Over the years the Human Powered Submarine Team of Virginia Tech has lost track of a great deal of the history related to our submarines. We would like your help in reconstructing this history! If you are an alumni or were a participant in some other way, and have information regarding the team's history, please contact us at hps@vt.edu. We would love to hear from you!

Phantom 8

Operating Years: 2015-Present
Length: ~10'-0"
Beam: ~2'-0"
Crew Size: Single Pilot
(2) Support Divers
Propulsion Class: Contra-Rotating Propeller,
Linear Drive-Train
Entered In: Planned for 14th ISR,
June 2017
Awards: TBD
Top Speed: TBD
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wayne L. Neu and Dr. Christine M. Ikeda

Description:

The next in class addition to the Phantom family, Phantom 8 is intended to take the developments of Phantom 7 and carry them through to the finish line. Such developments include the implementation of the linear gearbox with the addition of a contra-rotating propeller system. Furthermore, the electronics developed for both P6 and P7 will be carried forward as the central brain unit for an autonomous control system, which will control not only steering but a controllable pitch propeller.

Phantom 7

Operating Years: 2014-2015
Length: 9'-4"
Beam: 2'-0"
Crew Size: Single Pilot
(2) Support Divers
Propulsion Class: Single Propeller,
Linear Drive-Train
Entered In: 13th ISR
Awards: -
Top Speed: n/a
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wayne L. Neu

Description:

Built in only a matter of five and a half months, Phantom 7 was a major milestone in Virginia Tech manufacturing. Having created the entire mold on campus for the first time, the team began to become less dependant on outside sources for part manufacturing, greatly reducing lead times. Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, and a major shortage of time, Phantom 7 was unable to complete a run at the 13th ISR, and is not expected to return in future years. The sub, which is by far the most flashy of the Phantom class, now takes up post in the Ware Lab showroom.

Phantom 6

Operating Years: 2007-2015
Length: 11'-2"
Beam: 3'-4"
Crew Size: (2) Pilots,
(3) Support Divers
Propulsion Class: Dual Linear Drive-Train,
Counter-Rotating Twin Propellers
Entered In: 12th ISR, 13th ISR
Awards: Innovation Award at the 12th ISR,
3rd for Speed in Class at 13th ISR
Top Speed: 1.670 Knots
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wayne L. Neu

Description:

Having spent more than half of its build life as an empty shell, new regulations in the ISR handbook forced the team of 2013 into overdrive to complete the internal components of Phantom 6. With an onboard electronic data acquisition system that could record information about speed, propeller RPM, and orientation, coupled with the side-by-side gearbox design, the sub brought home the 1st place award for innovation. With a significant overhaul of the power transmission system during the design year, and with an amazing feat of 'field engineering' at competition, the 13th ISR would see Phantom 6 across the finish line. This extra large vehicle now sits in the showroom of the Ware Lab alongside Phantom 5.

Phantom 5

Operating Years: 2003-2011
Length: 9'-1"
Beam: 1'-8"
Crew Size: Single Pilot,
(3) Support Divers
Propulsion Class: Single Propeller,
Linear Drive-Train
Entered In: 8th ISR, 9th ISR, 10th ISR, 11th ISR
Awards: 3rd in Innovation at the 10th ISR
Top Speed: 3.771 Knots
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wayne L. Neu

Description:

Unable to complete a run at the 8th ISR, Phantom 5 returned two years later to finish 5th with a top speed of 3.771 knots. Following the improvements of the second race, the team further changed Phantom 5 and returned a third time to the 10th ISR where she claimed 3rd in innovation. Finally, returning for the 11th ISR, Phantom 5 would become the longest running submarine in Virginia Tech's history. The vessel now lays rest in the showroom of the Ware Lab as a testament to the years of engineering that made it.

Specter 1

Operating Years: 2001-2003
Length: 8'-6"
Beam: 2'-2"
Crew Size: Single Pilot,
No Support Required
Propulsion Class: Non-Propeller, Monofin
Entered In: 7th ISR
Awards: 1st for Speed in Class
Top Speed: 3.520 Knots
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wayne L. Neu

Description:

Carrying on the ghastly names with a new class, Specter is the only non-propeller driven submarine built by Virginia Tech. Featuring a flooded nose cone with the air supply and pilots head inside, the pilot wore a neoprene skirt that extended from the shoulders down to the ankles, where it connected to a single mermaid-like monofin. Using a dolphin kick, the pilot was able to reach surprising speeds, and it rumored the idea was considered for varrious types of special ops and rescue diving. This fish-like shell is currently seeking a home on Virginia Tech's campus, and is stored temporarily in the HPS Bay at Ware Lab.

Phantom 4

Operating Years: 2001-2003
Length: 8'-8"
Beam: 1'-10"
Crew Size: Single Pilot
Propulsion Class: Single Propeller,
Bicycle Drive-Train
Entered In: 7th ISR
Awards: 3rd for Speed in Class
Top Speed: 4.516 Knots
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wayne L. Neu

Description:

With integrated stabilizers and a uniquely light hull construction, Phantom 4 marked a turning point the in the design process for Virginia Tech when innovation came forward as the primary point of focus. This would prove a successful tactic in the years and designs to come. The current resting place of Phantom 4 is in the atrium of Hancock Hall on Virginia Tech's campus.

Phantom 3

Operating Years: 1999-2001
Length: unknown
Beam: unknown
Crew Size: Single Pilot
Propulsion Class: Single Propeller,
Bicycle Drive-Train
Entered In: 6th ISR
Awards: Best Overall Performance
Top Speed: 5.017 Knots
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wayne L. Neu

Description:

This new creation of Virginia Tech's received the Overall Performance award due to "...speed and maneuverability in the water as well as high-tech design of composite materials, computerized advanced power-to-propulsion conversion and the team's response to challenging and changing circumstances during race week." Currently reflected as the most successful submarine in Virginia Tech's history, Phantom 3 was eventually donated to the Foundation for Underwater Research and Education as a traveling display that could be used at outreach events.

Phantom 2

Operating Years: 1993-1995
Length: unknown
Beam: unknown
Crew Size: Single Pilot
Propulsion Class: Single Propeller,
Bicycle Drive-Train
Entered In: 4th ISR
Awards: unknown
Top Speed: unknown
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wayne L. Neu

Description:

A more refined design, Phantom 2 was built for both the open water races and the Model Basin at Carderrock. Her success is unknown as there are no records available of her speed, however many pieces of the hull and control systems, which were decommissioned some time after the races, remain in the lab as a reminder of the great ships existence.

Phantom 1

Operating Years: ~1991-1993
Length: unknown
Beam: unknown
Crew Size: Single Pilot
Propulsion Class: Single Propeller,
Bicycle Drive-Train
Entered In: Believed to be the 3rd ISR
Awards: unknown
Top Speed: unknown
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Danny Reed

Description:

While little is known about the exact details of Phantom 1, it is the first submarine produced by Virginia Tech. Built to be raced in an open water environment, the control surfaces were over two square feet in area. The exact whereabouts of the shell are unknown, however it is believed that the hull was decommissioned (destroyed) prior to the construction of Phantom 3.

If you have any further information about VT HPS, our submarines, or our team's history, please contact us at hps@vt.edu.