Press Release

DeepFlight Challenger — World’s Deepest Submersible — to Dive to Mariana Trench

By SpaceRef Editor
April 7, 2011
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DeepFlight Challenger — World’s Deepest Submersible — to Dive to Mariana Trench

Hawkes Ocean Technologies announced today that the experimental prototype DeepFlight Challenger submersible is being prepped to make a record 36,000 foot dive to the Mariana Trench. The dives are part of the Virgin Oceanic Five Dives project, a series of ocean expeditions being carried out by DeepSub LLC. Concurrently, Hawkes Ocean Technologies is prepping two Deepflight Super Falcon craft for separate expeditions; a Hawkes-led project in the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan and a multi-year ocean expedition, led by venture capitalist, Tom Perkins.

The DeepFlight submersibles are designed and built by Hawkes Ocean Technologies, a company founded by renowned marine engineer, Graham Hawkes, to introduce a new generation of ultra-lightweight, cost-effective manned craft, based on the Hawkes-patented concept of underwater flight and the higher safety standards of positive buoyancy. Since the late 1990’s, four generations of DeepFlight vehicles have been launched, and are now proving to be a flagship technology in enabling privately-funded ocean exploration using manned submersibles.

DeepFlight Challenger, the third generation winged submersible, was commissioned in 2005 by the late adventurer, Steve Fossett, as an experimental prototype to push sub-sea technology to its absolute limits. Fossett had planned to make a record dive to the deepest point in the ocean, the Mariana Trench. The project was taken over by Chris Welsh and DeepSub LLC in 2010, who, with the support of Virgin Oceanic, is planning to dive DeepFlight Challenger to the deepest point in each of the world’s five oceans. Hawkes Ocean Technologies owns the patents and Intellectual Property rights to commercialize DeepFlight Challenger for science, industry and adventure.

Graham Hawkes stated, “We are grateful to the late Steve Fossett for his vision and courage in taking the first step to advance manned, deep ocean access technology. Steve’s support allowed us to push the limits in every way possible — not only in design, but materials used. While we initially began the DeepFlight project with the goal of getting one person to 36,000 feet, now our goal is to get 36,000 people at least one foot down in the oceans.”

DeepFlight Super Falcon, launched in 2008, was built upon the innovations made with the prototype Challenger, but with the added safety of being positively buoyant, with a fail-safe return to the surface. Designed as a green vehicle, without relying on lead weights or ballast, and with the lowest light and noise emissions, DeepFlight Super Falcon is already enabling a new generation of private explorers. Venture capitalist, Tom Perkins, is about to set off on a multi-year, multi-ocean expedition to fly his DeepFlight Super Falcon with the big animals, beginning with dives in the South Pacific. And, Hawkes Ocean Technologies is launching its own expedition to the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan where the team will be conducting the first scientific survey of the area below diver depths, and continuing its VIP in the Sea program which uses the DeepFlight Super Falcon to bring people on the first sub-sea flights in order to better understand our ocean planet.

Graham Hawkes stated, “We have been incredibly fortunate to have Tom Perkins as the first owner of a DeepFlight Super Falcon submersible, and are thrilled to be supporting his upcoming expedition. Tom is a true pioneer, and he may well be the first human being to fly alongside the big ocean animals and understand what it is like to access the full 3 dimensions of our ocean space.”

Hawkes Ocean Technologies is a privately-held company based in the San Francisco Bay Area that designs, builds and operates the world’s most advanced manned vehicles for ocean exploration. The Company works with private clients, industry, science and government to innovate advanced, cost-effective solutions for deep ocean access. Its flagship vehicle, DeepFlight Super Falcon, is used as a technology ambassador for VIP in the Sea to excite people about the future of ocean exploration and educate the public about the need to preserve our ocean planet. Hawkes Ocean Technologies has worked with Bay Area software giant, Autodesk, as well as Erich Chase of Chaseboats (Tomales Bay, CA) to introduce four generations of the DeepFlight winged submersibles.

Karen Hawkes
cell: 415-717-9729

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SpaceRef staff editor.