$1.7 Million Personal Submarine Lets You 'Fly' Underwater

Adventurers with deep pockets can now explore the hidden depths of the ocean, thanks to a futuristic submarine.

The DeepFlight Super Falcon, developed by California-based Hawkes Ocean Technologies, is a two-seater, winged submersible that can take passengers on undersea joyrides. The custom-built underwater vehicles are designed to dive below the surface, swim amongst marine animals, deftly navigate through underwater canyons, and even perform aquatic barrel rolls, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

"It is like an airplane with wings upside down," Graham Hawkes, founder and chief technical officer of Hawkes Ocean Technologies, told the Chronicle. "It is like flying in the air, but we are flying underwater."

The submarine is 21 feet (6.4 meters) long, and has a wingspan that stretches nearly 9 feet (2.7 m). The submersible can carry two or three passengers, depending on the configuration of the vehicle, and can dive to a depth of about 394 feet (120 m). (See Photos of the DeepFlight Super Falcon Submersible)

Best Ocean Animal Photos of 2013

Traditionally, submarines are constructed with an inner shell and an outer shell. To dive, submarines fill the space between the two shells with water, changing the ship's density and creating so-called negative buoyancy - when the gravitational tug on the sub is greater than the force of buoyancy. When submarines remain on the water's surface, the area between the two shells is filled with air, which again changes the vehicle's density and enables it to float.

The Super Falcon, however, dives underwater like a whale, using thrust to generate "downward lift" to help the vehicle descend below the water's surface. Essentially, the submarine uses lift and drag - the principles of regular flight - to "soar" underwater.

This means the Super Falcon is always positively buoyant - or remains floating unless some mechanical device or additional weight is used - which is a key safety feature of the winged submersible, according to company officials. If an emergency occurs, or the vehicle loses power underwater, it will simply float back to the surface.

Classic Summer Sports You Should Try

"It looks like a James Bond wild machine, but it is positively buoyant, so it's really safe," Karen Hawkes, Graham's wife and the vice president for marketing, told the Chronicle.

Hawkes Ocean Technologies, founded in 1996, got its start designing submersibles for the military and scientific communities. In the mid-1990s, the company began developing winged submersibles aimed at the luxury market.

The Super Falcon currently retails for $1.7 million, and includes on-site pilot and operations training. The vehicles are among the latest high-tech items geared at the super-rich, and the company already boasts some famous clients: Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire British tycoon, has already made several dives in the DeepFlight Super Falcon, and famed American adventurer Steve Fossett commissioned a single-seater sub capable of diving to the bottom of the Marianas Trench before his untimely death in 2007.

Original article on LiveScience.

Hyperloop, Jetpacks & More: 9 Futuristic Transit Ideas Marine Marvels: Spectacular Photos of Sea Creatures Shipwrecks Gallery: Secrets of the Deep Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

A DeepFlight Super Falcon is pictured underwater, off the coast of Tonga.

The Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition, organized by the Underwater Photography Guide, announces its 2013 winners. Here, a triggerfish is being cleaned at a wreck in the Red Sea.

Two kelp crabs defend their meal in waters off of Seattle.

This scene might look intimate, but these fish are actually fighting. Two blennies lock jaws near Blue Heron Bridge in Riviera Beach, Fla.

Two green sea turtles meet up at Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands.

Two manatee calves nurse in a family moment snapped at Crystal River, Fla.

This sea lion portrait was captured in Southern Australia.

A bait ball refers to a naturally occurring fish swarm. This diver in the Canary Islands certainly had a good view of one.

Blacktip sharks are active at dusk, as you can see in this shot of a shark near KwaZulu Natal, a province of South Africa.

Photographer Vanessa Mignon went eye-to-eye with a humpback whale near Vava’u, Tonga.

Water appears to be spinning around this Caribbean reef shark, photographed in the Bahamas.

Dolphins will sometimes eat jellyfish, but this enormous one doesn't appear to be on the dolphin’s menu.

The photographer moved in for a close-up of this squid in the waters off of northeast Taiwan.

The flower-like hydroid is actually a small marine predator related to jellyfish. Tiny crustaceans known as amphipods collect around the hydroid. They were photographed off Grand Cayman.

This pipefish makes contact with coral near Moalboal, Philippines.

Juveniles of many marine species stick together, like these flying fish. They were captured near the water’s surface off northeast Taiwan.

The pink of the algae really pops over a school of parrotfish in the waters off of Socorro Island.

"The tiny octopus stopped in my lights, intently studying me as I studied it," said photographer Jeffrey Millsen, "and then began to expressively posture and react to my every move."

This grey seal was timid at first, but couldn’t resist playing with the diver’s drysuit glove. The moment was captured in the waters off of Norway.

Red hues often signify danger in nature. This devil scorpionfish seems to be basking in its power, hanging out at Lembeh Strait, Indonesia.

A man takes his child for a first dip.