Flying submarine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ushakov's Flying Submarine

A flying submarine or submersible aircraft is a craft able both to fly and to travel under water.


The Soviet Union tried to develop a flying submarine during World War II. The design could have operated at 150 knots in the air and 3 knots in the water. Metal plates sealed the engines shut. At the Naval Engineering Institute, a flying submarine project was headed by engineer Boris Ushakov. In 1939 the project was temporarily suspended and classified. In 1943, on the orders of NKVD chief Lavrenti Beria, the project was resumed. In 1947 the first test of the flying submarine was performed. In 1953, the project was closed by order of Communist Party First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev. The design never "got off the ground".[1]

In 1961 Donald Reid designed and built a single-seat craft (32.83 ft length) capable of flight and underwater movement, the Reid Flying Submarine 1 (RFS-1[2]). A 65 hp (48 kW) engine mounted on a pylon provided propulsion for flight; a 1 hp electric motor in the tail provided underwater propulsion. The pilot used an aqualung for breathing underwater. The first full-cycle flight [underwater at 6.5 feet (2 m) depth, airborne at 33 ft (10 m) altitude] was demonstrated on 9 June 1964.[3] Reid, his craft, and his son (the test pilot) appeared on the U.S. game show "I've Got A Secret" on March 15, 1965.

In 2008, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that it was preparing to issue contracts for a submersible aircraft.[4][5][6][7][8]

Flying submarines in fiction[edit]

A flying submarine was a feature in:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian Flying Submarine Unknown, Date Unknown (accessed 21 January 2007)
  2. ^ BERNHARD C.F. KLEIN COLLECTION, "Reid RFS-1", No. 6559. Reid RFS-1 (N1740) ; (accessed 12 July 2010)
  3. ^ see Reid, Ashbury Park NJ (subheading)
  4. ^, DARPA Plans to Develop "Flying Submarine", 8 July 2010 (accessed 12 July 2010)
  5. ^ DARPA, "Submersible Aircraft Proposers' Day Conference" (accessed 12 July 2010)[dead link]
  6. ^ Federal Business Opportunities, "Submersible Aircraft Proposers' Day Conference" (accessed 13 June 2013)
  7. ^ DARPA, "Submersible Aircraft" (accessed 12 July 2010)[dead link]
  8. ^ New Scientist, "From sea to sky: Submarines that fly", 5 July 2010, Paul Marks (accessed 12 July 2010)

Further reading[edit]

  • The Flying Submarine: The Story of the Invention of the Reid Flying Submarine, RFS-1 by Bruce Reid, ISBN 0-7884-3136-6

External links[edit]