Redefine what is possible in a manned submersible by studying underwater flight and attempting the first ever underwater loop.
What is a DeepFlight Super Falcon?
Meet the DeepFlight Super Falcon, a new advanced manned submersible designed and built by Graham Hawkes and his small team at Hawkes Ocean Technologies near San Francisco. It is built much like an aircraft, with wings, tail surfaces, and ailerons, but instead of flying in air, it flies underwater. It is capable of much higher speeds and better maneuverability than traditional manned submersibles - but how much higher and how much better? Is this truly a viable method to explore the unknown depths of the ocean? Can we achieve a perfect underwater loop? These are questions we need your help to answer! Not only that, do you want participate in an expedition under the surface in one of the clearest lakes in the word? You can! See our Navigator and Top Gun levels in the rewards section to find out more.
Introducing The DeepFlight Hydrobatics Expedition: Oct 1 - Oct 5, 2012, Under the Surface of Lake Tahoe, CA
The DeepFlight Hydrobatics Expedition is two things. First and foremost it is a research expedition to study underwater flight and its viability as the future of manned ocean exploration. But it goes deeper than that. If successful, this will also be the first ever public, crowd funded underwater research expedition, which may have far-reaching implications for the future. Read more about that below, but for now, with you on the team, the Hydrobatics Expedition is planned for October 1 - October 5, 2012 in Lake Tahoe, CA using the Super Falcon, with its high speed and maneuverability, as the test vessel. Because underwater flight is still in its infancy, there are still many questions we simply don't know the answers to and seek to find out through this expedition. For example:
1) What speed can we maintain along the lakebed and still get an accurate visual survey?
2) How well can a pilot navigate underwater using only a compass?
3) What is the stall speed? How slow can you go before you start to float to the surface?
And, perhaps most importantly,
4) Can we achieve a full loop underwater?
Underwater loop??? To our knowledge, this maneuver has never been attempted in a manned submersible, because a move like this in a traditional submersible is simply not possible. But not in the Super Falcon! We intend to have our pilot take the Super Falcon deep into the twilight zone of Lake Tahoe and level out, then pull the stick all the way back into a vertical climb. The pilot will then throttle back so the submersible curves inverted onto its back. The sub will then loop down inverted and head straight down until the pilot pulls out of the loop and back to the original position. For measurement and documentation, cameras will be mounted on the submersible, and we will have divers in the water.
What is the significance of this project?
The ocean is a vast place, and contains 95% of life on this planet. But, humans have only set eyes on less than 1% of it. Proving underwater flight is an important step in enabling humans the freedom to fly with the animals and to explore our oceans more efficiently. Further, modern ocean exploration is currently usually done through taxpayers' money or government grants; the public typically doesn't have the chance to participate. We seek to change that. We believe that crowd-sourced funding represents a new era of ocean exploration, and this Kickstarter campaign is only the first step. Our goal is ultimately to "open-source" underwater exploration, in which all aspects of an expedition from location selection to funding to actual participation can all be decided by you. Space exploration in recent years has followed a similar path (though much more expensive), with funding sources and participation trending more and more toward individuals rather than governments. We are looking to do the same with ocean exploration -- but at less than 1/100th the cost. You can participate in this new era of ocean exploration for just $10 and help us pave the path toward the future.
Some Notes About the Expedition
This expedition is about using new, ground-breaking technology to explore our planet. Exploration, by definition, involves factors that are sometimes out of our control. Especially weather. We will do our best, to hit our target dates of Oct 1 - Oct 5 for the expedition, but there's always a chance we'll have to change things at the last minute. Also, the Super Falcon is an awesome piece of equipment, but it has limitations. For example, we can't take anyone in the sub that is over 220 lbs or over 6' 4" tall - there just isn't enough room! This pioneering expedition is the real deal, diving the sub will involve a certain element of risk and we will ask you to sign the inevitable waiver. If you're cool with all this stuff, sign up as a Navigator and come see submersible operations in Tahoe! Or bring out the big guns and sign up for Top Gun Level (80's rock soundtrack not included).
DeepFlight Winged Submersibles
Below are just a few of the advanced submersibles designed and built by Hawkes Ocean Technologies:
Meet the Team
The DeepFlight team is led by chief designer and test pilot Graham Hawkes ("Grey Hawk"). Graham has designed and built over 60 manned submersibles over his 40+ year career, including four generations of the DeepFlight winged submersibes and the Deep Rover submersibles used by filmmaker James Cameron in his IMAX film, Aliens of the Deep. Graham is supported by his team at Hawkes Ocean Technologies:
Adam Wright ("Depth Charge") - Chief Mechanical Engineer
Kenneth Laws ("Outlaw") - Chief Scientist
Joshua Glovin ("Triton") - Operations Leader
Jay Tustin ("Nascar") - Senior Marine Technician
Karen Hawkes ("Lady Hawk") - Marketing/PR and Logistics.
Hawkes Ocean Technologies' DeepFlight line of submersibles have been followed extensively by the global press, including features on National Geographic TV, The Discovery Channel, BBC, Dateline NBC and many others, as well as front page media coverage by the New York Times, London Times, Popular Science, Time, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, Men's Journal, Outside Magazine, National Geographic Adventure.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.