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Alvin, like Wheaties, is a General Mills product - Alvin?!! Ohhhh KAY!!!!!

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Postby TMSmalley » Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:20 am

Alvin, like Wheaties, is a General Mills product
April 11, 2005 Minneapolis (Minn) Star Tribune

Ever notice that in every bowl of Cheerios, some sink to the bottom of the bowl? They're just behaving like another General Mills product, the research submarine Alvin.

Alvin was built in Minneapolis, at 2003 E. Hennepin Av., for the U.S. Navy and launched in 1964 by its operator, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. The Navy turned to the Twin Cities cereal manufacturer because it had made precision equipment for the military during World War II and research balloons afterward.

In a way, General Mills can be likened to the Piccards, a Minnesota-connected family with members who were pioneers in exploring the stratosphere as well as the ocean. Jacques Piccard took his U.S. Navy-owned bathyscaphe Trieste down more than 35,000 feet in 1960, still the deepest dive in history.

Alvin's chief designer was General Mills engineer Harold Froehlich, now retired from 3M Co. and living in St. Anthony.

Named after oceanographer Allyn (Al) Vine, with a nod to the chipmunk portrayed in the novelty songs, Alvin for 40 years has been the main U.S. underwater research vessel, capable of diving to about 14,000 feet, four times deeper than a conventional sub. Its missions have made it famous, especially when in:

• 1966 it retrieved a lost H-bomb off the Spanish coast.

• 1977 it carried scientists on the discovery of giant tube worms on the Pacific floor.

• 1986 it explored the wreck of the Titanic with Robert Ballard.

Alvin has been continually updated and virtually rebuilt. A successor is finally in the works, a vessel capable of a 21,000-foot descent. It is expected to be launched in 2008.

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Postby wingtip » Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:32 am

did you also know alvin was sunk at one time as well:


1968
A series of dives were made to look for submerged whales, Navy dives surveyed the tops of seamounts for a new acoustic test range and geology and biology studies were completed. During the launch for Dive 308 on October 16, Alvin’s cradle support cables failed and Alvin slid into the water and sank to the bottom in 5,000 feet of water. Ed Bland, pilot, received some bruises and a sprained ankle while exiting from the sub. Poor weather conditions and insufficient recovery equipment prevented recovery during the remainder of the year.




1969
Alvin remained on the bottom until Labor Day. The DSV Aluminaut (a submersible from the Reynolds Aluminum Company) and the R/V Mizar assisted in the recovery, which required placement of a lifting bar into Alvin’s hatch (Aluminaut pilots had to break the sail in order to accomplish this). Mizar then raised Alvin to 50 feet, where divers wrapped the sub with lines and nets to prevent loss of any pieces. Alvin was towed to Martha’s Vineyard, where a crane mounted on a barge pulled it out of the water. Overall, there was very little structural damage to the submersible (except for the sail). Lunches left on board were soggy but edible. Discovery that near-freezing temperatures and the lack of decaying oxygen at depth aided preservation opened up new areas of biological and chemical research.

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Edited By wingtip on 1113358833
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Postby Novagator » Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:10 pm

cool, didn't know that.


General Mills makes stuff other than cereal? ???
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Postby FX Models » Thu Apr 14, 2005 7:25 pm

Geez Guys! Now you see why we chose ALVIN as our first RC kit! :p

It has a HECK of a history!

In other news, and speaking of ALVIN, we are working with the science staff at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and are in the process of creating a pair of modern versions of the ALVIN [current AND 2008 release new version] that will be digital first, and then physical, suitable for RC but smaller than our current ALVIN kit. Very cool! Very fun!

I have not talked to Dave Merriman yet but he will read this and yell at me for saying that I want him to provide the thrusters for it. [ha ha... sorry Dave but you cannot resist... I can tell.... yes yes I have not forgotten Mystic either! Have the Epoxy for the molds!]

In addition, if you want to get a fantastic book by someone who was on ALVIN as a team member, and was a staff writer for WHOI during ALVIN's most exciting times, contact me at [email]infoNOSPAM@fxmodels.com.[/email] [remove the 'nospam' part of the address]. The book is called "Water Baby: The Story of ALVIN" by Victoria Kaharl. Vic is a dear friend and might be able to provide/sell some books and sign them too. It is hard to find but you cannot put it down once you start reading!

In the book there is this little anecdote about that 'sinking' you were talking about. I relay it not as direct quote but from memory: When ALVIN sunk the pilot and observers just barely got out before it filled with water. They had their lunches on board which consisted of ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread in ziploc type baggies. 11 or 15 months later [cant recall exactly], when ALVIN was retrieved, scientists were astounded to find that the ham and cheese sandwiches were STILL edible and had NOT decayed in any way. THAT EVENT was the singular event that alerted the scientific community to what is commonly understood today as the phenomenon of preservation in the deep ocean. It was seen at Titanic and in many other wrecks and now it is understood much better due to that one singular event with ALVIN! Serendipitious discoveries are often the most telling.

Its a great book...

Marc
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Postby FX Models » Thu Apr 14, 2005 7:25 pm

oops... just noticed the other post also discussed the preservation thing... sorry for repeating!
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Postby Art Broder » Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:06 pm

Ah, Yes, Woods Hole. I'll be going down there tomorrow night to exhibit my subs on Saturday and Sunday, at the Woods Hole Model Boat Show, April 16 ans 17. I plan to demonstrate model sub operation in the Oceanographic Institution's 40 ft. long test tank. Come on down if you can. Many surface ships models are on display each day, and sub demos are scheduled both mornings from 10 or 11-12. I'll see if I can get permission to get you to run your sub in the tank, if you bring an operational model. Contact me.
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Postby tsenecal » Fri Apr 15, 2005 12:47 am

A couple of photos courtesy the book "WaterBaby: the Story of Alvin" first is the General Mills artist's rendering of the "seapup" which is the design concept that led to the Alvin. approximately 18 feet long, 8 feet wide and a diving depth of 6000 feet. 1962, led to Allyn Vine submitting proposal for Alvin. General Mills was lowest bidder, only other bid came from North American Aviation.

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Second photo is of a "guest" Alvin picked up in 1967 off bermuda...

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Victoria Kaharl's book is fascinating, as well as some National Geographic Movies and photos I have accumulated.

If i can find it, I will post a photo of the Alvin at its June 1964 commissioning. Not at all what it looks like now.
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Postby wingtip » Fri Apr 15, 2005 7:31 am

marc,
im building one of ur alvin kits right now... do u have a cd of pics you can sell , hopefully with alot more photos than the instructions have...

thanks,
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Postby FX Models » Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:07 am

Hi Dave,

Sorry I did not see your reply until now... The only photos I have are ones of the current ALVIN that the WHOI Deep Submergence lead shot for me when they were out in Oregon for this project we are doing for them. I dont have any old photos of ALVIN though! Water Baby does have a number of good photos of the submersible but I grant you they are not the best...

I have been through the Smith Labs archives up at WHOI and I have to say, even they do not have many records of that older variant of ALVIN [around Project Famous and before]. When they were approached for a program on the earlier ALVIN, the WHOI public information officer referred them to us!

I have to say though that the WHOI people are all very good people and have the best interests of their science and vehicles at heart. You cant help but want to be good to people like that!
:p

Talk to you later. If you DO have questions though Dave you can go ahead and pelt me with them. I have a headset and can still build models while talking... :D

Thanks,

Marc
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Postby wingtip » Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:57 pm

mainly i was wanting pics of your wtc, of ones that are included in the kit but finished... thinking im not going to have enough room ... for the thrusters i have a single motor drive unit with two shafts for power...and im using a rcab system for diving.... but by the time i get the rx in, two speed controllers, and still have to get the geared main drive in also, im gonna be bulging at the seams....

these pics look big but the board size is roughly same as a credit card just thicker due to the height of the servo (mini).......


pic1

pic2




Edited By wingtip on 1113854703
"Nothing screams poor craftsmanship like wrinkles in your ductape!"

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Postby FX Models » Tue Apr 19, 2005 10:27 pm

HI,

Your pics do not show up so i can only guess what they are! :D
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Postby Robert » Sun May 15, 2005 7:44 pm

As a kid in the 1960's, when inner space was considered almost as important as outer space, I read a book in our school library that indicated that Alvin was designed with an interior pressure sphere which, in an emergency, could be somehow freed from the sub and surfaced via bouyancy. Is that a feature that actually existed?
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Postby FX Models » Fri May 27, 2005 9:56 pm

This IS a feature on ALVIN yes, and its why the forward section appears to be a separate piece. It because, .... it is!

The entire forebody of the ALVIN is a releasable unit that will rocket to the surface. To release it there is a grating on the floor of the pressure sphere with a T-Handle under it last I recall seeing. You lift the grating, pull handle and go for the FREAKING RIDE OF YOUR LIFE!!!!!!

The ALVIN team to this day dont really know if the submersible forward section will right itself on the surface given an emergency ascent situation. That is one of the issues in fact. They wanted to use one of our models of the ALVIN and experiment with it, appropriately ballasting it etc... but they never did get around to it.

-Marc

"For I have touched the T-Handle and felt the Fear of Engineers"
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Postby Robert » Sat May 28, 2005 2:05 am

Who says a public school education isn't worth something? :) Why the first time I'm trapped on the ocean floor with giant Anglefish (/nod to The Neptune Factor) I'm all set!

"Hey boss, what does this lever doooooooooooOOOO!"

(How would that be for a scale model feature ;)?)
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Postby Robert » Sat May 28, 2005 2:20 am

On a more serious note: if Alvin has this, and I know the Cousteau diving saucer has a lever operated external ballast weight: what is the mechanism the lever uses that's watertight at such pressures? This isn't just an academic question since I now have a kit I bought for the diving saucer....
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