Meet Finland’s First Airship Development Team
Finland-based Kelluu Ltd. develops a new kind of airship and has hired a team of international talents to launch the serial production. The company filled three positions: airship engineer, flight systems developer and prototype technician, and they received 70 applications from near and far. The factory will start operations in early 2020.
Many may have looked twice when seeing the job announcements of Kelluu Ltd. as they were looking for people for the positions of airship engineer, flight systems developer and prototype technician. Kelluu has developed a small, AI-controlled airship with exceptionally long operating hours, which makes it an excellent help for e.g. power line surveillance in remote areas. The company got a million euro funding in November, 2019.
–We got 70 very good applications, and people came to the interviews even from far away. We are happy to have a super talented team of specialists in their own fields. We have been asked how on Earth we found so many people who have, for instance, built drones, designed helicopters or lunar vehicles, and airships, too, says Jiri Jormakka, COO and founder of Kelluu.
Astonishment was also the first feeling for Benedek Prágai, 23, when reading the job announcement. He is the new flight system developer, a physicist from Hungary, who is finishing his M.Sc.Eng. studies in computational engineering at LUT in Lappeenranta.
–At first, I honestly thought that it was a joke. It was the most interesting and strange job announcement I’ve ever seen. In my job I get to design software solutions that make the airship fly and perform its duties efficiently. Before, I’ve participated in a competition by Google where we developed a lunar rover, so designing airship software is a perfect continuation for that, laughs Prágai.
The new airship engineer is Jean-Paul Henderson, 39, Dr. Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, who has previously been involved in helicopter design projects. This New Zealand native has settled in Joensuu, Finland after studying and working in Japan and England. –I’m passionate about designing elegant objects that fly, and I also love the Scandinavian design aesthetics. When I got to know the idea of Kelluu, I was confident that it will fly.
The local, Finnish addition to the team is Hermanni Kärki, 30, the prototype technician, who is responsible for building prototypes - starting from building the tools. He is also responsible for test flights.
–I’ve been designing, building and flying drones and helicopters for almost my whole life, so building airships is really a dream come true. I also have extensive experience in factory maintenance, so developing the factory facility is also one of my duties. People have commented that all this sounds like a Donald Duck type of job, Kärki laughs.
The team of Kelluu started in their positions in January, 2020, and after the introductory period, the factory operations will begin in February.
–Everything looks good. For instance, we have agreed with Finnish officials on the use of airspace, and we are allowed to perform test flights. The somewhat unlimited possibility to use airspace is one of the things that make Finland an excellent location for an airship factory, says Jouni Lintu, CEO of Kelluu.
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JP, Hermanni & Benedek
January 27, 2020
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