Vertical Ship, Navy's Floating Instrument Platform, Celebrates 50 Years Of Service (VIDEO)

07/03/2012 05:05 pm ET

For centuries, a boat was the vehicle on which man broadened his horizons.

Today, this boat represents the best way to broaden one's vertices.

The Floating Instrument Platform, or FLIP for short, recently celebrated its 50th year of service, according to the BBC. The U.S. Navy-owned vertical ship quickly charges upright by pumping 700 tons of water into its "handle" end, then pumping air into the opposite end.

According to CNet, the 355-foot ship can go from horizontal to vertical in just 20 minutes, towering five stories above sea level. And surprisingly, the vertical ship proves quite stable.

"A ship rolls with storm waves, but FLIP is so stable it is almost immobile," Scripps Institute of Oceanography engineer Eric Slater said while describing a FLIP experience during a hurricane. "Waves hit it like a brick wall."

Even more incredibly, everything inside the ship is designed to make the conversion, too: beds, sinks and even the ketchup for the ship's crew will rest right side up.

FLIP is used to register acoustic measurements and to study meteorology, physical oceanography and air-sea interactions, the BBC adds.


US Navy