Sir Richard Branson's underwater plane
Tuesday 2, February 2010
Adventure Sir Richard Branson has unveiled his new toy - an underwater "plane" for a voyage to the bottom of the sea.
The Virgin Atlantic boss hopes the submarine with fighter jet technology will explore unchartered depths at 35,000ft.
The £415,000 carbon fibre prototype Necker Nymph will swoop 130ft under the surface but Sir Richard, 59, is building a stronger version to go deeper than any sub has ever been.
Sir Richard said: "It is very similar to an airplane flying in the sea. You can literally do loop-the-loops."
It could eventually reach the Mariana Trench, believed to be the world's lowest spot in the Pacific Ocean.
US company Hawkes built the 15ft "winged" sub which has three 360-degree view cockpits and is steered like a plane with a joystick. Film director James Cameron used one of their subs to look for underwater inspiration for his 3D blockbuster Avatar.
Sir Richard - who last month unveiled the world's first commercial spaceship - told The Sun the sub will be based at his private Necker Island. He plans to use it to take tourists on underwater trips. He said: "We hope to have submarines dotted throughout the world. A pressurised submarine is nearly completed. But the real challenge is to explore what's going on at the bottom of the oceans."
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