Stork N.V. via Fokker Aviation, are providing technical input. Greenfield Capital Partners B.V., M. Caransa B.V. and the project initiator Airshot International N.V. are supplying the start-up capital.

The share allocation in Rigid Airship Design N.V. is as follows:

RDM Aerospace N.V. 42.3%
Airshot International N.V. 36.3%
Stork N.V. 10.0%
M. Caransa B.V. 7.0%
Greenfield Capital Partners B.V. 4.4%

The Company

An airship is in engineering terms something of a hybrid; it is neither a ship nor an aeroplane. Its design calls on an extraordinary breadth of disciplines. This is reflected in the make-up of the company. Apart from a core group of airship experts, the team includes displacement experts from Nevesbu (traditionally a ship and submarine design company) and from Fokker Aviation . Together they provide the full spectrum of skills and facilities required for the NL-1 project. Its design staff has undertaken technical and feasibility studies and produced a basic design for a 180-meter long airship, the RA-180. This design will be developed in detail and submitted to the RLD for its approval before the construction of a prototype can begin. Rigid Airship Design N.V. hopes to have this prototype, provisionally named the RA-180, ready for test flights by the end of 2001, with certification following thereafter. Mass production can then start, after the certification process is complete.

The construction work will be sub-contracted as much as possible. Final assembly will take place in Lelystad under the supervision of RDM Aerospace.

Ian & model

Project leader
"Mr. Ian Alexander"

The man behind the project, Ian Alexander (54), has devoted his entire life to airships and has worked on a number of successful airship projects before. Increasing pollution, traffic congestion and various market surveys have all strengthened his conviction that the time has now come to reintroduce the Rigid airship. Since arriving in the Netherlands in 1995, Ian Alexander has been working on plans for the design of a Rigid airship based on the latest insights, techniques and materials. Rigid Airship Design N.V. was established in 1998 with this aim in mind.

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