Press Release

Karen Hawkes (415) 717-9729
Stephanie Stone (415) 379-5121
Andrew Ng (415) 379-5123


Super Falcon to be used by NOAA to showcase the National Marine Sanctuaries
and promote ocean conservation

SAN FRANCISCO (May 13, 2009) — The California Academy of Sciences and Hawkes Ocean Technologies are pleased to announce that the Deep Flight Super Falcon submersible was unveiled today at the Academy, where it will be on public display through Sunday, May 17, 2009. Deep Flight Super Falcon is the newest and most advanced winged submersible designed and built by renowned engineer, Graham Hawkes. With its unique ability for underwater flight, enabling unprecedented range, speed and maneuverability, Super Falcon offers exotic new capabilities to explore one of the least understood parts of our planet. Hawkes will speak about his newest submersible at the Academy's NightLife event on Thursday, May 14.

With the Deep Flight submersibles, Hawkes has made the same transition sub-sea that the Wright Brothers did in air, transitioning from ballooning to fixed wing aircraft. Deep Flight Super Falcon is the culmination of four generations of experimental prototype winged submersibles that have succeeded in proving the concept of underwater flight, and introducing the next generation of ultra-lightweight manned vehicles that can access the oceans at all depths.

The Super Falcon is the first production-model winged submersible, and was originally commissioned by venture capitalist Tom Perkins for his yacht S/Y Maltese Falcon. "When I was looking for a submersible, I wanted a fighter jet, not a blimp," said Perkins. "The Super Falcon is a resounding success and has exceeded my expectations. I believe the Super Falcon is the future for underwater adventuring."

Graham Hawkes stated, "After twenty years of prototyping, Super Falcon is our most advanced and elegant submersible yet, encompassing all the innovations we made in introducing underwater flight from the surface to the bottom of the ocean. We look forward to working with scientists and explorers to promote a new era of ocean exploration and conservation. We're also looking forward to bringing the public down on sub-sea excursions with our Flight School and VIP in the Sea programs."

One of the first projects for Super Falcon is the launch of VIP in the Sea, a program created by Hawkes Ocean Technologies and NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries to enable communicators - scientists, politicians, policymakers, educators and artists - to experience the oceans as never before, bringing them on flights beneath the sea. The program’s goal is to allow VIPs to experience the oceans first-hand, thereby making that critical personal connection that is the necessary first step in promoting education, exploration and preservation of our ocean planet. The first VIP dives are scheduled for this summer in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

"We are very excited to help launch VIP in the Sea," says William J. Douros, West Coast Regional Director of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. "It is an excellent way to showcase our national marine sanctuaries and call attention to the need to conserve and protect our ocean territories. Until now, the technology was not available to take VIPs safely and comfortably into the deeper parts of the oceans. We see Super Falcon as an Ambassador to the Seas."

Dr. John McCosker, Chair of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences, will be among the first participants in the VIP in the Sea program. "I eagerly await my flight in the Super Falcon," says McCosker, who has conducted submersible-based research in such exotic locales as the Galapagos Islands and Costa Rica’s Cocos Island. "Quiet and stealthy, fast and maneuverable, I can imagine many unique applications for Super Falcon to ocean science." Submersible-based research has allowed McCosker to discover previously unknown sharks, eels, skates, scorpionfishes, and many other denizens of the deep.


Calendar Editors please note:
NightLife, featuring Graham Hawkes and the Super Falcon Submersible
Overall event: 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Lecture: 7:30 pm

Every Thursday night, the Academy opens its doors from 6-10 pm for NightLife, a chance for adults to explore the museum in a whole new light. This week, renowned engineer Graham Hawkes will speak about his newest creation, a sleek ocean submersible that’s been dubbed the Lear Jet of the Sea. The Sub will be on display in the Academy's Islands of Evolution exhibit throughout the evening. As always, visitors can also dance to one of San Francisco's most popular DJs, enjoy food and cocktails, and mingle with the like-minded while exploring the Academy's world-class exhibits and meeting aquarium critters. NightLife is for those ages 21 and over; a valid ID is required for entry. Admission is $10 for non-member adults, $8 for members. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.


About Hawkes Ocean Technologies
Hawkes Ocean Technologies is a privately-held company based in the San Francisco Bay area that designs and builds the most advanced manned and remote vehicles for deep ocean exploration. The Company sells and leases its vehicles, and also runs sub-sea flight excursions with its Flight Schools. The next Flight School is scheduled for Summer 2009 in Monterey Bay. During the twenty years of prototyping, Hawkes Ocean Technologies was supported by Autodesk Inc., Hewlett Packard, Ansys, Sony Corporation, Rolex, Pelican Products, and Achilles Boats. Chase Boats of Marshall California hand-crafts all of the composite body work. Visit
About the California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morris Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, and world-class research and education programs - all under one living roof. The Academy's scientists are at the forefront of efforts to understand and protect the diversity of Earth's living things, including those at the depths of the oceans. The Academy has a staff of over 50 professional educators and Ph.D.-level scientists, supported by more than 100 Research and Field Associates and over 300 Fellows. It conducts research in 11 scientific fields: anthropology, aquatic biology, botany, comparative genomics, entomology, geology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, mammalogy and ornithology. Admission to the Academy is: $24.95 for adults; $19.95 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with valid ID; $14.95 for children ages 7 to 11; and free for children ages six and younger. Admission fees include all exhibits and shows. Hours are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sunday. The Academy is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. (415) 379-8000.
About NOAA and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries manages 14 special protected marine areas around the country, including three sanctuaries located along the shores of northern and central California. Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 529 square miles of ocean off Point Reyes, north of San Francisco. The 1,279-square-mile Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is located west of the San Francisco Bay area. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, where the initial VIP in the Sea dives will take place, protects 6.094 square miles, stretching along 276 miles of the central coast and including deep and special habitats like the Monterey Canyon and Davidson Seamount. Visit
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit