Designer Airliners - Ice Road Flying

It is appropriate, perhaps, for the grandson of the inventor of the snowmobile to turn his hand to designing an aircraft specifically for operations in the Arctic. That person is Canadian industrial designer Charles Bombardier, and his design is a ground-effect cargo aircraft called the Nunavik Arctic Express.

blog post photo

Inspired by Russia's wing-in-ground-effect Ekranoplan - and watching episodes of Ice Road Truckers, it seems - the Nunavik is designed to fly at up to 200mph, 15-50ft above the sea, ice and tundra as it moves cargo between Arctic locations in support of drilling and mining operations, as well as border patrol and search-and-rescue missions.

The concept is powered by four 1,500shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW100 turboprops and has a boxy cargo-friendly fuselage similar to the Shorts 360 -- inspired by is hardly the right phrase -- carrying up to 36 LD2 containers accessible by forklift via large side doors. The airframe would be composite for lightness and ruggedness, Bombardier says.

blog post photo

He acknowledges some challenges with the design, including maneuvering at such low altitude in airspace beyond radar coverage. He suggests fitting an autopilot using radar and laser altimeters and flying corridors determined by the regulatory authorities. Taxiing also needs to be tackled (the concept has skis) and Bombardier is looking at a water takeoff capability.

Bombardier the grandson is an industrial designer, not an aircraft (or snowmobile) engineer, and seems pretty open to constructive comments on his concepts, only a few of which are aircraft - like the Antares STOL airliner we featured recently on Things With Wings. So be sure to visit his website and let him know what you think.

blog post photo
Concept art by Robin Ritter for Charles Bombardier

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Things With Wings?

Aviation Week's civil aviation blog

A Century of Aviation Week

Aviation Week & Space Technology celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Dec 9, 2016

John Glenn's 1962 Mercury Pilot Report For Aviation Week 25

In 1962, John Glenn wrote a detailed pilot report for Aviation Week after his historic and harrowing flight in Mercury’s Friendship 7....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×