For the superrich who get tired of hanging out on the ocean’s surface, a new toy can let them go below.
The $US1.7 million DeepFlight Super Falcon has wings, but it does all its “flying” is done underwater.
It doesn’t use ballast to descend, as most submersibles do, so it’s always “positively buoyant.”
That means that if the power goes off all of a sudden, the thing doesn’t stay down; it floats back to the surface.
The company that produces it, Hawkes Ocean Technologies, describes it more like a plane than a submarine:
Forget everything you know about submersibles: the Super Falcon with its low frontal area and lightweight proprietary pressure hull, is designed around the pilot. Flying the Super Falcon is a radically different experience, connecting you to the blue space around you like never before.
Each electricity-powered Super Falcon takes a year to build, and only three customers have gotten theirs so far, one of whom is Richard Branson (no surprise there). When Businessweek asked founder and CTO Graham Hawkes if Elon Musk had one, Hawkes responded negatively, saying the CEO of private space company SpaceX is “180 degrees off course.”
“Everything we need for our future, food, space, minerals, is in the ocean,” Hawkes said.
For now, the Super Falcon is being sold only as a toy for the superrich. Eventually, Hawkes says, it could be used for ocean tourism or even commercial transport. The latter sounds like a stretch, since there are already cost-effective and established ways of moving people on the ocean’s surface or in the air.
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