BY Jon Chavez – Blade Business Writer
Three years ago the inventor of an experimental airship designed to haul cargo moved his fledgling company from northeast Ohio to the Toledo area in hopes of elevating his unusual business idea past the start-up phase.
Despite numerous meetings with potential investors and assistance from local development agencies, Ohio Airships Inc. remains grounded, figuratively and literally.
The company’s 110-foot long Dynalifter prototype has proved it can maneuver on a flat surface, but it has yet to fly after five years of development because the company cannot pay for the insurance that would allow the Federal Aviation Agency to clear it for an inaugural test flight.
“It’s extremely frustrating. We’ve put a lot of effort into this,” said David Miller, a former business development manager for the Regional Growth Partnership’s Rocket Ventures fund who is now working with Bob Rist, Ohio Airships founder and Dynalifter inventor, to move the company forward.
“I really think the watershed moment will be when it finally gets in the air,” Mr. Miller said.