Aviation Business Angel

by Jörgen Eriksson on October 18, 2012

I met my friend Björn Lundvall the other day. Björn is a former fixed income trader working at Handelsbanken Capital Markets and like many traders he has moved on to business development and e-commerce. He is currently responsible for innovation in certain areas of the capital markets business. He is also a fan of hard rock music.

Iron Maiden bandBjörn told me a story about innovation that I think can be an inspiration to us all.

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band that was formed in 1975. They are considered to be one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history and have sold over 85 million records worldwide.

The singer of Iron Maiden is Bruce Dickinson. His vocals are instantly recognizable, and his contributions to the evolution of heavy metal can’t be denied. He is a tenor and has fantastic low notes for tenor voice and his high notes are widely respected as some of the best in heavy metal. Dickinson’s operatic style and wide vibrato are often imitated among modern metal singers. Listen to Bruce Dickinson singing and you can imagine the sounds that brought down the Jericho walls.

Here is a link to a YouTube clip where you can listen to the voice:

 

Bruce Dickinson is also a commercial airplane pilot, business angel, entrepreneur and creative business thinker and investor. He is currently working on an airship venture to manufacture lighter than air zeppelin airships for cargo transport.

Airships are set to return to the skies more than 70 years after the Hindenburg disaster, which brought an end to the earlier airship era. The development of modern materials and aerodynamics knowledge gained from the space race means that the new generation will be capable of safely carrying loads that could not be managed in the past.

Airship over New York

An airship is a "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms. Unlike fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, which produce lift by moving a wing through the air, aerostatic aircraft stay aloft by having a large "envelope" filled with a gas which is less dense than the surrounding atmosphere.

The first lifting gas used was hydrogen, although this had well-known concerns over its flammability and as we all knew, the first airship era came to a halt with the Hindenburg disaster, as. All modern airships use the non-flammable gas helium.

Bruce Dickinson businessmanWhen it comes to shipping and logistics, currently the majority of goods are put on containerships, trains and trucks transported around the world. With a new generation of airships, long distance transportation can be made just as fast but much cheaper than with cargo ships.

I find it fascinating that such innovation is sponsored and driven by a highly unconventional rock star. The airships developed by Bruce Dickinson will be able to lift 1,000 tons across the Atlantic and will be marketed by the band eventually doing an eco-friendly tour in one.

Dickinson argues that shipping is far more polluting than flying, that algae technology is the way forward (“and it scrubs CO2 out of the atmosphere”) but that we will also have to get used to nuclear power, like the French.

Here is a link to a BBC Radio interview with Bruce Dickinson:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n80vl

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