Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Flying Subs

I can't decide whether I'd rather have a flying car or a flying submarine. Both seem right up my alley. Last week's New Scientist has another article about progress toward a flying sub. (I know I've written about this before, but I can't find my own post on the subject!) Some of the possibilities being considered: use of jet turbines both for air and underwater propulsion (the underwater use being powered by electric motors, rather than jet combustion), the use of air/hydrofoils for both flight and forced submersion. Of course, the work at this point is being pursued on behalf of the military, but I'm rooting for a civilian version, too. I'd link to the article, but most of it is behind a paywall for subscribers, unfortunately. 

All this puts me in mind of Tom Swift, Jr.'s diving seacopter, from the juvenile novel of 1956. That handy invention used an atomic-powered central rotor in the middle of a flying saucer. To fly, it spun to force air downward. To submerge, it reversed to force water upward. I wonder if the folks at DARPA have given any thought to hiring Tom. Here's what the Ocean Arrow looked like...

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