Research Vessel FLIP: half a century, flip-flops

At the junction of the 50s and 60s of the last century — in the midst of the Cool War — the scientists of both superpowers were working on the creation of new weapons and improved features of an old. In the field of new technologies and tools for the Navy researchers beheld some promise in the development of sonar systems. So Makarov could facilitate the detection of submarines and sea mines opponent, increase the efficiency of weapons. Only a number of features research parameters of water caused a few problems for which solutions had to find a very unusual ways. The most exciting of them — FLIP research vessel on days of 50 years.

The main discrepancy was the noise. Supermarine ship (Specifically those boats are almost always used by scientists) is exposed to the waves. In addition, the ship's own systems make noticeable background noise. For ultra-sensitive instruments, which are not possible without severe studies, even errant buzz marine engine is akin to the roar of a jet engine close to the human ear. The solution prepyadstviya noise could be a dive platform with sensors at a certain depth. But here, have had their hiccups, first, affected during the demolition of the space platform descent. It was necessary to come up with something completely new and unusual.

His vision sensor stabilization and isolation of spurious noise in the early 60's, scientists have presented F. Fischer and F. Spiess of the Marine Physical Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (USA). According to their idea, the sensors should have on board the research vessel, and output to the desired depth with the help of his dive. So how to implement this idea on the basis of the construction of submarines could not — affected by a number of features of their design — Fischer and Spiess had to process the idea in a more specific and understandable for shipbuilders look. As a result of joint efforts of employees of the Institute of Oceanography, has connected to programmke Office of the United States Navy and Marine Research Shipyard Gunderson Brothers Engineering in 1962, was launched on the research vessel FLIP.

Title ship stands FLoating Instrument Platform — Floating tool platform. Right from the initial value of the acronym sounds like the English word "flip" or "flip-flop". This play on words was not accidental, from all other courts, military and marine, FLIP features a unique ability. Sensors research equipment really are installed on board the ship. The amount allocated to them in the aft. But save them from excessive noise offered quite an unusual way. Prior to the study FLIP literally becomes the stern.

A few words about the structure of unusual craft. Outside, it is a hybrid of some ships and a submarine: the bow has a traditional body with superstructure, longish ladder and crane boom. If we move from the bow to the stern, you can see that in 15-17 meters after the start of the "travel" superstructure ends abruptly, and the lower part of the body markedly narrowed. Further, up to the stern of the hull 90 meters FLIP is a cylindrical unit, similar to the hull of the submarine. Inside the cylindrical body of the variable cross-section are amounts for research equipment, as 10 ballast tanks. Prior to the study FLIP displayed in the set point, then the crew begins to fill the tank. The first of them are filled with those who are placed in the most stern — due to the distance from the center of mass of the vessel it can precisely control the speed of the dive. With all this nose "Flip" retains positive buoyancy. In the end, when the ballast tanks are filled with the required volume of water, the water is only part of the cylindrical body and the nose of the ship. After research tank blown with compressed air and FLIP vorachivaetsya in a horizontal position. On a similar "flip-flop" takes about half an hour. During the research work in the "upright» FLIP may be in place that is held with 3 anchors, and can drift.

The unique method of use, hydrological function and the presence of the ballast tanks impact not only on the assembly of the ship, and on the composition of its components and assemblies. Thus, FLIP has some propulsion. To a place of research ship delivered by tug. To ensure system performance, it Resettled with 2 diesel generators with a capacity of 150 m each and one spare to 40 kW. In order to avoid exposure to all three sensors generator mounted on shock absorbers in the bow of the ship. Also totality of features FLIP identified the need for a 3-arrows, with which the ship rolls three devyatitonnyh anchor. Apart from the anchor position for the preservation of the vessel meets the small propeller with hydraulic drive, set in the middle of the FLIP.

But the most perceptible innovation caused by "tumbling" — assembly premises. Hydrological studies of concern to FLIP, sometimes require to be in one place for a few weeks. Record the duration of one such change — 45 days. For now, the ship is a 5-man crew and up to 7 scientists. Naturally, they have to have the usual living conditions. To do this, all domestic "equipment" is designed such that it can be used in both positions "Flip". For example, the bed of the crew and the research group attached to the rotary mechanism and can be fixed in the 2-position. The same applies to equipment galley, toilets, etc. As for the scientific equipment, several rooms on the ship fully brought to him. With all of this a number of "boxes" of the scientific purpose is situated on the vessel so that, regardless of the position of FLIP they are on the floor near the wall. In addition, some devices panel can be pivoted around an axis to maintain the same orientation. "Revolutions" of the interior finish location of doors. For convenience, all rooms have a team on two perpendicular door. As a joke sailors who happened to work for FLIP, the main thing — not forgotten, deck or wall in front of you.

But despite the technological originality of design, FLIP still is a platform for scientific equipment. Over half a century of the vessel carrier has managed to stay the 10-s of different systems. In the course of decades of research and hundreds of outlets to the sea research vessel crew was able to learn a lot of facts about the interaction of the different layers of water, the propagation of seismic waves in the ocean, termoobmena in the water and on the surface, etc. At the current time is set for FLIP complex ADONIS (Acoustic Daylight Ocean Noise Imaging System — Acoustic imaging of ocean noise). ADONIS equipment processes the signal from the microphone 126 and forms the three-dimensional image visible and audible precisely circles. It is interesting that the development of the complex was used know-how, previously used in thermal imaging technology. On screen, the system displays an image of ADONIS, different portions of which are painted in different colors. Specific numbers are dependent on the frequency of the received audio signal. With this technology could greatly facilitate the work of the operator of the system and to simplify the following analysis of the data. Besides ADONIS ship FLIP can carry and use a range of other products, but, unfortunately, it is impossible to put all want. Assemblin
g the ship leaves for scientific equipment is not as quite a few places as we would like. All the same, and in existing criteria FLIP is capable of creating all the measurements and records that are required of him.

Research vessel FLIP-hero of the day almost immediately after it became the subject of a self overvalued enthusiastic amateur marine equipment. Over time, however, the enthusiasm has decreased and at the present time about FLIP often recall the various entertainment publications: Photo of the vessel hard work are published in the "it's fun." Yet, in scientific circles as before FLIP widely understood and pochetaemo. As for the staff at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which owns the vessel, they refer to it, what is called, in my own way. Number of jokes and cartoons about the FLIP has long been exceeded all conceivable limits, and on the official web site of the project is laid out on making abstract models of FLIP in the home criteria. Naturally, the "mini-Flip" can not create measurement characteristics of the environment or record sounds of the ocean, but its role of "a hanging" in the water at the correct manufacture performs great.

50 years of active service — a long time for research vessel. Some "brothers» FLIP do not have time to live up to a half-century anniversary. But the very ship-birthday boy while no one is going to send to the rest. FLIP is in fair condition and are often undergoing repairs and modernization. So Makar, with timely and proper maintenance is the scientific vessel can serve science for several decades. In any case, his own successor FLIP just wait.

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