International Hydrofoil Society Presents...

Hydrofoil History - Pioneering Vessels and Pioneering People

Articles, Awards, Correspondence

(Last Updated February 28, 2016)

[Pages From History (Articles)] [IHS Award Citations] [Information & Photos Needed] [Correspondence] [ Death Notices, Obituaries, and In Memoriam]


  1. The Premier Source For Descriptions and Principal Characteristics of Specific Military and Commercial Hydrofoils is (are) the back issues of Jane's Surface Skimmers, Hovercraft, and Hydrofoils -- check your library or used book store!
  2. IHS needs additional articles on hydrofoil history for the newsletter and for this page. See below for subjects on which we need information and photos. To suggest additions to the list, contact the webmaster.
Go to Posted Messages Bulletin Board

Pages From the History of Hydrofoils

The International Hydrofoil Society (IHS) presents pages from the history of hydrofoils... selected articles and photos from the IHS newsletter and other sources, written by and about people who were there (and in many cases are still here). Enjoy!

IHS Award Citations

One of the more pleasurable functions of the International Hydrofoil Society is to recognize hydrofoil pioneers for substantial contributions to the field. The IHS Award Citation consists of an engraved plaque and a text summary of the recipient's contributions. Following are some of the Award Citations given to date.

Information and Photos Needed

Following is a partial list of historical topics that could make good additions to this page. Contact the webmaster if you would like to provide info/photos or to write a new "Page From the History of Hydrofoils" on one of these subjects or any other historical subject of interest to hydrofoilers. Please feel free to suggest topics that should be added to this list.

  1. According to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum website, PBM-5A Martin Mariner aircraft were used in ski/hydrofoil development tests for seaplanes conducted by Convair in the late 1950s. Also according to the website, the Convair XF2Y-1 (F-7) Sea Dart was used to experiment with a small rigidly-mounted hydrofoil ski. Actual flight was not possible with this configuration because the rigid mounting and placement of the ski "...would not permit the approx. 20 degree nose-up attitude required for takeoff. The first test was carried out on 21 Mar 57. Violent pounding caused every taxiing run to be aborted at speeds between 50 and 60 knots. Another rigid ski configuration was tested in the autumn of 1957. It too cause too much vibration, and further tests were abandoned."
  2. "The bath tub [hydrofoil] models were made in 1938. That was just about a year after I had married. In 1941, we decided to make it a hydrofoil sail boat, and made our first successful run under sail on the Chesapeake Bay in 1941. Then we took it apart and put it back up in the garage afterwards and didn't sail it again, and it was later turned over to Vannevar Bush. He got a very important idea, that he thought the hydrofoils were going to be so effective in all kinds of shipping. He formed a company and he said if I'd patent my original sail hydrofoil, those plans would be worth a great deal, and he'd give me a generous amount of stock in his company... He really was excited and he'd been wondering how he was going to get patent coverage on the hydrofoil. Here was something ideal, I could patent my sailboat. The problem he (Bush) had, he had a fellow named Shearer, I think his name was Shearer, and he did most of the calculations for Vannevar Bush. The NACA had put out books that summarized airfoils characteristics. They gave the profile drag of a great number of airfoils. These were low drag airfoils capable of laminar flow and they had very, very low drag. So Shearer was taking the values of drag, and then just saying that the lift to drag ratio was to take a reasonable lift coefficient and divide the drag into that. He was getting lift to drag ratios that were around 30 and 40 and 50, and he didn't realize that there was another drag that was called induced drag, which was the drag due to lift. You just don't put it in the handbook because it is dependent on the aspect ratio and the speed. Anyway, that was the thing that was wrong with the Hydrofoil Corporation. They calculated the drag wrong and they thought they could get drags that were very, very much lower than they could get. When they built some of their first models, they found that the drag was much higher than they'd thought." -- Dr. Robert Gilruth in a 14 May 86 interview conducted by Dr. David De Vorkin, Ms. Linda Exwell, and Mr. Martin Collins.
  3. The hydrofoil development work by Sam Saunders and the Saunders Roe company in support of the Canadian naval hydrofoil program led to the construction in 1956/57 of the 59 foot long hydrofoil vessel R-103 BRAS D'OR, which was equipped with ladder foils. The BRAS D'OR was subsequently re-named BADDECK in 1962 in anticipation of the construction of the proposed larger FHE-400 which was to be given the name BRAS D'OR.
  4. According to Ian Hamilton in his article "The Hydrofoil As a Weapon," which appeared in Pacific Defence Reporter Aug 1981, "The first hydrofoil boat was the product of an accident in 1861, when Thomas Moy, an Englishman, decided to study the aerodynamics of wings by observing the underwater swirls they created. Having attached wings to his craft, he ventured out onto the Surrey Canal. To his surprise, the ship rose from the water -- and unintentionally he had invented hydrofoils. But it was not until 1898 that the first efficient hydrofoil was designed by Enrico Forlanini of Milan..."
  5. More items needed... please suggest additional topics by contacting the webmaster.


[ALBATROSS] [Aquavit/Aquavion] [FHE-400 BRAS D'OR][R-100 MASSAWIPPI][R-103 BADDECK][HIGH POINT] [FLAGSTAFF] [FLYING CLOUD] [Hitler's Hydrofoils] [MONITOR] [PHMs] [PLAINVIEW] [TUCUMCARI] [LITTLE SQUIRT] [Display Models] [R/C Models] [WHITE HAWK] [HS VICTORIA] [Hydrofoil Seaplanes]

Found a "Lost Member"

[19 Jan 02] It is interesting to see activity in IHS these days. I was once a member 20-25 years ago in the UK and knew/know Mark Thornton and Bob McGregor. -- Neil Bose, Ph.D., P. Eng., Professor -- Chair, Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University, St. John's, NF, A1B 3X5, Canada; Tel.: +709-737-4058; Fax: +709-737-2116 (; ;


[19 Jan 02] It was good to hear from a "lost" IHS member. If you want to catch up on what has happened at IHS, an excellent history of the organization was prepared for our 25th Anniversary Conference by Bob Johnston... That will bring you up to 1995. It can be found on the web at: As you were an early member in England, you may be able to fill in some of the gaps or add information to what is published in that paper. Much of IHS's development subsequent to 1995 are reflected in the extensive IHS website. -- Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)


[23 Jan 02] An interesting historical footnote: the following text and photo appeared on eBay. "Ticket for Hydrofoil Service, a failed attempt to introduce “high speed” marine transportation between Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard in 1966. The vessel was named FLYING CLOUD and operated on a trial basis, including a demonstration run to Nantucket. The combination of her unsuitability to Nantucket Sound, mechanical problems, and lack of public interest ended her short career in the Cape and Islands area. The ticket is pink, measures 4x3 inches... Front reads: 'Hydrofoil Service. Good for one passage in either direction between Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard. Sold subject to Tariff Regulations. Form Hy-1 Issued by W.H., M.V. & Nan. SSA. No. 2068 James H. Smith Chairman.' Back lists disclaimers of Woods Hole, Martha?s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority." -- Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)

Polish Hydrofoil Design Point of Contact

[13 Jan 02] I am very interested to obtain your AMV CD-ROM. In the 1960-70s our Department was involved in some projects connected with hydrofoil vessels with surface piercing foils. Some of them you can find in an old Jane's yearbook, for example: Jane's Surface Skimmers: Hovercraft & Hydrofoils 1970-71. -- Michal Krezelewski D.Sc(Eng) ( Our mailing address: Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Ship Technology; Department of Ship Hydromechanics; Technical University of Gdansk;  G. Narutowicza 11/12 str.; 80-952 Gdansk, Poland


[13 Jan 02] As you recommended, I looked into Jane's and found the 76-seat ZRYW-1, completed in May 1965, the first Polish-designed passenger hydrofoil to go into service. It averaged more than 39 knots on scheduled services between Szczecin and Swinoujscie, a distance of 67km. Also, a design for the W-2 REKIN, a ferry for the Baltic. Other hydrofoil designs were smaller, personal watercraft, including the WS-4 AMOR, a 4-seat hydrofoil designed by E. Brzolska, and the W-6 EROS, a 6-seater. I don't know if you have any archived photographs and information available, but if you do, I would like to include a page on our website dedicated to the Polish hydrofoil history. It would be a good subject for the newsletter also. There is some technical information and some photos in Jane's, but we do not have permission to use this copyrighted material. -- Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)

[1 Jun 03] Mr. Krezelewski from Technical University in Gdansk is THE man connected with development of Polish hydrofoils in 1960s and thus he should know from first hand experience a good deal of their history.. I suggest you should try to get a lengthy article from him! -- Marek Twardowski (


[22 Dec 01] I have been researching today's US Navy Patrol Craft. Specifically the PC-1 CYCLONE Class. I feel that it is time to resurrect the old PGH-2 TUCUMCARI designs. When comparing the CYCLONE spec to the TUCUMCARI spec, I find that as a Special Warfare vessel, TUCUMCARI far exceeds CYCLONE in most respects. It appears that if the TUCUMCARI drawings and engineering data were available, the timing is right for some US shipyard to make an Unsolicited Proposal to the USN to build a prototype using all the modern bells and whistles. The basic TUCUMCARI was 100% successful. The vessel either met or exceeded the mission requirements of the Navy. I have always asked the question, "Why did the USCG and the USN have to go to Vosper Thornycroft, a British company for a high speed vessel design"? Do we not have capable engineers in the United States? -- Ken Plyler (

[17 Dec 01] Just a tidbit that might be useful to you: The PHM actually had dual height sensors, radar and sonic. Both signals were interpolated by ACS simultaneously. I have experienced foilborne ops with sonic sensor only, and the ride was noticeably rougher, but effective. -- Rob DeSendi, USS AQUILA PHM-4 (

[26 Dec 01] I believe the radar and sonic height sensors were independent of each other. There was a switch on the bridge to select "radar" or "sonic" not both. The ride on the radar sensors was better in most sea states, but the sonic sensors were much more reliable--Chuck Shannon, ET1 MLSG (


Lürssen Hydrofoil...

[11 Nov 01, updated 16 Dec 01] I wonder if IHS is aware that Lürssen once built a fully submerged hydrofoil of their own? Here is a photo of it from a book on the FR. Lürssen Werft which I found in our library. The book is titled: Fr. Lürssen Werft . Bremen - Vegesack - Builders of Fast Boats. "Reproduction or use of the whole or any part permitted if source is quoted." Printer: H.M. Hauschild GmbH, 2800 Bremen. There was no publication date apparent on the book (which was undoubtedly a company handout). Only the slightest details about this hydrofoil were provided in the book. -- Martin Grimm (

[16 Dec 01] I also now have found the pages with a little more detail of this hydrofoil. They have a chronology of the development of the company and for the year 1963 under 'projects' they indicate: "After the purchase of patents subsequent development and construction of a hydrofoil with fully submerged foils [photo 63, reproduced at right]. Development of this type of ship is followed closely in the whole world." Incidentally, in 1954 they also indicated under 'projects': Hydrofoil in aluminium BREMER PIONEER, length 19m. I seem to recall the BREMER PIONEER was one of the early Supramar-designed surface piercing hydrofoils. They did not have a photo of that hydrofoil in the book. In the same year they indicate under 'Employees' column that Gunther Popp was (engaged as) naval architect, he became manager in 1962 and technical director in 1973. Other employees are also listed in the book... perhaps one of them could recall more of the history of hydrofoil work at the company if they could be tracked down? -- Martin Grimm (

Historic Canadian Hydrofoils Today

[11 Sep 01] When I was in Canada in 1996 I had a telephone conversation with Thomas G. Lynch (author of The Flying 400 - Canada's Hydrofoil Project) through the publishers of the book, Nimbus Publishing Limited. Apart from the Bell/Baldwin HD-4 Hydrodrome replica and the BRAS d'OR museum display, the BADDECK (R-103) and MASSAWIPPI (R-100) are apparently still also preserved in Canada. I will now quote from the 1983 book by Mr. Lynch and then annotate with information from my phone conversation with him on 19 June 1996 while in Halifax:


Note that the book includes arrangement drawings of the R-103 and of R-100. -- Grimm, Martin (


[11 Sep 01] Further historical description and photographs of the Bell/Baldwin Hydrodromes HD-1 through HD-4 can be found in the book Bell and Baldwin: Their Development of Aerodromes and Hydrodromes at Baddeck, Mova Scotia, by J. H. Parkin, University of Toronto Press 1964. This book also describes the continuation of the HD series, starting with HD-7 by "Casey" Baldwin after Bell's death and after Casey's failure to interest the Navy in towed hydrofoil targets. According to the book, several hypothetical designs were developed over the years, HD-7 through HD- 20, but only HD-12, a 30-foot runabout, and HD-13, an outboard motor hydrofoil boat, were actually built, both in 1928. -- Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)

[4 Jun 03] The Nova Scotia Museum used to store the R100 (Massawippi) hydrofoil in a shed at a Provincial Historic site called Uniack House. This is quite close to Halifax. This is memory more than fact. I will try to verify this year. I will over the next year or so be scanning some images I have inherited from Casey. I would be more than happy to share them to this site if anyone is interested. -- Sean Baldwin, MCM2001, Inc. (

World War II German Fast Attack Hydrofoil Craft

[3 Sep 01] I am a 16-year-old undergraduate student in Parma - Italy who is performing assigned research on German fast-attack boats (in particular hydrofoils) of War World II. Although the historical part of your WebSite is a very comprehensive one, I was unable to find there some detailed technical information I need for my writing. Would you be so kind to address me to other more detailed WebSites dealing with the topic or key person (like the late Captain Johnston) who could help me further? Also, are there relevant books on the subject? -- Flavio Scarpignato ( or ( e-fax: +1-603-843-5621; website:


[3 Sep 01] Following are some quick ideas:


Piaggio P.7 Hydrofoil Seaplane

[6 Jul 01] I have located a hydrofoil related website which of historical interest: Here is the background to my locating this site: I took trip North where I called in on the Fighter World aircraft museum alongside the RAAF Williamtown air force base in New South Wales, Australia. On display at the museum were numerous entirely hand made scale models at approximately 1:72 scale or smaller by Norm Forrester. These included a series of Schneider Trophy seaplane models. One such model which particularly caught my eye was the Piaggio P.7 of 1929. It was a sleek monoplane with a hydrofoil undercarriage rather than the usual bulky pair of floats. Here is the blurb by Norm Forrester placed alongside his model: "Piaggio P.7 (1929) -- An ingenious (but unsuccessful) Italian design for a Schneider Trophy racer, it was proposed to use hydrofoils instead of floats. The driveshaft of the 970 HP engine first drove a water propeller until the P.7 rose on to the hydrofoils, the drive then being transferred to the airscrew. Alas, it didn't work!" Although I have read about various other similar attempts to use hydrofoils on seaplanes, I have never come across the Piaggio P.7 before. I was keen to find out more about the P.7 and its history which I have found on the cited webpage. Unfortunately my camera was not working so I couldn't take a photo of Norm's model, however I made a sketch from my video footage of it. The website also has three views and profile views of the P.7 on the link but they are not too crisp and much of the detail in those scans has been lost. -- Martin Grimm (


[29 Sep 01] I would like to inform you that some additional pictures are available on the following website: (click on the Schneider chapter). Pushed by curiosity, I recently visited this site which corresponds to an Italian bookshop, specialized in aeronautics, and the pictures are included in a story, written by the very known Naval Arch. Franco HARRAUER, in Italian. He describes a sort of tale, on which the test pilot Tommaso Dal Molin, flying the Piaggio PC-7, on 1931 wins the 13th Schneider Trophy. Unfortunately, the dream ends very soon and the sad reality was that this seaplane never had the possibility to fly and win. Mr. Dal Molin, tragically died flying another seaplane during the tests, and the Piaggio PC-7 "Pinocchio" , with a lot of unsolved mechanical problems, never had the chance to demonstrate the validity of the foils solution. -- Lorenzo Bonasera (email address withheld)

[11 Nov 01] Although I was not able to read the Italian text in the further website you have identified, I was delighted to see the three view drawings of the PC-7 and the photo of it floating (just!) in the water. With those additional drawings, it is tempting to try to build a radio-controlled model of this lovely racing plane just to see how it may have performed! Thanks for finding and reporting on that additional website. -- Martin Grimm (


[22 May 01] Last week, leaving Paine Field in Everett Washington, I spotted a familiar shape next to the fence. Going over, I checked and sure enough, it was LITTLE SQUIRT, up on blocks for storage. Its against the fence, on Boeing property, close to the main airport entrance drive, just beyond the Museum of Flight restoration facility. I asked a friend Bob Desroche, who works just down from where LITTLE SQUIRT is parked, to take some pictures. Here is how she looks today. -- David Lednicer (


LITTLE SQUIRT Today - Port Side



Aquavit 10-Passenger Hydrofoil...

[1 May 01] Attached are drawings I had done of my Aquavit 10P, Front & Side elevations. I request that anyone with information on this craft, please scan it and send a copy to me. This includes technical info, sales material, photos of specific vessels, anything related to the Aquavit 10P. Thanks! -- Vik Poremskis (



[01 May 01] Noting your e-mail address suggests you are living in Australia, I am curious to know more about the Aquavion 10P that you have. Is this by any chance the one which has been laid up at Gonsalves Boatshed at Pittwater north of Sydney? I have attached a photo of that craft I took several years ago. If it is one of the several Aquavion hydrofoils imported into Australia, do you know any more about the history of them that you could share with the IHS? It seems to me that Aquavion must have manufactured at least three models of hydrofoils with increasing passenger capacity ranging from: 1.The Waterman, 2. The 10P which is also apparently referred to as the Aquavit, and 3. The 40P which was also referred to as the Aquastroll. -- Martin Grimm (


[16 May 01, updated 29 Jun 02] I will be making available some of the Aquavion materials that Vik has provided to IHS. These files are in Adobe Acrobat format, and are rather large files in most cases. Following are links to the files that are currently available from this site or from Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)

Luerssen Hydrofoils

[4 Mar 01, updated 6 Apr 02] A shipyard manager from Luerssen Werft GmbH, Bremen told me something about the small hydrofoil Luerrsen built in the early seventies. This boat was a experimental prototype, fully developed by Luerssen. It worked well, but the idea fell out of favor at Luerssen so they donated the boat to the "Auto & Technikmuseum - Sinsheim. He said also that Luerssen built 6 experimental hydrofoils including the shown one after World War II. These were mostly built without a yard number (sounds like Luerssen tried to keep these experiments as secret.). He could not say where these boats are today, but if someone will search in small yacht habours, some sheds, warehouses, scrapyards and the depots of the German authorities and the navy, he could find astonishing things. (So I have found a small Russian type Ekranoplan in a small shipyard near Hamburg last year). I got the name and the phone number of one of the chief developers of the Luerrsen experimentals, a guy named Dr. Osterstehte. I will call him and ask him to get some closer information about the experiments. By the way: Do you know the concept of the "Wenddelsches Schnellschiff" (transl. Fastship), developed by Professor Wenddel, a former collaborator of Baron v. Schertel ? A experimental prototype exists in the collection of the German Navigation Museum in Bremerhaven, Germany. Click Here for photos of the Luerssen craft, the Wenddelsches Schnellschiff, and another 1950s era prototype craft (Adobe Acrobat format). Another idea was the hydrofoil project of the German engineer Dr. Ingo Schloer. He has worked out a concept, which looks like the crossing between a SWATH, a fixed wing hydrofoil, and a PHM. There is a picture of it in a German book about Fast Attack Craft. This project vanished into the drawer for uninteresting projects in the German Ministry of Defense. I will inform you, if can get more information about the Luerssen hydrofoils. --C. Schramm (


[10 Apr 02] I was delighted to learn that the Lürssen Werft experimental hydrofoil is still in existence and in apparently quite good condition. Just as interesting is the BREMER PIONEER test model and the fully submerged hydrofoil design by Schiffbau-Ingenieur F.H. Wendel. I had recognized the shape of that craft and knew I had seen it before in a book. Some details of Ing. Wendel's designs appear in: Fock, Harald, Fast Fighting Boats, 1870 to 1945, Their Design, Construction, and Use, first English edition, 1978 (originally in German 1973), Naval Institute Press, Maryland USA. See IHS website for more details. Part four of the book covers the war years and includes hydrofoil developments. It includes diagrams of Ing. Wendel's concepts including a foilborne photo of the craft now preserved in Bremerhaven. I do not know what type of stabilisation system was used on that boat. The illustrations of his military designs suggest that all three foils had flaps fitted, and the 1952 test craft seems to be the same when looking at your photos. It is not clear what controlled those flaps as your photos and the one in the book do not clearly show any mechanical 'water surface sensor' as was typical of the Christopher Hook fully submerged hydrofoils of similar vintage. There is what may be a surface skimming sensor on the aft strut which looks like a smaller foil positioned above the main aft foil. The flaps on the bow foils also look like they may have some form of servo tab behind them. The alternative is that the hydrofoil had some early form of electronic or electro-mechanical stabilisation system. Is it still possible to look inside the hydrofoil and see what may have been fitted? Perhaps you could get permission to do that when you next visit the museum? Take a ladder with you! It would also be good to obtain more close up photos of the foil and flap units. Would the museum have more information about this hydrofoil and how it worked? The propeller positioned forward of the aft foil as originally fitted to Supramar PT-20 surface piercing hydrofoils are also reported to have resulted in problems. This seemed mainly to have been due to propeller damage from debris. It is better that a log hits a strong foil than a relatively soft and thin propeller blade that can easily be bent! Also, Supramar had to solve early problems with cavitation erosion on the PT-20 propellers. I don't know if the swirl in the flow aft of the propellers would be too much of a problem for the flow over the foils (this is after all the standard layout on propeller driven aircraft) but I have not seen any other hydrofoil design with podded propellers that are positioned forward of the foil. -- Martin Grimm (

HS VICTORIA / Seattle - Victoria BC

[13 Feb 01] My family owned and operated the HS VICTORIA, Northwest Hydrofoil Lines, Inc. from when she was built in 1965 to when she was scrapped sometime in the 1980s. I have a lot of information, articles, pictures and first hand accounts from my uncles and my father, who operated her from Seattle, WA. to Victoria, BC. I would like to share this information with other people who enjoy this web site. -- Mike Niedermair ( or (


[17 Feb 02] There is a 12 page information booklet about H. S. VICTORIA posted on the IHS website. The file is in Adobe Acrobat format, and is rather large at 1.8 meg file size. Please be patient while it downloads. For those with slow internet connections, it is probably better to download the file entirely onto your hard drive, then open it with the free Acrobat Reader. -- Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)

Victoria in Seattle

Grumman Concept Drawing

[18 Jan 01] Looks to me to be a proposal/preproposal artist rendering of what eventually became the MARAD-funded H. S. DENISON. Don't recognize the designation of "PK-89"; all Grumman hydrofoil designs had an "M" followed by a number. Purpose of program was to demonstrate open ocean hydrofoil capabilities; which it did at a recorded speed of 60 knots. DENISON was built at the main Grumman facilities in Bethpage in the center of Long Island, and trucked at night to Oyster Bay for final assembly and launching. Charlie Pieroth (


[2 Dec 00] I am the current owner of a 36' hydrofoil that operated out of Juneau, Alaska in the late 1970s. It is a welded aluminum, stepped hull passenger ferry that was crashed. I recovered it 15 years ago in Ballard, Washington (it was stripped down, with no motor, or foils). I don't know the builder's name, but I have the hull identification number. It was called the JUNEAU FLYER. I am thinking about restoring it as a hydrofoil. I am interested in any information regarding hydrofoil technology and information on the JUNEAU FLYER. I know that she had a gas turbine engine in her, and I think she had fixed foils. If you've seen the James Bond movie Thunderball, there is a hydrofoil that detaches from the front of a larger boat, and the hydrofoil looks very similar to the JUNEAU FLYER. -- Carl Van Valkenburg (


[2 Dec 00] The Thunderball vessel was named DISCO VOLANTE. There is a picture on the Rodriques Cantari Navali webpage on this subject: An ad placed subsequent to filming reads: "Safe, thrilling, spectacular, FLYING FISH was used in Thunderball, one of the most popular 007 James Bond [movie] sagas. FLYING FISH was the first commercial hydrofoil [for] sightseeing use in the Western Hemisphere. The advertisement: All-aluminium, 20 tons, 65 feet long, propeller-driven. She moves at 20 m.p.h. with her hull in the water. When up on her foils, she glides smoothly above the seas at 40 m.p.h. Comfortable, all-enclosed, wide window passenger compartments. Deep cushioned aircraft-type seats. Forced-air ventilation. Capacity: 60 passengers. Completely safe, Coast Guard approved. Unsinkable hull has eight watertight compartments for buoyancy. Diesel powered, no fire hazard. Smoking permitted at all times. Type: PT 20 ; Seats: 72; Yard building number: 052 ; Delivered in: 1957; Line: Manila-Corregidor; Country: Philippines" -- Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)

[18 Feb 01] FLYING FISH was outfitted at Miami Shipbuilding Corp. for her role as the DISCO VOLANTE. In the limited edition DVD of the movie Thunderball, there is a section on the Making of Thunderball that has a scanned photo (b+w) of the FLYING FISH in the MSC yards. I'm searching for further information--Plans, etc., on the FLYING FISH for a model I plan to build. -- Doug Binish (email address withheld)

Who Invented the Hydrofoil?

[2 Dec 00] Who invented the hydrofoil? -- Various... this is a FAQ


[2 Dec 00] Following are two different opinions on this subject. We invite those with other facts or opinions to submit them! Another source of information on early hydrofoils is the book, Aeromarine Origins; The Beginnings of Marine Aircraft, Winged Hulls, Air-Cushion and Air-Lubricated Craft, Planing Boats and Hydrofoils by H.F. King, Putnam (London) and Sero Publishers, Inc (USA), 1966. Meanwhile, see the IHS photo gallery for more on early hydrofoils. -- Barney C Black (Please reply via the BBS)


[11 Nov 00] I have an uncle that served aboard the PGH-2 TUCUMCARI. He was aboard her when she hit the reef. I was wondering if you knew where she was today? I have been looking for a long time and just now found this site. -- Caleb Hagarty (


[19 Nov 00] After the TUCUMCARI was put on the reef, it was transported to David Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center, Annapolis MD Division (across the water from the US Naval Academy). The ship was stripped of many of the major equipment, and the remaining hull was used to study fire fighting techniques for aluminum ships. Some of the lessons learned were the use of various plastic and fiberglass pipes, which ones held up, which ones melted, and which ones were toxic. This led to establishing specifications which are used in many of the current Navy ships. Also studied were the effectiveness of various fire extinguishing materials such as CO2, Halon, and foam. -- Sumi Arima (

Hydrofoil Amphibian - Student Project

[11 Nov 00] I am an graduate student from India pursuing a project on creating a amphibian craft... a vehicle that can move both in land and water. After a wide area of thought we have considered using hydrofoils with wheels at the bottom to enable us to have not only a large wheel clearance but also lesser drag in the water. I would like to know if there is any information regarding such a project anywhere else in the world. -- Janak (

Response and follow-up...

[11 Nov 00] In the 1950s and 1960s, the US Army, Navy, and Marines all experimented with hydrofoil landing craft. Some of these were amphibians, specifically: the DUKW (by AVCO Lycoming and Miami Shipbuilding Corp for the US Army) , LVHX-1 (by AVCO Lycoming for the US Marines), and LVHX-2 (by Food Machinery Corp -- now United Defense -- for the US Marines). Photos and more information about these vessels can be found elsewhere on our site, specifically in the History of Miami Shipbuilding Corp (MSC) and in the 1950s section of the Photo Gallery. -- Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)

[18 Nov 00] I would like to know what difficulties were experienced, for such crafts seem to have completely vanished. Then too, the 1960s is a very long time ago. The DUKW and the LVHX2 both seem to have either retractable hydrofoils or fixed ones, the wheels being extendable. I was wondering if we could place the wheels directly onto the hydrofoils. That would give the rider a perfect birds eye view . Although such a craft would not be very road friendly, they would definitely be very useful near the shore and on the beach. Another idea was to use non submerging fans, like the ones used on hovercrafts for propulsion. That would enable us to have free moving wheels. If the wheels were also submerged, there would be no necessity for separate rudders, the wheels may itself act as rudders. That will help simplify mechanics. For added stability at low speeds, we are also thinking about using a trimaran type hull. Please let me know what you feel about these ideas. Knowing what went wrong with the 1960s projects may help us. We hope to first start with making a scale model. -- Janak (

[19 Nov 00] The DUKW and LVHX craft were successful, although they were mechanically very complex and heavy for their payload capacities. Their amphibious capability is greatly exceeded by Air Cushion Vehicles (ACVs). Use of a trimaran hullform will add stability and reduce powering requirements. The design challenge is to obtain satisfactory cargo volume on a trimaran center hull that is more slender than a monohull of equal full load displacement. -- Mark Bebar (

Mexican Hydrofoils NICTE-HA and XEL-HA

[20 Sep 00] Does anyone have any idea what happened to the couple of Rodriquez hydrofoils that were sold (?) in Mexico in the early 80s, NICTE-HA and XEL-HA? Ever seen any pics of them there, operational or otherwise? Tim Timoleon, Editor, Classic Fast Ferries ( website:

Indonesia Hydrofoil LUMBA LUMBA Info Wanted

[16 Sep 00] When I was a kid growing up in the jungle oil camps of Sumatra Indonesia during the 1950s and early 1960s I vividly remember the excitement of traveling across the Strait of Malaca from Indonesia to Singapore on board a modern (for the time) passenger hydrofoil called the LUMBA LUMBA (which is the Indonesian word for the grey dolphin in the area). I am trying to obtain any information I can on this wonderful vessel. Perhaps it is even still in service somewhere. I was in a model shop in London maybe 10 years ago and saw a kit for the LUMBA LUMBA. I wish I had purchased it. Any information would be appreciated...and will help bring back fond memories. -- Rob Briggs, Atlanta, GA, USA (


[16 Aug 00] Thanks for your most interesting inquiry, but LUMBA LUMBA on the Indonesia/Singapore route is a new one on me. I will post this on our website and also forward it to several of the "old timers" in our membership in the hopes that someone will know something about that vessel. You should browse through the photo gallery section of our website to see if you recognize the model from any of our photos. Also, Jane's used to publish an annual or biannual directory "Jane's Surface Skimmers" dating back to 1968; with many photos and descriptions, organized by country of manufacture. A library or old book shop may have an early edition, or they occasionally go up for auction on I looked in the 1969/70 edition and did not see this vessel by name, but you might recognize the type from photos. For example, the Supramar PT-20 type was popular in the oil industry dating back as far as 1957. You could also contact the Classic Fast Ferries website. The Fast Ferry International Database of 1995 lists a LUMBA LUMBA being operated by the Pulau Seribu Marine Resort in Indonesia, but this is a monohull built by Yamaha in 1989. As for models, there is a secondary market for old model kits, so it may be possible to find one. Occasionally they go up for sale on Ebay, though in 2+ years of monitoring this site for hydrofoil-related items I have never seen a kit specifically of LUMBA LUMBA. -- Barney C. Black (Please reply via the BBS)

Miami Shipbuilding History

[18 Aug 00] I write, edit and publish and annual historical magazine for the Friends of the South African Air Force Museum. Last year one of the articles I wrote was on the SAAF crash boats/rescue boats. From that an interest arose on researching the full history of the Motor Boat Unit. To this end I have been engaged in a number of interviews with surviving members, and archival research. One of the people instrumental in us getting these boats was the designer a Mr. Dair N. Long, a naval architect at the University of Michigan. He designed what were known as Miami boats which were built by the Miami Shipbuilding Company (MSC). I wonder if it would be possible for you to tell me anything about this gentleman, more about the company and if there are any relevant documents available. -- Guy Ellis ( website:


[9 Sep 00] My father worked at MSC around 1939-41 when the USA entered World War II. They were building and repairing ASRs then for the European arena. We attended a party when MSC went out of business as that company, the current owner, Mr. Brown was there. If you're interested, My father has many stories about the times back then. You can contact him at the following address (or c/o my email address): Dick Besola, Sr., tel: 305-891-5942, fax: 305-891-2116, -- 1570 NE 141 Street, N. Miami, FL 33161 -- Dick Besola, Jr. (

Sydney Harbor Hydrofoils

[8 Sep 00] A total of 7 hydrofoils operated on Sydney Harbour over 26 years, as listed below. The LONG REEF, CURL CURL, and SYDNEY were part of State Transit's fleet of hydrofoils, which operated between Sydney and Manly from 1965 to 1991 before being replaced by Incat Jetcats. MANU WAI (now offered for sale after extensive renovations and repair of grounding damage) was shipped as deck cargo from Auckland NZ after our purchase. 

LONG REEF, CURL CURL, MANLY, and SYDNEY survived until 1991 and were taken back to Italy by Rodriquez to be resold or leased in the Mediterranean by various operators. CURL CURL was renamed SPARGI and is now on the market for US$500 000. Both RHS160Fs are in service to the best of my knowledge, I am unsure of LONG REEF 's status. -- Garry Fry (

Death Notices, Obituaries, and In Memoriam

[18 January 16] Kotaro Horiuchi: IHS Member, Bulletin Board Contributer and Creator of Extraordinary Hydrofoils, & RC Hydrofoil Models

To all IHS members. It is with sorrow that I acknowledge the loss of my friend and IHS member, Kotaro Horiuchi. Here are words to remember him by, written in Japanese Kanji symbols by his son, Satoshi Horiuchi and reviewed by his first cousin, Ayako Timmons, translated using Bablefish with my editing:

Kotaro Horiuchi is my father. Today, everyone is busy with father's funeral. The family is all together and I received much love and support, thank you, thank you very much. Father, as we know was very robust as of December of 2014. But in his last year he suffered and lost weight. He was a tough person, but then he developed Interstitial pneumonia, still his general health was good. He was recovering, and so he returned home, and continued to recover his energy.

Then the pneumonia temporarily took a dangerous turn and he was re-hospitalized. But by New Year's day he was regaining strength; so he was again released home, provided there was 24 hour care. At home Kotaro resumed training on his ERGO ( boat training machine). His condition was rapidly improving, but on January 18, 2016, after having lunch and taking a rapid ride in his wheelchair, he suffered a cardiac arrest, and died quickly. His face was calm, and there was little suffering.

Father had a good life, I believe, but it was difficult when his wife, Atsuko, died 5 years ago at age 80. Atsuko was active to the end and had mastered rowing the skull, and won gold medals in the all Japan World Masters.

To fill the emptiness after losing her, my father for the first time had two lives. His early life was working as a boat Designer at Yokohama yacht, and Yamaha motor boat and yacht design. He designed hydrofoil propeller boats, pleasure boats and fishing vessels, including a wide range of original ocean-going boats. Also, he designed helicopters. Remote control helicopters are hung beside his front door. In addition, he created small cars and scooters, so he literally worked on vehicles for land, sea and air. Some of his creations were built in his workshop in shichirigahama, but occasionally he moved to Kamakura in cooperation with Yamaha. One of his last projects was finishing his father's 17-foot trimaran cruiser.

The other life was as a racer of rowing boats. He rowed for high school, the University of Tokyo, and the Yokohama yacht Club. His specialty was rowing scull and kayak, and he had done so since childhood under the influence of his father, Juro. The Japan Rowing Association selected him as crew. Then as the crew chief for Tohoku University he competed in the 1960 Summer Olympics and the 1964 Summer Olympics. After a gap of some 50 years he again coached at Tohoku University for the Intercollegiate National Championship. Then he coached the Japan national team in the World Championships. Finally, he was once selected to be the Olympic coach for the Japanese rowing team.

I was anxious when father, at the age of 87 with health anxieties, flew to Varese, Italy, There in the world masters tournament for rowers up to 90 years of age he earned 3 gold medals. I was very pleased.

Satoshi Horiuchi

More: Kotaro will be remembered for his extraordinary design work including many important hydrofoils including several that can be seen in these videos:
In addition, he leaves us his book, in English:
Locus of a Boat Designer Vol. 2 His passing leaves a deep void.

Ray Vellinga  


[1 August 15] Barney Black, Past IHS Board Member and IHS Web Site, IHS Newsletters and IHS Blog Publisher

It is with great sadness that I report that long-time IHS member Barney Black passed away on 29 July from complications related to ALS. Barney was honored by IHS in 2001 for his outstanding contributions over many years to the Society's communications efforts, specifically for setting up the IHS Website, Electronic Blogs and Newsletter publications. He also served for a number of years on the Board of Directors.

Barney had an unusually varied and multi-disciplinary career in the marine industry. He earned the unusual degree of B.S. in Humanities and Engineering from MIT in 1971.

He provided equipment, maintenance, and training to Navy, municipal, and civilian divers and fire fighters; worked in the SSN-688 Class Advanced Design Project Office at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; served as a consulting engineer to the Naval Sea Systems Command in Arlington, VA, supporting various design and modernization projects in mine countermeasures; provided logistic support for the PHM Class hydrofoils; and was a Senior Principal Engineer at TRW.

More recently, Barney was a Senior Logistics Management Specialist on the US Coast Guard's Deepwater Project. Barney Black will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to know him and our prayers are with his family.

Mark R. Bebar

President, IHS

A more detailed Memorial to Barney can be found here: In memorium IHS Past Board Member Barney Black.

[11 April 14] John R. Meyer Jr., Past IHS President

To all Members of IHS,

It is with regret and sadness that I pass along the news of John Meyer’s death. John had been battling cancer and was recently in the hospital for treatment. He elected to return home on 10 April and passed away on 11 April 2014.

The Memorial will take place on Saturday 17th of May 2014 at 3:30 pm in the Pilgrim Lutheran Church - German Lutheran Church Washington DC - is renting from them. 5500 Massachusetts Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20816

Please keep John's wife, Gigi and his sons, Kurt and Craig, in your thoughts and prayers.

Mark R. Bebar

President, IHS

A more detailed Memorial to John can be found here: In memorium IHS Past President, John R. Meyer Jr.


[16 Oct 12] Sadly, Dr. Sam BRADFIELD, 94, of Melbourne, died Tuesday, October 16, 2012. The International Hydrofoil Society ( IHS) awarded Dr Bradfield an Honorary Life Member Award in recognition of his extensive contributions to the hydrofoil community over many years on 26 Feb 2010.

[7 Mar 03] With regrets I must inform the hydrofoil community that I received the message this morning from Ed Hermanns, that our colleague of many years, Ray Wright, passed away last week. To those who never met him, Ray was the Chief Hydrodynamicist at Grumman up until his retirement. As such he was always a key member of the hydrofoil development team at Grumman. Ray was a quiet man, dedicated to his faith in God and science. He was a true gentleman, and dedicated his professional career to the science of hydrofoil hydrodynamics. Few in this small field, knew as much about the subject as Ray, yet he was always willing to teach and discuss. He was deeply respected by his peers. I personally learned much from him about the field of hydrodynamics and life. It may come as a surprise to many to learn that while trained in aerodynamics, he had a very deep distrust of any airplane enclosing him that was not firmly planted on the ground. Those wishing to express condolences, may write his wife, Myra; contact me directly for the mailing address. -- Charlie Pieroth (


[11 Mar 03] I have a complete set of the Hydrofoil Design Specs that Ray contributed to so much. They are on my book shelf, and every time I look at them (and I have drawn very heavily on them over the past), I think of Ray and all the labor that went into this effort. As you may know I made sure that they were all scanned and made part of the Advanced Marine Vehicle (AMV) CD-ROM #1. So his work will live on. -- John Meyer (

[22 Dec 02] It is with regret that IHS reports the death of CDR Erich H. Ashburn, USN [Ret]. CDR Ashburn was OINC of PEGASUS throughout the Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) process.

[18 Jun 02] Joseph F. Sladsky, Jr., President of Kinetics, Inc., PO Box 1071, Mercer Island, WA, 98040 died 7 June 2002 from cancer. His business will be disestablished by the end of the year. -- Michael R. Terry, 425-881-6823 [According to the obituary in June 26, 2002 Eastside Journal of King County Newspaper Publications, submitted by Sumi Arima, "Mr. Sladsky was born March 9, 1941 in Czechoslovakia. He officially immigrated to Canada when he was 11 after living in a refugee camp in Czechoslovakia for two years. He cam to the United states when he was in his early 20s to attend graduate school in mechanical engineering at the Naval Academy in Annapolis MD and at the Naval Academy graduate school in Monterey CA. Mr. Sladsky later became a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington and later worked for Lockheed. Remembrances may be made to Providence Hospice of Seattle, 425 Pontius Ave. N.; Seattle WA 98019-5452." According to Bill Hockberger, "He was a really decent person and one of those very rare engineers who understand every major aspect of engineering, from materials and structures to thermodynamics and the dynamics of bodies in fluids."- Editor]

[29 Apr 02] I have been told that Charlie Summers, Boeing engineer who worked in the Structures Group, passed away about 3 weeks ago. I personally did not have much contact with him, but I believe he spent quite a bit of time on the PHM. -- Sumi Arima (

[13 Jan 02] Mrs. Rita Reeves has informed IHS that her husband, John Martyn Lewis Reeves passed away at the end of October 2001. For details, see the Winter 01-02 IHS newsletter.

[1 Nov 01] Captain Ronald C. Berning, USN (Ret.) died on 2 August 2001 at his home in Norfolk VA. following a most courageous battle with cancer. He was buried with military honors at Arlington Cemetery on 23 August 2001. He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1968. Following graduation, Ron began a long and distinguished career as a surface warrior that was to include four commands, including command of Patrol Hydrofoil Missile (PHM) Squadron 2 (COMPHMRON TWO) in Key West FL. A donation in Ron's name can be made to Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters; P.O. Box 2156; Norfolk, VA 23501

[19 Oct 01] Sumi Arima reports that Al Rand died during the night of 17 Oct 01, apparently of a heart attack. Al was 79. Sumi came to know him in 1960 when he worked on the HIGH POINT foilborne transmission design. He subsequently worked up to becoming the HYSTU Support Program Manager, the position he held when he retired from Boeing. On behalf of the IHS, John Meyer, president expressed his remembrance that "All of us who were associated with the Boeing organization hydrofoil program held Al in the highest regard. He was a great engineer, leader and a strong proponent of hydrofoils."

In memoriy of IHS Past President, John R. Meyer Jr.

In Memory of Helmut Kock -- Biograpy

In Memory of Ed Butler -- Rememberances by Dottie Butler and John Adams

In Memory of Bob Johnston (Click Here) -- the eulogy by his son David, and the tribute by Bill Ellsworth

In Memory of Mel Brown (Click Here)

In Memory of Robert K. Ripley, Jr. (Click Here)

[9 Sep 99] The Seattle Intelligencer reported on 9 September 1999: "Ross Hatte, age 77... an aeronautical engineer, worked in the Boeing Hydrofoil program, retiring in 1984. A gentle man of many talents: watercolorist, opera singer, master boat designer, and champion model boat racer, truly a Renaissance man. Memorial Service was at Calvary Lutheran Church, 7002 23rd Ave. N.W. Sunday, Sept 12, 1999. Remembrances to Center for Wooden Boats or the Music in Schools Program of Ladies Musical Club."

In Memory of Baron Hanns von Schertel (Click Here)


Visit the International Hydrofoil Society Photo Gallery

This Page Prepared and Maintained By...

International Hydrofoil Society

P.O. Box 157 - Hume, VA 22639 - USA

Articles and photos are the property of their authors. No reproduction in any form is permitted without permission, which may be requested by contacting IHS at the above address.


<IHS Main Page> <Posted Messages Bulletin Board>