DeepFlight Super Falcon
|Builders:||Hawkes Ocean Technologies|
|Installed power:||electric battery|
|Speed:||up to 6 knots|
The DeepFlight Super Falcon is a personal submarine designed by Graham Hawkes, a former civilian ocean engineer. It was hoped that the technology used in this submersible would allow travel to the deepest parts of the ocean.
The Super Falcon was designed by Graham Hawkes. Later, he started designing submersible vehicles for both the oil industry and those in the scientific research sectors. One of his earlier submersibles was featured in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Another was used in producer James Cameron's Aliens of the deep.
In 2005, Hawkes and adventurer Steve Fossett teamed up to create a submarine that could be piloted by an individual to the deepest part of the ocean. This spot in the Pacific Ocean, called Challenger Deep, is approximately 36,201 feet (11,034 m) under the ocean's surface and is thought to be the deepest point in the ocean. Together they began to develop the Challenger submersible with this goal in mind. However, in 2007 Fossett lost his life in a fatal accident in the Sierra Mountains of California before the feat could be attempted.
The first test flight of the Super Falcon in 2009 ran into a few problems including getting the submersible stuck in a kelp bed, which had to be cut free with the help of a safety diver. Other initial problems included a broken prop and rudder while performing vertical dives and 90 degree rolls.
The Super Falcon is classified as a winged submersible with a numerical design designation of DF 302. With its wings deployed, it measures 3 m (9.8 ft) wide x 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in) x 6.7 m (22 ft) long. The width is reduced to 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in) with the side wings folded.
The electricity that drives the propulsion system is from batteries, the Super Falcon's cruise speed is between 2–6 knots (3.7–11.1 km/h; 2.3–6.9 mph). Its maximum thrust is 508 lb (230 kg). The maximum rate at which it can make a descent is 200 ft/min and the maximum rate at which it can ascend is 400 ft/min. It can operate at a depth of 1,000 fsw with a payload of 230 kg (510 lb), or 2 persons. It has a launch weight of 1,818 kg (4,008 lb).
- Schrope, Mark (December 2009). "Run Silent Run Sleek". Popular Mechanics (Hearst Communications, Inc): 82–85.
- Schrope, Mark (December 2009). "Test Drive in the World's Fastest Personal Submarine". Popular Mechanics (Hearst Communications, Inc). Retrieved 27 November 2009.
- DeepFlight website
- Shiels, Maggie (2009-05-19). "Underwater 'flying machine' launched". BBC News. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
- "Deep Flight Super Falcon". Deep Flight. Hawkes Ocean Technologies. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
- "Deep Flight Super Falcon winged submarine readies deep sea exploration in San Francisco". Engadget. Retrieved 2009-12-03.