The Tahoe Diaries: DeepFlight Dragon Tests

August 14,2015

In Tahoe

The DeepFlight Dragon is nearly ready for its launch at the Monaco Yacht Show in September. All the parts have arrived. The submarine is fully assembled. Tests were conducted outside our workshop in Richmond, California — as you can see in the videos. And now it’s time for deep water test dives up at Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe, one of the largest and deepest freshwater lakes in the country, is just a three-hour drive from the DeepFlight workshop, making it an ideal spot for tests and demo dives. (Because of the freshwater, though, the team does have to make extra calculations when converting to and from seawater!)

This time the team is up at the lake for two whole weeks, fine-tuning all aspects of the Dragon. And having some fun too. You can see them preparing the sub outside the house they’re all staying in.

On the Water

DeepFlight isn’t just testing out the Dragon in Tahoe. We’re also testing out our new Launch and Recovery Dock, which the team used to tow the Dragon into the water (with Graham at the helm of course).

Over the next 10 days, the guys will mostly be testing the flight controls of the Dragon and tuning it for performance. For example, we want to make sure the vertical thrusters cause the sub to descend while staying flat, and not tipping to one side or the other. If it’s not flat, then we’ll need to do some tuning or biasing of the thrusters to make sure the power is evenly distributed.

One of the biggest new features to the Dragon is the ability for it to hover. But, of course, we want to make sure this is as high-performing as everything else from DeepFlight! For example, forward motion while hovering will naturally cause the sub to want to dip its nose, so we have to ensure compensation across the thrusters. The team will also be testing the emergency gasbags, the stability of the sub, and giving some demonstration rides to press.

Oh, and everyone will take a break on Saturday so one of the DeepFlight staff can compete in the 2.7-mile Donner Lake open water swim. Never a dull day around here!