Necker Nymph is a three person open-cockpit wet submersible developed to allow passengers to experience the underwater world in a whole new way. We talked to Adam Wright, Mechanical Engineer and CEO of DeepFlight, builder of the vehicle. Necker Nymph is currently located on Necker Island, belonging to Sir Richard Branson.
Necker Nymph was specifically designed for Necker Belle, Sir Richard Branson’s luxury catamaran. It is a prototype and remains one of a kind. It's electric powered. Importantly, like all DeepFlight subs, Necker Nymph has near-zero environmental impact. Its positive buoyancy prevents the sub from landing on a reef, and its low light and noise emissions ensure the fragile ocean ecosystems remain undisturbed.
The advantage to diving with this is to experience ‘underwater flight!’ It gives its passengers the opportunity to fly along with sea life and observe the sea in a completely unique way. With traditional scuba diving, the diver cannot cover much ground during a dive, whereas the sub allows the diver to see and experience so much more.
What is your background?
My background is in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on marine vehicle design. We’ve built a number of remarkable products, see Deepflight and click on Gallery for more details.
I have been with DeepFlight since 2000, starting as an entry-level design engineer and quickly moving up to principal mechanical engineer. I played a vital role in the development of all of the company’s major projects and prototypes. Through these projects, I also gained a unique awareness and appreciation for the potential of DeepFlight technology in recreational markets. I was elevated to the position of President and COO in January 2013. I hold a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.
What was your role in the development of Necker Nymph?
I was principal mechanical engineer on the Nymph. I was responsible for the overall mechanical systems design, including all CAD work, flow analysis, buoyancy analysis, etc. Graham Hawkes is the Chief Technology Officer and his role is high level technology and design oversight. He came up with the initial conceptual design and aesthetics of the Nymph, and it was my job to make it a reality. We had 3 engineers and 2 technicians working on this project.
What were the challenges you faced during its development?
Since it is a “wet submersible” (i.e. the pilot and passengers must use SCUBA), we did not meet the same types of challenges we would meet on a normal submersible. One of the main challenges was to create a robust mechanical flight control system that could be controlled by the pilot while training someone in the adjoining seat.
Are you planning to build more vehicles?
Currently we are focusing on “dry” DeepFlight designs such as our two passenger Super Falcon and the one seat high performance Black Hawk.
Did you use any external expertise?
All of our designs are done in-house, but our manufacturing is outsourced.
What would you do today differently? Anything to improve?
Hard to say. The Nymph was a very successful vehicle for its purpose as a unique form of recreation, but our focus is now on “dry” DeepFlight vehicles.
Specifications of the Necker Nymph
Cruise speed: 2-5 knots
Launch weight: 750 kg
Lenght: 4,6 m
Beam: 3,0 m
Height: 1,2 m
Configuration: Three seat side-by-side
Thank you to Adam and the DeepFlight team for sharing their experiences and insights with our GrabCAD Community!