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DeepFlight Dragon is a striking last-generation personal submarine that has quickly become a favorite among superyacht owners. Very easy to operate, it is the smallest and lightest on the market. The California firm DeepFlight—founded in 1996—describes itself as a company specialized in “marine aviation.” This concept refers to its founder Graham Hawkes, an engineer who decided to create a nautical company using all the technologies developed in the aviation industry.
His most significant achievement is the Dragon, a small submarine, that can be driven by almost anyone any occupant using a series of intuitive controls patented by the brand. It is also the first personal submarine with capacity for autonomous underwater buoyancy, which means that in any event, its own structural composition will ensure that the vessel will naturally float back to the surface, making it very safe.The company developed a monitoring and control immersion system called Deep Flight Drive Manager (DDM), which manages critical aspects of the dive such as depth controls, battery consumption, oxygen consumption and altitude controls, which ultimately prevent the need for a third professional pilot. With an exterior design similar to that of a Formula 1 car, the Dragon controls its position and depth with six propellers, two of which are located in the stern and the other four fit horizontally on both sides of the bow and the stern. The latter allows the Dragon to be the only personal submarine with the ability to rise and dive vertically, facilitating and improving the maneuver of immersive experiences.
With a range of up to six hours—provided by lithium battery electric propulsion—this craft, weighing 4,000 pounds; 16 feet 5 inches long, 6 feet 3 inches wide and just 3 feet 7 inches tall is very easy to store in the garages of large vessels. While underwater, it can reach a cruising speed of four knots (7.4 km / h) and allows you to dive up to 400 feet (122 m) deep.
Its exterior and interior design have been carefully developed to be quickly inserted into the superyacht market, a niche in which the company already has celebrity clients such as Richard Branson, Tom Perkins, and Dietrich Mateschitz, among others. Additionally, the model is equipped with exterior fixings to incorporate peripheral accessories such as high-definition cameras, high reach lights or ultrasound microphones to detect the sounds emitted by whales for easy location of these enormous marine mammals.
The new DeepFlight Dragon aims to revolutionize the market offering user-friendly, comfortable, and efficient private submarines. For a price of approximately US $1.5 million, superyacht owners will have access to unparalleled immersive experiences and explore places where no human has gone before without need for professional training and the assurance that in the case of emergency, the submarine will naturally float back to the surface.
It is an excellent idea that is already proving to be very attractive in a very particular market niche. ■