Bathyplane

Bathyplane

 

a towable submarine chamber, a one-seat deep-sea towable craft for taking underwater motion pictures, for observing the performance of trawls, for observing the behavior of schools of fish in their natural habitat and in areas where fishing equipment is being used, and for other kinds of underwater research. In terms of its principle of motion the bathyplane is an “underwater glider” with a constant excess buoyancy; when launched from a vessel it floats on the surface of the water, and while in tow it submerges through the action of hydrodynamic forces and can be kept at any given depth by means of rudders. The pilot-observer in his strongly built, watertight cockpit can control the bathyplane by means of the steering mechanism. The operating towing depth is 100 m, the depth of submergence is 200 m; the length is 4.45 m, the wingspan 4.3 m, and the mass about 2 tons. The length of stay in a bathyplane for the pilot-observer is several hours. The fore area of the hull has four illuminators, which provide a good view of the surroundings during a trip. The bathyplane is equipped with five 500–watt searchlights and a flare lamp synchronized with the photographic camera. The bathyplane is towed on a special cable, which also supplies electrical energy and telephone communications.

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Fish behaviour in the area of the trawl as studied by bathyplane.