FLIP Turns 50 ! Navyâ€™s Floating Instrument Platform One Half Century Old
The Navy’s Floating Instrument Platform, better known as FLIP, went into service fifty years ago, in 1962. Â The 355-foot research vesselÂ is capable of operatingÂ horizontallyÂ as a conventional, ifÂ somewhatÂ odd-looking, ship. When on station, however, it “flips” vertically 90 degrees and becomes the equivalent of a massive sparÂ buoy. Â Because the hydrodynamic forces act primarily on the bottom of the vessel, which is far below the surface waves, the ship is highly stable in heavy seas and up to 80′ waves.
You’d think a ship designed after a baseball bat would go over like a foul ball when it comes to seaworthiness, but research ship FLIP has been a hit since its launch 50 years ago.
Operated by Scripps and owned by the U.S. Navy, the 355-foot FLIP was designed by Phillip Rudnick, Fred H. Fisher, and Fred N. Spiess, and first tested in July 1962 as part of an anti-submarine rocket program. It was recently shown off in the Pacific for its birthday.