The new submarine Dragon can be flown underwater like an airplane. You don’t need a pilot’s license anyway, just the necessary change of $ 1.5 million. Due to the fixed positive buoyancy, the Dragon emerges independently.
Graham Hawkes tries to describe a ride on the Dragon as if you were flying in water. Hawkes is an engineer and has been building submarines in California since 1996, which are intended to serve neither scientific nor military purposes, but purely for private pleasure. The latest model from DeepFlight is the Dragon, which Hawkes plans to introduce at the Monaco Yacht Show in September.
Dragon has no diving tanks
The market for private submarines is highly exclusive, but anyone who owns a superyacht will not be deterred by the purchase price of 1.5 million US dollars. In addition, there are two essential features of the new “Dragon”, which make it even more attractive for recreational captains: Firstly, no pilot’s license is required to steer the private submarine and, secondly, the Dragon has positive, fixed buoyancy, so uncontrolled sinking is impossible .
“If there are problems with the drive, or if it is switched off, the submarine does not sink down, but comes to the surface automatically,” explains Hawkes in an article in Gizmag magazine. Hawkes says he saw the unintentional sinking of a normal submarine himself many years ago, and it wasn’t funny. For the Dragon he came up with a different technique than the conventional diving technique for submarines.
Dragon is steered with six propellers
Usually submarines dive and surf by filling their ballast tanks with water or with air. The Dragon, on the other hand, has no tanks, but four vertical and two horizontal propellers. They can be used to steer the submarine to a depth of 120 meters, and the maximum speed is four knots, around 7.4 kilometers per hour. It can float in the water on the spot and even flip it. If the electric battery drive is switched off, the vehicle rises to the surface with its own buoyancy.
“You don’t give the key to the Ferrari to your chauffeur either”
The almost five meter long, one and a half meter high and 1,800 kilogram heavy Dragon is designed for two crew members who, after a brief introduction, can steer the submarine even without prior experience. The instruments are easy to understand and intuitive to use.
The Dragon submarine costs 1.5 million US dollars. Manufacturer DeepFlight promises safety: If the electric battery drive is switched off, the vehicle rises to the surface with its own buoyancy.
For example, the cabin pressure and oxygen saturation would be read off automatically and displayed digitally. You don’t need a trained pilot for that, says Hawkes. After all, as the owner, you want to control your new toy yourself: “You wouldn’t give the key to your Ferrari to your chauffeur either.”
“I got the idea for DeepFlight Dragon during a conference on electric aircraft. Everyone in the audience was so obsessed with the idea of a big drone that anyone could just fly, ”explains DeepFlight founder Graham Hawkes. “I thought to myself ‘that would also work under water’. And so I immediately started implementing this idea – because if I didn’t, someone else would surely get ahead of me. So I applied for patents – and the result is DeepFlight Dragon.
In an emergency it goes upstairs
According to Hawkes, the most remarkable property of DeepFlight Dragon is its positive buoyancy: in an emergency, such as a total loss of energy, it ensures that the submarine returns to the surface by itself and does not sink to the seabed. “This is the key difference to a conventional underwater vehicle, where valves are opened to let water flow in, so that it becomes heavy and sinks. If an error occurs and the valve does not close, you will continue to sink and further and further … I have indeed had to experience this once during a dive – and I can tell you that it is not a good feeling! “
An airplane for the water
The DeepFlight Super Falcon was the Hawkes ’first underwater vehicle with positive buoyancy. “If you can fly an airplane and sit in such a submarine with positive buoyancy, you have the feeling of piloting an airplane in a different but very similar medium: water. The Dragon is basically an airplane – I know we can’t say that, but it’s basically an airplane in the water. “
Everything can be operated intuitively
All control and operating elements of the Dragon have been optimized to be as easy to use as possible. “It is so easy and intuitive to use, even for inexperienced people, that it will certainly be the first submarine that you can rent by the hour in a holiday resort, for example.
The people’s submarine for US $ 1.2 million
The DeepFlight Dragon costs a little less than the DeepFlight top model, the Super Falcon, which costs around US $ 1.5 million with all accessories: At MYS, orders are accepted against a payment of US $ 1.2 million taken to push series production.
Launch pad for inflation
New to the Dragon accessory list is an inflatable launch platform. “This start-up platform was created from the consideration of what is most important to the users of the Dragon. And one of the most important properties is safety, ”Hawkes continued. “We don’t want anyone to be injured, and one of the problems with such small submarines is that they don’t have what is known as a freeboard between the deck and the waterline. In our opinion, the only way to ensure the safety of the inexperienced was to create a larger base in the form of an inflatable platform that lifts the submarine out of the water – and that is exactly what we did. “
The kite fits in every boat garage
The fully electrically powered DeepFlight Dragon is designed for dives to a depth of around 120 m. It is 1.5 m high and weighs 1800 kg, which is less than half of comparable underwater vehicles. Due to its size, it fits in conventional yacht garages and on corresponding ship decks. Like all DeepFlight submarines, the Dragon has positive buoyancy and emerges on its own. In addition, it is the first DeepFlight submarine with a vertical thrust drive, which allows you to “float” in the water.
Up and down like a helicopter
The two-seater is the first “personal” submarine with enough power to submerge using only the vertical thrust drive, i.e. without the complicated flooding and pumping out of ballast tanks for diving, as is common with all comparable underwater vehicles. The latest DeepFlight vehicle comes with the DeepFlight Dive Manager, which monitors and controls critical functions – a task for which a third pilot is on board in a conventional submarine.
Submarine fits easily into a yacht
Hawkes relies on the exclusive superyacht market to find buyers for the Dragon. In terms of size, the submarine easily fits into a yacht and can be used to make excursions into the underwater world. To enable easy entry and exit, the submarine builder is currently designing an inflatable cushion that gently lifts the dragon out of the water.
Hawkes can also envision the Dragon being used for tourist purposes in vacation resorts. The entrepreneur has a whole “underwater flight industry” in mind. However, as Hawkes limits his vision of underwater flight for everyone, it will be a while before prices for a private submarine fall noticeably.
Have we aroused your interest and would you like to find out more about this submarine? Then just visit the manufacturer’s website of DeepFlight.