West Germany has been testing airships in Ghana to determine whether they could economically feasible cargo carriers in widespread commercial use throughout Africa.
GV Children watching airship in air
SV INT Airship cockpit during flight
GV Airship in flight
CU INT PAN FROM Captain at controls TO Accra port below
GV Airship flying over Accra city
GV Airship approaching runway and landing (2 shots)
SV Men holding mooring line
LVs Newsmen going aboard (2 shots)
SV Men holding mooring line
CU Airship taking off
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: West Germany has been testing airships in Ghana to determine whether they could economically feasible cargo carriers in widespread commercial use throughout Africa.
SYNOPSIS: The airship involved in the feasibility tests is a 60-metre (197 feet) helium-gas ship hired from a commercial company by a West German government agency. A team of airship technicians from the West German aviation company were also employed for the trials.
The test flight programme is one of several different projects being carried out in Ghana by West Germany. The countries have had good commercial relations for several years, and other projects include water purification, solar energy uses, and general transport. The idea of airships for cargo transport, especially in the agricultural field, has been under investigation by the Ghanaian Government for several years, but these are the first field tests to be carried out. Ghana is the testing area -- but the results of the project could well be applied to several other African nations. Among the motives for the tests were the lack of a developed internal transport system in Ghana, as in many similar African nations, and the potential cheapness and efficiency of airships against other forms of transport. For example, railways are expensive to build, as are airports. But airships need no expensive landing sites, nor do they need any major ground development like railways. In addition, they can carry more goods pen unit of fuel than regular aircraft and are cheaper to build and maintain then any other form of commercial transport except road. But road transport is expensive to operate on a national basis because it needs developed highways.
The major factor in Ghana's decision to investigate airships, however, is the estimated 30 to 40 per cent wastage in the nation's annual crops production, due to shortage of transport -- or to existing transport being uneconomical for the expected cash return. The results of the current tests, which began earlier this moth, will be studied by both the Ghanaian and West German Governments. If cargo airships prove economically feasible, an entire fleet will be built and put into operation.