Tests continue for Virgin Oceanic

Author Image for Jack Preston


Content Manager


Virgin Oceanic

Virgin Oceanic co-founder and pilot Chris Welsh has revealed that tests on the teams underwater vessels are progressing well, with over half a dozen completed this summer.

Since Virgin Oceanic was formed last year they have stuck to the brief of furthering human exploration and scientific research, as founders Welsh and Richard Branson aim to pioneer oceanic exploration through a series of ground-breaking, deep sea dives.

Were learning a lot about the subs behaviour. Things like locking in the buoyancy seem simple, but were vexing we would have trouble initiating a descent, then in the same dive be heavy and have a challenge returning to the surface without dropping the neutral ballast because the sub was heavy. Sometimes adding another 10 pounds of weight would make the difference in a 8,000 pound vessel. Unintended variable buoyancy is the bane of a submariners existence! Revealed Welsh.

"I have to say, the first time you attack a $5 million dollar vehicle with a hole saw is a bit unnerving!

We started chasing trapped air and got this problem under control. Air that was still bubbling out of course made the sub heavier over time, and the truly trapped air shrinks under pressure when descending. In the end, we attacked the sub with a drill and hole saw to ventilate every space that could hold air, big and small. Now buoyancy has become a fixed figure, which is a relief! I have to say, the first time you attack a $5 million dollar vehicle with a hole saw is a bit unnerving.

While there might be a few nerves around the camp, as is natural during periods of such heavy testing, Welsh was keen to point out that his primary emotion was excitement at the prospect of what lies ahead.

I cant wait to dive bigger. Cant wait! There is no feeling as exquisite as exploring new territory and seeing new creatures. Not another bird, different colored but like other birds you have seen before, but all new: shark egg pouches, saphs, and odd shaped jelly fish. And so much more just a little bit deeper

If youd like to find out more about their progress or mission statements, head over to the Virgin Oceanic website.

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