The annual meeting of U-LTA, an international association dedicated to coordinating industry and research in the development of new applications for airships (Upscaling Lighter-Than-Air, U-LTA), of which DAER is an active member, was held on May 21, 2024 at the airship hangar of Essen/Mulheim Airport, which has been the operational base of the Zeppelin-Reederei company since 2024 (together with the historical headquarters in Friedrichshafen).

In the framework of this new facility, Prof. Carlo E.D. Riboldi ↗, representative of the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DAER) in the association, presented the recent development activities in the field of design, simulation of dynamics and flight control with application to airships.

A focus was dedicated to the first results of the I-PROP ↗ project, funded under the EIC Pathfinder program, started at the end of 2023 and of which DAER is coordinator.
The project aims at the development and application of ion plasma engines on airships, and includes among the milestones the creation of a flying prototype in the lower atmosphere, as well as conceptual studies on high-atmosphere airships for HAPS (High-Altitude Pseudo Satellite) missions.


Those attending the day-long symposium included Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH CEO Dr. Eckhard Breuer, U-LTA Director Dr. Frank Neumann, as well as representatives of member companies of the association, EUROCONTROL and civil aviation regulatory bodies.

In addition to the technical presentations, a Zeppelin NT was on display in flight. Zeppelin-Reederei is currently the only operator of passenger airships in Europe, with two airships in operation and two more under construction.