What is the DST II?
The Dan Scott Taylor II (DST II) is a undersea research submarine still in new construction - 44 feet in length, six foot in diameter and rated for a crew of four. The submarine was designed for a maximum running depth of 2000 feet with a top submerged speed of 22 knots by Dan Scott Taylor II, its original designer. It has never seen undersea service and is currently slated for its initial shakedown cruise in 2010.
What is its history?
In 1969, Dan Scot Taylor traveled to Loch Ness with his own one man submarine, the Viperfish, to look for the legendary creature of the Loch. He had designed and built the Viperfish on his own initiative and using his own funds. He launched the Viperfish into the loch and gave chase to a shadowy creature at an underwater speed of 14 knots only to be outrun by whatever it was. Dan decided what he needed was speed and a depth potential equal to the Loch. So he returned to the states and began work on a larger submarine, the vessel we now call DST II. He worked on the submarine as its designer and only engineer for decades. Tragically, Dan passed away after heart surgery on Saturday, July 23, 2005 and never saw his creation in the water. When Dan passed away, it about 75% complete.
In his will, Dan left his submarine to a young enthusiastic woman whom he had mentored for many years, Vicki Mudd. Vicki took the submarine and stored it before deciding she would like a research concern to use it for marine research, a passion of hers. She was also sure that Dan would heartily approve. We connected with Vicki and after reviewing our goals, she not only contributed the submarine to the non-profit research company that supports our expeditions but we managed to sign her and her husband, Kevin up as members!
We decided to name it the Dan Scott Taylor II because we did not want his connection to the submarine to be lost. While our mission is different than his, it is still an affirmation of both our dreams – to discover what lies beneath and go to where few have dared to go before.The Expeditions received the contribution on Sunday, May 6th, 2007.What will it be used for?Dan had a very specific mission in mind when he designed the DST II. He needed speed and depth to accomplish his goals. His plan was to stay submerged in the Loch for hours. Those ideas predicated his design of a sleek, unencumbered speed machine, shown here, just as we received it.
Our mission is somewhat opposite Dan’s. We don’t care much about speed. Our operational depth will not exceed 200 feet. Our mission duration could be as long as five days with a crew of four aquanauts. So we had a dilemma. We had no choice but to use what Dan gave us and modify it for our mission. After we considered all those things, the DST II changed to look like this as shown here in our working model:
One of the reasons for the modifications is to install a set of main ballast tanks shown to either side of the hull. We also need greater visibility so we added the two larger port and starboard viewports amidships. Here you can see the vessel from the portside view:
Here you can also see our blue water coning tower for operations in the ocean, which unlike the Loch is almost never flat. Seen here is Dan's original propeller design, still attached without any plans to change it at all. And here you can also see the legs we needed to allow the DST II to land on the seafloor and offer a platform for divers to exit the bottom of the submarine.This view offers a look at her upper deck. Here we have installed work platforms fore and aft to allow us to work off the ocean floor if we so desire as well as a place to set up and haul down equipment, probes, etc. On either side of the port and starboard thruster tubes aft we have installed heat exchangers, vital of we plan to run five day missions. If you will look at both the fore and aft cones, Dan wisely installed small vertical and horzontal thrusters built in to the cones allow for delicate trim motions underwater. The small gray dots represent 16 small ports in two rows of eight that ring the vessel. Dan had no other choice but to to make them small if he planned a mission to 2000 feet! Here is a photo of Dan peering out one of them to show you their size in reference to the 44 foot long vessel.
Below is a picture of the underside of the submarine. Note the landing legs and aft of the rear window row is the diver's access hatch.
In this parting shot, you are able to see the bottom configuration a little more clearly. Forward are four one million candle power lights for working on the seafloor at night. We plan to saturate our crews to 120 feet, open the hatch and live under pressure for 4 days with one day of decompression sitting on the ocean floor before coming back home. Therefore we will have unlimited bottom time while we are there and may need the lights to work at night outside! On either side of the conning tower, we also plan to install cameras to give the DST II skipper a view ahead and behind us if we have to navigate while still buttoned up inside.The inside of the DST II is also under design revision. We are planning to add four feet of length to bring the passenger cabin to 21 feet, allowing for a seperate diver lock out chamber, wetroom, shower and toliet in addition to a small galley, seating and bunk space for four. The DST II will also feature a command and control console as well as a full suite of certified decompression facilities.
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