Friday, May 21, 2010

FLIP, The Wolds Strangest Ocean Vessel, How Does it Float? (Interesting Video)


Here is a short mpg video of (
) you can download that is 3 min long if you like, or you can watch one of the two the embedded videos at the end of this article.

Considering we live on a planet who's surface is 71% water, it only makes sense that we should understand as much about the oceans as we do dry land. So throughout the years there has been countless expeditions who's main purpose was to collect information about the vast bodies of water throughout the world. The men and women who have dedicated their lives to the specific purpose of unlocking the secrets of the vast waterworld that resides within our planet, have benefited from various vessels designed specifically to meet that challenge.

In 1950, French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau
acquired the minesweeper Calypso, and

transformed it into an oceanographic research vessel. Then in 1966 he was invited to produce a documentary on about ocean life for television. So for the next 10 years "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" would become America's eye into the world of sharks, whales, dolphins, sunken treasure, and coral reefs. Many of today's Oceanographers credit Jacques Cousteau for their passion of Ocean exploration. With the awareness of Cousteau's show, there would soon be many more research vessels designed by many engineers for the purpose of understanding the Ocean, above and below the surface.

The American public's awareness of what was beneath the ocean waves would be aroused by the discovery of the Titanic on September 1, 1985 by a submersible named the Argo. The Argo was used by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Research Vessel Knorr to find the sunken, unsinkable ocean liner. Then in 1997 Director James Cameron introduced to the world to another submersible vessel named Alvin, when he released his mega hit movie "Titanic". As early as WWI, submersibles have been used by the navy for the specific purpose of exploring the Ocean floors. Then on January 23, 1960, the navy's Trieste set an all-time depth record by diving to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean. However, all these deep sea research vehicles need ships to get them to their destination of exploration.

Like the research vessel Knorr Research Vessel Knor.jpg
(pictured to the right) which is owned by the
U.S. Navy, these ships are all equipped with the newest technology that allows for anywhere from 10 to 38 scientists to be on board at the same time performing various research projects in the laboratories. Like the Knorr, these ships can stay at sea for upwards of 2 months at a time before they need to come to port for supplies. There is the R/V Atlantis which has a crew of 23 while allowing for 24 scientists, and the R/V Kilo Moana which is operated by the University of Hawaii, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, in Manoa. The R/V Kilo Moana is 186 feet long and displaces 2,542 tons. It holds 17 crewmen and 31 scientists and can travel at 15 knots. Except for some strange looking equipment on deck, you would not be able to distinguish one of these research vessels from any merchant ship. That is all but one.

That one research vessel is so distinguishable from the other research vessels that it doesn't even look like a ship. Nope, fact is this research vessel looks more like a Louisville slugger while being towed out to sea, and a giant water buoy when it is fully deployed. They call this vessel the FLIP, which is short for Floating Instrument Platform. Made in 1962, yet still being used, the Flip is one of the worlds best kept secrets of the Oceanographic industry, but this secret has not been on purpose however. No its low profile in the awareness of the public's eye is probably due to the type of work it's scientists perform.

These experiments are not the kind of stories the MSM would dare bump more important stories like, the effects on old people if Republicans are successful in blocking the increase of taxes, or how many innocent thugs were murdered by guns thanks to the evil and unneeded 2nd Amendment. No, the MSM would never waist valuable air time to show you a short video clip of FLIP and what experiments they do. Besides, the kind of experiments that are conducted aboard FLIP are "Ocean Surface Wave Optical Roughness: Innovative Polarization Measurement", or testing the relationship between pipe length and seawater entrainment or exit velocity towards development of a salinity gradient power source. So as you can imagine, not many have heard of this extraordinary research vessel, and to be honest not many would probably understand the need for such a vessel.

At a total of 355 ft long, when Flip is flipped it still has 300 feet in the water which allows the scientists on-board to carry out experiments that otherwise could only done in submersibles. Due to the natural motions the ocean waves, along with violent storms, a normal research ship is limited by what tests it can perform. FLIP is not limited by these factors though. See natures most powerful force of waves is rapidly dissipated just beneath the surface of the ocean. Even during the most severe of storms that could cover hundreds of miles of ocean surface, the water is relatively calm just a few hundred feet below the surface. So the 300 feet of FLIP that is still beneath the oceans surface can carry out those experiment that has become its domain for the last 50 years. Below is some of the statistics of this interesting vessel, then a short video that will get you a little acquainted with this most interesting of all ocean research vessels.

Class overview
Name: FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform)
Builders: Gunderson Brothers Engineering
Operators: US Office of Naval Research, Marine Physical Laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
General characteristics
Tonnage: 700 GRT
Length: 355 ft (108.2 m)
Beam: 26 ft (7.93 m)
Draft: 12.57 ft (3.83 m)
Propulsion: None, towed
Speed: 7-10 knotts (towed)

If that video whetted your appetite, then you might be interested in watching this longer 37 minute video from Scripps Oceanography institute about FLIP.

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