It turns out that James Cameron is far from the only wealthy individual who likes exploring the oceans. For the past 18 years, a company called DeepFlight has specialized in creating high-end, recreational submarines for well-off aquatic adventurers. As the company proudly notes on its website: "DeepFlight personal submarines are ideal toys for superyachts, resorts, and tour operators because of their capability to open up the undersea world in three dimensions."
In an added twist that seems almost too good to be true, the company was founded by Graham Hawkes, a longtime British marine engineer who built and piloted a submarine that attacked James Bond in the 1980 film For Your Eyes Only. Hawkes and DeepFlight were recently the subject of an enthralling Betabeat profile, in which the founder relates stories of piloting his craft with the likes of Richard Branson (Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins is another DeepFlight submarine owner). Aside from beauty and underwater luxury, DeepFlight's main selling point is that its submarines (five different models have been created so far, each improving upon the last) are designed to be faster and more fun to pilot than typical deepwater exploration submarines, mimicking winged aircraft (hence the company's name). The latest and greatest of these models is the $1.7 million Super Falcon Mark II, a sleek, 17-foot long (5.2 meter) vessel that carries two and can dive to nearly 400 feet. See it rendered in beautiful promotional images and actual photographs below. The company is currently taking orders for its next submarine, the Dragon, renders of which can be seen here.
- DeepFlight Super Falcon Mark II The Super Falcon Mark II has space for two and can support a payload of up to 500 pounds (230 kg)
- DeepFlight Super Falcon Mark II tail The submarine has a cruising speed of between 2 and 6 knots with 500 pounds (230 kg) of thrust
- Deepflight Super Falcon Mark II from above The craft is powered by an 8 kWH, rechargable lithium-iron phosphate battery
- Deepflight Super Falcon Mark II headlights The craft contains an optional exterior forward facing lighting system
- DeepFlight Super Falcon Mark II on the bottom Inside and out, the craft is designed for comfort, performance, and safety, with a carbon reinforced composite body, adjustable carbon fiber seats, and onboard A/C
- The DeepFlight Super Falcon out to sea Graham Hawkes and Sir Richard Branson diving DeepFlight Super Falcon with Great White sharks off of Guadalupe Island, Mexico
- Deepflight Super Falcon on the surface Most recently, the DeepFlight Super Falcon getting set up for operations at Laucala Island Resort, Fiji