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'flipping' research ship turns 50

Bizarre research vessel can go from a horizontal to vertical position while staying afloat and stable in heavy seas, even in 80-foot waves.
FLIP can pump 700 tons of seawater into the fat end of the baseball bat, submerging that part, while the other end rises. It takes some 20 minutes to flip.
The vessel ends up standing in the sea like a buoy that's five stories tall. It has often been mistaken for a capsized ship.

A ship rolls with storm waves, but FLIP is so stable it is almost immobile

—Scripps Institute of Oceanography engineer Eric Slater

The Floating Instrument Platform, FLIP, is a 355 foot long manned spar buoy designed as a stable research platform for oceanographic research. FLIP is towed to its operating area in the horizontal position and through ballast changes is "flipped" to the vertical position to become a stable spar buoy with a draft of 300 feet.

FLIP is owned by the US Navy and was conceived and developed by the Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. Built originally to measure effects of the environment on long range sound propagation for the US Navy's SUBROC program, FLIP has been used principally for acoustics research since then.

Further reading ►
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FLIP'ing over
Further reading ►

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