Saturday, June 9, 2012

The FS-1 Flying Sub

One of my favorite TV shows as a kid was “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” It was made in the mid 60s as a futuristic show set in the 70s and later the 80s. The main submarine in the show called the Seaview (billed as the first privately owned nuclear submarine) was cool enough, but when they introduced a mini-sub that could fly in the second season, it turned a lot of heads. There were toy versions and models of it for sale in every department store. They called it the FS-1 (Flying Sub-1), but there was at least one other called the FS-2 (they kept crashing these in the stories, so the following week a new one would show up.)

Obviously most of the footage on the show, especially the underwater scenes were done with miniature models, but what I just found out is that the FS-1 was an actual flying sub made by General Dynamics and Reynolds Metal in 1964-65. It featured a pair of massive solid-fuel turbine engines and really could both fly and submerge. It was used by the Navy until the mid 70s. Here it is:

Some of the flying footage on the show was actually done with the real thing! It was built to look like a stingray, and they succeeded except for the yellow color. But who knew this thing was rea!? And here I was saving all those Bazooka Joe wrappers for the coveted human powered submarine prize thinking it might be as cool as the FS-1 when I got it—not!

Tom Veal's "Stromata"

Just a quick note of praise for Mr. Veal's excellent website and blog. He's probably best known to sci-fi writers (he once served as chairman at the World Science Fiction Convention), but he's a devout Christian who really has his head on straight about most topics, and he muses on almost every subject under the sun. If you have never visited his website, you really should. It's called Stromata.