A Turbine-Powered Hydrofoil Gunboat? Why, Yes!

The Sixties were great enough with all the spaceships and supercars but did you know Boeing made a turbine-powered hydrofoil gunboat for the U.S. Navy? Tucumcari, good for 40 knots (46 mph) on the open water, served a combat tour in Vietnam before being transferred to Europe to become a demo boat.

For the usual boring reasons of complexity and cost, hydrofoils never really took off, but if you want to ride a civilian descendant of Tucumcari, all you need is a hundred bucks. Plying the waters between Busan, South Korea, and Fukuoka, Japan, a pair of Boeing 929’s—Beetle and Kobee—make the run across the Korea Strait in less than three hours.

Photo by International Hydrofoil Society