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Transportation Toys

For $1.5M, DeepFlight Dragon Is an "Aircraft for the Water" 76

Zothecula writes No one with red blood in their veins buys a sports car and hands the keys to a chauffeur, so one of the barriers to truly personal submarining has long been the need for a trained pilot, not to mention the massive logistics involved in transporting, garaging and launching the underwater craft ... until now. Pioneering underwater aviation company DeepFlight is set to show an entirely new type of personal submarine at the 2014 Monaco Yacht Show next week, launching the personal submarine era with a submersible that's reportedly so easy to pilot that it's likely to create a new niche in the tourism and rental market.
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For $1.5M, DeepFlight Dragon Is an "Aircraft for the Water"

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  • Nice! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @05:33AM (#47782761)

    One single drug run^h^h^h^hdive and the thing has paid for itself.

    • Re:Nice! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:07AM (#47783057)

      One single drug run^h^h^h^hdive and the thing has paid for itself.

      How long can it dive? What mods does this thing need to lengthen the dive+travel time to a few days or even a week or two, depending on its speed? Extra Oxygen, toilet substitutes, extra battery packs, stronger motors to tug the drugs, etc.

      Could maybe be done, but it's not easy. Truth is, I think by now it's actually more feasible for the cartells to get their hands on decomissioned subs and their former crew. Or something along those lines.

      • Re:Nice! (Score:5, Informative)

        by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:46AM (#47783205)
        The cartels already have been [] building their own subs. A luxury toy sub is probably not much use to the for the sorts of loads they want to transport. I expect with a little more time they'd be able to develop autonomous subs that navigate from one point to another completely submerged. Such things already exist in the oil industry so it's not hard to imagine one doing drug runs.
        • Re:Nice! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @09:34AM (#47783791)

          Those require crews. This can be piloted by 1 person, and has room for 1 more. So its payload is at least 200lbs. I can think of plenty of things under 200lbs that are worth more than $1.5mil.

          That being said, the sub idea is dumb. I'd just sail to the US with a regular boat. My cargo would be under water, towed by a cable. Authorities show up, cut the cable. Very simple.

          • cut the cable. Very simple.
            You remember what happened to Han (Solo)? Good luck surviving the carbonite freeze!

          • by TWX ( 665546 )
            I expect that the cartels have probably begun experimenting with torpedo-like designs for the last leg of their smuggling runs. If you think about it, a length of steel water-main pipe welded shut with a predetermined weight of contraband welded in, balanced for bouyancy a dozen feet below the average surface, with a simple electric battery powered motor and rudimentary guidance system would help ensure that the smugglers themselves aren't caught even if the merchandise is found, and it would also be harde
            • SONAR is not typically used for navigation by things trying to be stealthy, because, as you can imagine, pinging requires making a loud noise that can be detected and fixed on.

              Rather, position and movement can be accurately tracked with small inertial guidance systems (RLGs) and time.

              Then you just have to know where you want to go (map, waypoints, whatever)
              • by TWX ( 665546 )
                As far as sonar is concerned, I meant for the coast guard or the navy or other law enforcement and import/customs people to find the contraband-carrying torpedoes, not for the torpedoes to use sonar. I don't know what the surface conditions will do to attempting to find a torpedo-shaped metal tube close to the surface.
          • by DrXym ( 126579 )
            One person with perhaps enough battery / oxygen to go a few hours. No where to sleep or eat or go to the toilet. I think the cartels could do better than that for their money. And while I'm sure the inventors would love a continuous flow of orders for subs, I'm sure they wouldn't like the continuous police heat that comes with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If not having to learn a lot about one of the most dangerous environments on this planet is meant to attract customers, then this is obviously going to end badly.

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      At least make it dangerous on a familiar consumer level. I want to see a place to launch torpedoes from. Maybe a couple spear-gun mounts for shark hunting.
      If it ends badly, it needs to go out like a sub, not an underwater go-cart. 400 ft., jeez.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If not having to learn a lot about one of the most dangerous environments on this planet is meant to attract customers, then this is obviously going to end badly.

      Calm the hell down. One of the most dangerous things you do as a human is open a car door and step inside.

      And like the other 99.9% of potential submarine pilots, you probably do that deadly shit every single day.

    • Yeah well that whale should have known I had the right of way.

  • by dargaud ( 518470 ) <(slashdot2) (at) (> on Friday August 29, 2014 @06:02AM (#47782865) Homepage
    Going too deep and particularly up too fast will get you killed. Going underwater is dangerous. More so than being up in the air where the only risk is basically hitting the ground.
    • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @06:13AM (#47782899) Homepage
      Actually going up in an airplane too quickly can have the same affect. We dont worry about it because modern airplanes are typically pressurized. This submersible appears to be pressurized as well.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I remember reading about the prototype for these subs 20 years ago. The idea then was a ceramic hull that could run straight up from the bottom of the Marianas Trench to the surface at full speed, without any need to depressurize.

        Deep Flight [] It seems my memory is a little fuzzy. The prototype was capable of 12 knots and could ascend at 650 ft/min, but was only good to 3300 feet. I do remember they were having trouble finding a sponsor for the full depth model.

      • Actually, you would want to be depressurized, or IOW maintain a lower internal environmental pressure. If they can do that down to 400ft in a reliable, safe manner, they may be on to something.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @09:41AM (#47783851)

        Going up from sea level to space (the maximum possible change in air pressure) is equivalent to surfacing from a depth of 10m. Coming up from a dive deeper than 10m is more dangerous, in terms of decompression sickness, than ascending in an unpressurised aircraft to any altitude.

    • Going too deep will be an issue in itself - I bet this things crush depth isn't all that deep...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlecC ( 512609 )

      It is designed aircraft-style with positive buoyancy. So you don't flood tanks or anything like that, you "fly" down using control planes to keep you down just as an aircraft uses wings to keep you up. So, just as an aircraft will descend to the ground if the whirly bits stop turning, so will this return to the surface.

  • Not so much personal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @06:14AM (#47782903) Journal

    The idea of a "personal submarine", IMHO, should be more along the lines of this kind of thing []. Just build it yourself !

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Amusing, they appear to be from Colombia, the narco-submarine capital if I remember correctly...
    • I'm still pissed the one I ordered out of a comic book wasn't real.

      • by Jesrad ( 716567 )

        This one [] is real though, 16 meters (52' and a half) long, 60 tons and seven days of underwater autonomy. No idea what's the price tag though.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    if you have red oxygenated blood in your veins...

  • I predict that these will sell poorly because the people who can afford them want comfort, and room to fuck their secretary/mistress.

  • Get back to me when they can supercavitate.

    • There's not much sense going fast when doing recreational diving. You don't get to see much, and scare away the fish. That's why diver propulsion vehicles are unpopular. If you do manage to find a dive shop that has any, they'd most likely tell you they're not sure they're operational, as they've not been used for the last 18 months, but that they're willing to check...

  • "The DeepFlight Super Falcon (pictured above) was our first positively buoyant craft. If you get in one, and you've previously flown an aircraft, you'll realize that you're flying an aircraft, just in a different but very similar medium: water. The Dragon is effectively an aircraft. I know we can't use that name, but it is in fact an aircraft for the water."


  • by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @08:29AM (#47783451) Journal
    A tourist with 30 minutes of training piloting a sub near coral reefs is a bad idea, the pilots will be looking at all the neat things and not paying attention. Depending on how powerful the currents are they could get swept out and run out of fuel fighting the current. These things are far from idiot proof and you should expect drunk or stoned college students on spring break to be using them. It's a great idea until you realize you are giving dumb-asses a $1.5 million dollar vehicle to drive through priceless and breathtaking wildlife sanctuaries, while we are at it let's start renting out Bugatti Veyrons to drive through the Louvre.
    • by wagnerrp ( 1305589 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @09:21AM (#47783717)
      So give the thing a low power sonar system and automatic collision avoidance system. Give it instructions that if the battery gets below a certain point, it shuts down the engines, auto-surfaces, and starts up a rescue beacon.
    • I'll be first in line to hot lap the Louvre. Do I get bonus points for roosting slag onto the Mona Lisa?

    • "These things are far from idiot proof and you should expect drunk or stoned college students on spring break to be using them."

      Think of it as evolution in action.

  • Misread title as an Anti-Aircraft for the Water
  • If I read TFA correctly, this only stays submerged because the quad fans (ok, screws) are madly driving water vertically. Somehow I don't see this as enhancing the view, especially if one gets near the ocean floor and significant sand/sediment is stirred up.

  • Please bear in mind that 'Water, for all intents and purposes, is an incompressible mass.' We teach this to student divers.

    Look at the following points...

    Fore-planes - they are curved and cannot act in an 'aerodynamic' manner (wings create lift by causing air to reduce in pressure as the air moves in a longer path over the wing than under it,) so they are really just flow directors, and the curves will create permanent turbulence and disrupt flow behind them - the forward vertical thrusters.

    Forward ve

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel