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Diving

Going up

On trailer

Straight on

Thumbs-up

Graham Hawkes

Pushing off the dock

Heading out

Console

Diving down

Calm underwater

Reflection as surfacing

Above the surface

Going by

Below the surface

Breaking the surface

Drone filming

Drone fliming closer

Quick turn

Diving

Dome reflection

Thumbs-up close-up

No passengers

Waving

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. -- When you're doing something fewer people have done than go into space, it's hard not to feel privileged.

That's especially true when it's riding inside a DeepFlight SuperFalcon, a two-person submersible that plies the depths of lakes and oceans like a sleek airplane.

Designed for owners of super yachts, and costing $1.7 million, these are machines only a few people will ever experience. But they allow those inside them to view the underwater world with clarity and closeness that almost no other method can offer.

Caption by / Photo by DeepFlight

Controlled on a fly-by-wire system, the SuperFalcon can dive to 120 meters, and has the nimble freedom of movement of a small plane. It can fly alongside dolphins, or dive with whales. And because it's positively buoyant, if something goes wrong mechanically, it simply floats back to the surface.

Caption by / Photo by DeepFlight

On a day of diving in Lake Tahoe, the SuperFalcon sits on its trailer in the early morning sunshine, its two acrylic domes covered up.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

A look at the SuperFalcon, which is just 8.8 feet wide (including wings) from the front.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

CNET's Daniel Terdiman (sitting in the rear) gives the thumbs-up as the SuperFalcon is lowered into the waters of Lake Tahoe. DeepFlight founder and lead designer Graham Hawkes sits in front.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

Hawkes, who has been designing submersible vehicles for decades, once built one for the 1981 James Bond film, "For Your Eyes Only."

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

A swimmer in a dry suit pushes the SuperFalcon off its dock and out into the open water.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

The SuperFalcon begins to motor out onto Lake Tahoe, preparing to dive below the surface. The submersible operates on a DC thruster and lithium-iron battery system, and is a zero-emissions vehicle.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

Each person in the SuperFalcon has a console in front of their acrylic dome, which allows them to see the submersible's heading and depth.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

As the SuperFalcon dives, the console is flooded with bubbles.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Once underwater, everything appears calm and quiet. In Lake Tahoe, where there is little marine life, the water is eerily still, and impossibly blue.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

As the SuperFalcon reaches for the surface, its reflection is mirrored on the underside of the calm water.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

As it surfaces, the SuperFalcon sticks just above water level.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Photographed from an underwater camera on a boat at the surface, the SuperFalcon glides by, leaving just the barest trace of a wake.

Caption by / Photo by DeepFlight

Photographed from a pier, the SuperFalcon is seen entirely underwater, just below the surface.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

The SuperFalcon, seen just as it breaks the surface of Lake Tahoe. It travels at speeds between 2.3 and 6.9 miles an hour.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

An octocopter flies above the surface, filming the SuperFalcon as it plies Lake Tahoe.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

A closer look at an octocopter that's filming the SuperFalcon.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

The SuperFalcon's wake shows how sharp a turn it can make. The submersible can make very steep dives or ascents, and can even "fly" upside down.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

The SuperFalcon dives for the depths of Lake Tahoe.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

As it nears the surface, but before breaking through, the SuperFalcon's front dome is seen reflected on the underside of the water.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman gives another thumbs-up as the SuperFalcon motors quietly back to the dock.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

There are "no passengers" on a DeepFlight submersible like the SuperFalcon, explained Graham Hawkes, the company's founder and head designer. Each person aboard has flight controls, and either person can pilot it at any time.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET

CNET's Daniel Terdiman waves from the SuperFalcon, seen from the pier above.

Caption by / Photo by Kathleen Craig for CNET
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