Graham Hawkes—the submersible designer responsible for the advent of so-called underwater flight and the Super Falcon winged submersible—has debuted his latest design. Like the Super Falcon and Hawkes’s previous subs, the DeepFlight Dragon is positively buoyant, so it will float to the water’s surface unless the thrusters are engaged to submerge it. Both the Super Falcon and the Dragon are powered by a zero-emission electric motor that will take them as deep as 400 feet—an area sometimes called the edge of darkness, below which human eyes struggle to detect light from the surface.
The Dragon is the first-ever personal submersible to use solely vertical thrusters—in the form of four corner-mounted propellers—to dive, rather than the unwieldy ballast and drop-weight systems employed on larger and more traditional recreational submersibles. The thrusters also enable it to hover in place, whereas the Super Falcon is always moving forward when in gear. At 16.4 feet long, 3.6 feet tall, and 6.2 feet wide, the Dragon is no bigger than the majority of yacht transport tenders, and it will easily fit in most megayacht garages or on deck; and it weighs just under 4,000 pounds, a relatively light weight that will allow the sub to be launched and recovered like most yacht tenders. The Dragon also includes an inflatable launch platform for easy passenger entry and egress.
In another first for recreational submersibles, the Dragon features the DeepFlight Dive Manager, a system that allows a dive manager to monitor the critical functions of the sub, allowing the pilot to focus on the flying experience. This means that passengers with little training can occupy the Dragon’s two bubble-canopy seats and more freely enjoy the phantasmagorical experience of exploring waters deep below the surface of the ocean.
DeepFlight has begun taking preorders for the Dragon, which is priced at $1.5 million. (www.deepflight.com)