Necker Nymph

The Necker Nymph is a submersible vehicle operated by Virgin Aquatic[1] from the 32-metre yacht Necker Belle,[2] which is based at the Virgin Limited Edition resort Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.[3]

Name: Necker Nymph
Owner: Virgin Limited Edition
Operator: Virgin Oceanic
Builder: Hawkes Ocean Technologies
Cost: £415,000
General characteristics
Class and type: DeepFlight Merlin
Displacement: 750kg
Length: 4.6m
Beam: 3.0m
Capacity: 3
Crew: 1

The Necker Nymph is the initial example of the DeepFlight Merlin class of positively-buoyant open-cockpit wet subs manufactured by Hawkes Ocean Technologies.[4] It relies on hydrodynamic forces for anti-lift force. It is 4.5 metres long, capable of 360-degree "hydrobatic" maneuvers, can dive up to 40 metres underwater, and seats one pilot and two passengers in an open cockpit (necessitating wearing scuba gear).[5][6][7] Occupants have a "windscreen" to protect them from the water's slipstream.[8]


  1. Time Magazine, "Virgin Founder Richard Branson", Dan Fletcher, 1 September 2009 (accessed 25 July 2010)
  2., "Necker Nymph ‘Underwater Aircraft’ announced by Virgin Limited Edition" (accessed 25 July 2010)
  3. New York Daily News, "Richard Branson's latest toy? An underwater plane called 'Necker Nymph'", Catey Hill, Monday 1 February 2010 (accessed 25 July 2010)
  4., "Necker Nymph: underwater flying becomes Virgin territory", Noel McKeegan, 21 January 2010 (accessed 25 July 2010)
  5., "Richard Branson Has a New Toy: An Airplane-like Submarine!", 2 February 2010 (accessed 25 July 2010)
  6., "What billionaires do on summer vacations", Katie Evans, 16 June 2010 (accessed 25 July 2010)
  7. The Sun (London), "Submergin' Atlantic", Richard Moriarty, 29 January 2010 (accessed 25 July 2010)
  8. Daily Mail, "What to get the man who has everything? An underwater plane of course", Claire Bates, 29 January 2010 (accessed 25 July 2010)

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