The Winged Submarine

May 14th, 2009 | people I know, researchmaterial

The Deep Flight Super Falcon:

Unlike conventional submersibles, which sink because their ballast makes them heavier than water, the Super Falcon is positively buoyant and descends using inverted wings that exert a downwards force when the craft is propelled forwards by its motor, just like a plane uses its wings and engines to generate lift.

slide-1---super-falcon

(yes, we’re a bit tumbly again today. Multiply postgasmic.)


5 Responses to “The Winged Submarine”

  1. So there’s a bit of a problem with flying subs. A submarine, by its nature, needs to be able to handle high amounts of pressure from all angles. That usually means using lots of material to reinforce the sub’s frame, and this makes the vehicle substantially heavier. A flying vehicle, by contrast, needs to be as light as possible or it needs tons of fuel to get and stay airborne.

    The two design specs are mutually contradictory. The end result is a highly inefficient craft – a vehicle that can’t plunge the depths of ocean or reach particularly useful altitudes for any length of time. For the cost of a number of exceptional individual planes and subs, you get a single craft that sucks at both jobs.

    Fortunately, that hasn’t stopped our government from dropping millions of dollars on developing it. So, enjoy that. :-p

  2. While the idea of flying submarines is certainly entertaining it’s not what this craft is about. This craft is never meant to leave the water.

    It’s somewhat like sharks, which have to move in order not to sink, only the other way around. The wings are pulling the craft down when it moves, not up.

  3. Yes, I think people have misunderstood the ‘flying’ bit: the Falcon doesn’t leave the water and fly in the air – it uses an inverted wing to generate a downeard force that overcomes buoyancy.

    Actually, all submarines do this, some of the time: their buoyancy is never exactly neutral and even with continual adjustments to the ballast (which would be impracticable and very noisy) their depth-keeping is dependant on forward progress and delicate adjustments to the hydroplanes.

    What’s different with the Falcon is that these hydroplanes aren’t flat fins, angled to deflect a stream of water: they are hydrofoils (aerofoils in water) generating ‘lift’ by creating a pressure difference in separated streams of fluid. This is far more efficient in terms of lift-vs-drag than a crude deflection.

  4. This craft is on display in SF, through this weekend, and will be in MRY for June/July. It’s a neat craft. It apparently needs only about a 1/4 knot to maintain a certain depth. If it goes much slower, it is positively buoyant at about 200lbs. There was a talk about the craft on the 14th during a night life event in SF.

  5. I don’t believe readers of mine were dumb enough to think that this was a flying submarine.