International Hydrofoil Society Correspondence Archives...


(More PLAINVIEW Photos are in the Gallery)

A Brief History of PLAINVIEW is included the Hydrofoil Pioneers Section of This Website

Chat, Information Sharing, Lessons Learned, and Networking

(Revised 11 Nov 03)


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[28 Feb 03] I too was one of the last members of the PLAINVIEW crew. It is so sad to see her resting place. -- Gary M. Mickelsen, Mt. Vernon, WA (


[3 Apr 02] I just wanted to let you know that I passed by her hull, yesterday, and found her condition just the same as on the photos you already have linked on your website. I was very surprised to find a historic ship in that condition, so I took a few photos, noted her name and looked her up on the web. The tide was in when I was there, so I couldn't observe her bottom. I did not board her, just observed the condition. There is one orange foil on the beach beside her. Sadly, I concur with the opinion already published that recommissioning her would likely be nearly as expensive than a new build. She could probably be floated and made into a museum display, or similar... Very nice website; shows pride and honor. -- Robert Jaeger (


[15 Mar 02] I was on the decomissioning crew and when we left on the last day they gave us all a large copy of the print that covered the ward room wall. However it has incurred some damage over the years and I am having trouble getting repaired or copied because of it's size. I am still checking. (


[3 Feb 02] I was a crewmember of PLAINVIEW AGEH-1 from Sep 1970 to Jan 1974. I am extremely saddened to see the end that this unique and versatile ship has come to. I was aboard her on her 100th foilborne flight hour on the 6 of Jun 1970 and was part the crew that loaded and fired the Sea Sparrow Missiles. My Capt. at that time was Lt. William J. Erickson. A lot the crew were support personnel. I was the supply Petty Officer, but stood watches in Navigation, Hullborne helmsman, Foilborne Lookout and Engineering room watches. I remember that one of the problems that caused the most down time, was that the hydraulic pumps were not designed to operate continuously. I would enjoy hearing from any member of the crew that served aboard this World's Largest Hydrofoil and to compare experiences. -- Gilbert Gibson SKC, USB, (Ret) (

PLAINVIEW Veteran Sought

[3 Feb 02] Does anyone know what ever happened to Chief Hayes? To my knowledge he was the last of the PLAINVIEW's Chief EN/GS types. I had heard that he had remained in the Bremerton WA area, but haven't been able to track him down. -- Greg Bender (


[20 Mar 02] I am pretty sure Chief Hayes died in the late eighties/early nineties. He was working at SIMA San Diego in the diesel shop at the time. -- Frank Hudson (

PLAINVIEW as Yacht Platform?

[5 Sep 01] I would like to find out all the information on the PLAINVIEW regarding plans, blueprints, photos, "action shots", etc. This information will be important in evaluating the market for a luxury hydrofoil. -- Vladimir M. Algin (


[5 Sep 01] In direct response to your quest for information on the USS PLAINVIEW, I can provide the following information:

PLAINVIEW Print Wanted...

[2 Sep 01] I was one of the first members of the crew of the PLAINVIEW. During the time that I spent on the Plainview the crew members were given a print made from a picture of the PLAINVIEW while it was foilborne. Seattle was in the background and even Mt. Rainier could be seen in the background as well. If anyone knows where I could get a copy of that print or a similar print please let me know. The picture I have in mind would have been made in 1969, 1970 or 1971. Your help would be appreciated. -- Terry Haynes (


[2 Oct 01] I think I have a copy of that picture, but the print I have does not have any of the background that you referenced. It was the print that was passed out to all crew members when it was put In-Service in March of 1970. It is a shot of the port side, full length while flying. I am curious as to when you were aboard PLAINVIEW ? I am a plank owner and spend three years aboard her. -- Ken Umbarger (

[22 Oct 01] I have the photo to which you refer and can have it copied in digital color for you. I will also provide an excellent photo of the PLAINVIEW foilborne with the USS PEGASUS foilborne in the background. -- Karl Duff (


[4 Jul 01] I was stationed aboard the USS PLAINVIEW for 2 years from 1971-1972. I saw a picture of her on the net, and it was a sad picture. I think about her often. Do you know what her final days were like? I still have the picture of her during her glory, prior to my coming aboard. Thank you for any info you may be able to supply. -- John Bass (


[4 Jul 01] PLAINVIEW was fully operational and conducted some tests for the HYPAM (Hydrofoil pressure acoustic magnetic) trials up to the day that she was "decommissioned" and towed over to Inactive Ships. We had all the struts removed, the forward ones because of the gearboxes and the aft one because of the HY-130 steel construction. The aft strut was to be tested in the structures lab at DTNSRDC, and the gearboxes were saved for possible use in another project. Other than the diesels, I don't know what other equipment were stripped before putting the ship on the auction block. My understanding was the ship was bought to convert her to a fish cannery tender. We turned over all the drawings to a naval architect firm in Portland. -- Sumi Arima (

[4 Jul 01] See the IHS webpage dedicated to AGEH-1. -- Barney C. Black (Please use the BBS to reply)

PLAINVIEW Status Update...

[26 Dec 00] I stumbled across your forum last week, and if I can be any help let me know. I am the son of the current owner of the PLAINVIEW, which is located in Chinook, Washington. The boat is partially scrapped, but only the rear half of the house was removed, along with the exhaust cowlings and some of the deck gear. In my opinion it will never run under its own power again; getting it to that point would be an extreme labor of love. I think this would have been the case when my father purchased it, but even more so now. My father's original intent for the vessel was salmon processing in the Bristol Bay Alaska fishery, but due to falling salmon prices that never happened. It was indeed in the movie "Short Circuit" as I saw mentioned in the forum. It was moored in Astoria, Oregon for many years until my father sold his boatbuilding shop there. It was then moved to its current location 2.4 miles East of the Astoria Bridge on the Washington side of the river. The scrapping project was begun in 1996 and lasted about two months. It was halted due to a drop in aluminum prices and has never been resumed. I am not sure of my father's plans on this matter, he is busy with a new business venture for a new rudder design, so I believe it is on semi-permanent hold. Feel free to check out the website regarding his business "Deflector Marine Rudder" at He does not wish to be contacted regarding the PLAINVIEW however, so please address comments to me. Now it sits, serving mainly as a tourist attraction. We can't seem to keep the "No Trespassing" signs up, and I personally had to chase many people off of it when I lived at home. In my opinion, if someone was really interested in making it useful again as a hydrofoil, it could be used as an educational exhibit vessel. It would not be too difficult to make it appear to be in running condition... much easier than actually making it ever run again. It definitely has drawing power, but I don't know if even that is enough. I hope this answers questions you might have had. Please do not contact my father. -- Gusty Stambaugh (; Applied Solutions, Inc. phone: 415.276.3100 [Gusty Stambaugh's email no longer functions... IHS is attempting to find out a current email for him. - Webmaster 9 Sep 03]


[12 Aug 00] Photos by Sumi Arima: Click Here (Photo 1) and Here (Photo 2)

PLAINVIEW's Owner Identified...

[5 Mar 00, updated 26 Dec 00] On a short trip to the Oregon coast, I stopped to take pictures of PLAINVIEW, which is located about 2 miles east of the Astoria bridge on the Washington side of the Columbia River. When traveling east, you cannot see the ship since it will be behind you. Traveling west, it is in plain view across the slight inlet. As I was taking pictures, a fellow stopped and started talking about the owner and the abandoned plans. I subsequently made an e-mail inquiry, and have been given permission to let IHS know that the current owner's son may be contacted about the vessel. His name is Gusty Stambaugh. His email address is [bad email address - Webmaster 9 Sep 03] and his telephone number is 415.276.3100. I would like to be copied to: if anyone makes e-mail contact with Gusty. Working for the Navy Department, I was the principle engineer following the design and construction of the PLAINVIEW. Upon construction, I was hired by David Taylor Naval Ship R&D Center to conduct the Navy's Hydrofoil R&D program using the PLAINVIEW and HIGH POINT. Trials of various types were conducted which included ship system improvements; analysis of torpedo, missile, and gun firing; and confirming modeling/computer techniques based on full scale measurements. The PLAINVIEW was especially useful in learning structural calculation concerns, large hydraulic system design, and foil system loads. The PLAINVIEW also provided the research bed for plastic piping, fiberglass piping, stainless tubing with automated butt welder, and many other features now found on many new Navy ships. -- Sumi Arima (

Location of PLAINVIEW and HIGH POINT...

[11 Sep 99] I'm just curious if you know the current locations of the ex-PLAINVIEW and ex-HIGH POINT. I'm driving (from Eugene, OR) to Bremerton this weekend, and I'd like to head out to Astoria to photograph them if they're still in the area. --Joe Lewis (


The location of the HIGH POINT and PLAINVIEW are discussed in various e-mails on the International Hydrofoil Society web pages. The HIGH POINT is moored at a private dock in Astoria. The PLAINVIEW is anchored on the North side of the Columbia about a mile upriver. Take the road on the Washington side of the Columbia from Astoria bridge. -- Sumi Arima (

USS PLAINVIEW Final Resting Place...

[8 Aug 99] I went on vacation near the mouth of the Columbia River (Washington side), and I ran into the remains of the USS PLAINVIEW. It appears that someone is cutting it up for salvage and I was wondering if someone has more info on this hydrofoil. -- Ed Bynon (


[8 Aug 99] Can you give me more details on the PLAINVIEW's present condition? Your inspection might have given you the indication that a salvage operation is taking place, whereas it might judt be the way it is stored. The foils and struts are removed, with only the foils sitting on the rear deck. Some openings were made to remove major machinery. The hull has what looks like cutouts where the struts pivoted. If you have any particular questions, feel free to ask. -- Sumi Arima (

Hydrofoils For Military and Ferry Use, Lessons Learned...

[28 Jan 99] I don't know if there has been any discussion lately on the simplicity of using hydrofoils on the same routes that the smaller commuter catamarans are running on. These routes are mainly lakes, bays and sounds. There are very few open-ocean routes. Hydrofoils are more expensive to build due to the complexity of the things, something that the naval architects and engineers have built into the systems. [By contrast], the basic offshore aluminum crew boat is a reliable, lightweight, fast, and durable machine. No one has ever set a usable life on the things. There are 30+ years old boats out there running every day. It is a vessel that has evolved to carry out its mission. As far as I know, there are no hydrofoils operating in US waters. I believe in submerged hydrofoils with automatic control systems. Retractable foils have always been a joke. Mainly because the vessels with retractable foils were built to go anyplace. If a ferry vessel's route normally has a maximum of 2'-3' chop, there is no need for a 6' gap between the keel and the water surface. If the water depth is sufficient over the entire ferry route there is no reason for retractable foils. The price of the boat can be reduced significantly. Short distance ferry routes don't call for a Boeing 737 interior in the cabin. Commercial quality would do just fine. Get rid of the carpeting and plush seating. Concentrate on maintainability, speed and maneuverability. Too much high class, expensive, unproved machinery has been installed in the past that has given the American built hydrofoils a "bad rap." PLAINVIEW and HIGH POINT are classic examples. I have often wondered if anybody ever sat down and figured out how much it cost per foilborne hour for the life of these vessels. Only a government could afford it. The PEGASUS class PHM was another boondoggle that cost the taxpayer a fortune to build, operate, and maintain. They were truly vessels without a mission. If some of that money could have been channeled into the private sector with an objective of building a hydrofoil passenger boat that would make money instead of spending money, we would have covered the world with US-built hydrofoils today. I hope you understand where I am coming from. Hydrofoils were my life for over ten years. I hate to see them die because of the bad reputation and the high cost of building one. Somebody will one day sit back and take a long look at where we have been and the knowledge that has been gained and come up with a viable, economical design. I hope so. I would hate to see everything that we have done in the past go down the tube. -- Ken Plyler (


[29 Jan 99] I read your comments and must reply in defense of HIGH POINT and PLAINVIEW. When HIGH POINT was designed, there was limited knowledge of hydrofoils. It was originally built as an active patrol craft, but the Navy soon realized that it should be in a prototype category. With the original intent, many systems were designed light weight yet meeting the military specifications. In addition, since the concept was new, ABS and Coast Guard had inputs on safety considerations, etc. I recall considerable communications with the different groups which even included the sanitary features of the galley. As for the foils, struts, and foilborne propulsion, tests in the tow tank provided data which was not correlated to any actual data. The engineers used conservatism and thus had designs which later proved more than adequate. Meanwhile, with limited operations, (You should recall all the time sitting at the pier during your duty on the ship.) many operational problems were detected, and redesigned and rebuilt to provide in many cases a safe operation. Other things learned were when the foils and pods were strain gauged to determine load paths, revised fairings to try to reduce erosions, Although the foilborne transmission system was bathed in sea water frequently, it turned out that the gears were very reliable. Mod I changed the seal system which helped. Toward the end, no gearbox problems were noted for a period of about 3 years. As for the PLAINVIEW, the increased size required another set of design solutions that pushed into unknown territory. The hydraulic system required a couple thousand horsepower for the operation of the foils. Industrial hydraulic pumps did not have the continuous rating which proved to be a nemeses and subsequent redesign. Again, many areas of research and development in improving HIGH POINT and PLAINVIEW and now used in other naval ships. In defense of the Jetfoil, I know that Boeing spent considerable time getting ABS and Coast Guard to accept alternatives in meeting their requirements. Some of the items that looks like frills in actually is based on ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) or Coast Guard requirements. For example, the seats need to be strong enough to withstand the g forces in crash landing. The cheapest was to use aircraft qualified seats. Coast Guard originally wanted a three man Pilot House crew. which Boeing successfully got Coast Guard to agree to two. For operations in other countries, Boeing had to certify that their requirements were also met. In summary, I hope I have changed your views on the earlier hydrofoils. The data collected has provided both engineering and operational information which are considered in new designs of all crafts, not just the hydrofoil ships. Meanwhile, with the experience, the regulatory agencies have changed their requirements. I'm sure the aluminum crew boats you talk of have benefited from the HIGH POINT and PLAINVIEW trials. -- Sumi Arima (

 Proposed PLAINVIEW Historical Project

[1 Sep 97] I enter this post in the attempt to generate interest and open a discussion on the feasibility of something near and dear to me. My life has been greatly molded by the events that many of you gather to discuss and review -- the creation and improvement of the hydrofoil. I personally have never been directly involved in your field, but my father has. Many of you know him, Alexander M. McClair. In a recent series of discussions, we were reflecting on the hydrofoil program, the pioneering spirit of the men involved, and the tight bonds that were formed among the teams that were involved in the creation of the AGEH, PCH and PHM. I often take great pride when I see commercial hydrofoils in use (not that Alec was the father of the hydrofoil), our family lived a lot of years revolving around the boats and the shipyards that made them. We were all present at the launches of these ships mentioned. It was a long time ago. Since then the use and application of these ships has grown. As it continues to grow, there is an element that is missing from the early days of progress: a living example of early hydrofoil design and manufacture. This has been the topic of many conversations between me and my father (as well as a large number of you). Which has prompted me to begin a journey. A journey to look into the feasibility and logistics of resurrecting a ship, The AGEH PLAINVIEW. I have an interest in this to retrieve the AGEH, and restore it to operational status. The purpose is to preserve an early version of today's accomplishments. Those of you who were involved in the early days of hydrofoil development are keenly aware of the pioneering spirit of your peers. I feel that it is worth saving in the form of a demonstrable vessel, one that stood apart in its day. The AGEH was the fastest ship in its class, and the world's largest aluminum hull vessel in its day. Now it sits on a beach (I think in Goose Bay, Oregon). A number of people and associations have gotten together to restore other vessels in different categories; I would like to do this for a vessel that helped to develop an industry. Its use would be as a floating/traveling museum. There are pages of details and opinions that don't need to be displayed here, but I am interested in your responses. For those interested in a project like this, I would ask you to respond to me directly, at my email address below. For those of you that think this is futile, please feel free to respond as well. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you. -- Douglas M. McClair (


[3 Sep 97, updated 26 Dec 00] You have an interesting proposition but I believe the PLAINVIEW is beyond restoration as an operational hydrofoil for the following reasons:

  1. The PLAINVIEW was scrapped by the Navy with all the major equipment removed, including the struts, diesels, gas turbines, outdrives, and Automatic Control System (ACS) electronics. After storing the main struts on the HYSTU barge for a period of time, when HYSTU was preparing to close, the gear boxes were removed from the struts and the struts were scrapped. The gear boxes were below decks of the barge when the barge was turned over to the Acoustic Range on Fox Island. I do not know where the gear boxes are today. I also don't know what happened to the struts. The tail strut was to go for fatigue testing at Carderock, but I don't know if any funds were made available to do so. The tail strut was of interest because of the HY130 steel construction. [Some additional scrapping was accomplished by the current owner: the rear half of the house was removed, along with the exhaust cowlings and some of the deck gear]
  2. The HUDAP (Hydrofoil Universal Digital Autopilot) sat on the barge in storage without preservation. I believe that when the barge was cleaned of HYSTU parts, the HUDAP was sent to scrap. We have used a IBM PC with D to A (Digital to Analog) and A to D converters to provide flight control on the HIGH POINT as a feasibility demonstration. With considerable amount of programming, PLAINVIEW could possibly have a couple of PCs configured to provide the ACS function.
  3. The retraction actuators were left on the ship. I do not know if they are still there. I also do not know the final results of the incidence control actuators. To replace these actuators alone would be cost prohibitive.
  4. The PLAINVIEW hull is now located on the Columbia River east of Astoria. I suspect the hull could be had for a price, but the cost of moving it and mooring it at some location will also add to the restoration expenses.

My regards to your dad. We had quite a time together when he worked for Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company and I worked for Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Construction, and Repair, USN, Seattle on the PLAINVIEW project. -- Sumi Arima (

2nd Response...

[18 Feb 98] I had the distinct pleasure of being the PLAINVIEW's Chief Engineer during the period Feb 1976 through Feb 1980 when the vessel emerged from its epic overhaul and conversion and during which it finally lived up to its designers' expectations. I briefly envisioned the PLAINVIEW again majestically rising above the waters of the Pacific Northwest and banking into a turn. Then reality set in quickly. I remembered the monumental effort it took to get the ship through that overhaul, to train the crew and to solve the new laundry list of technical, budget and schedule problems that seemed to confront us weekly. I remembered my last glimpses of the PLAINVIEW on the mud flats in Astoria, Oregon in a photo sent to me by Dwain Sorenson of Boeing and in the background of the movie "Short Circuit" filmed in Astoria in about 1985. I quickly concluded, "Not likely to ever see that again!" I am afraid I must agree with Sumi, even if the hardware and hardware could be found, I doubt the technical data still exists or could be recreated. Better to try something a bit more achievable. If I can answer any questions, please feel free to contact me. -- Greg Bender, LCDR, USN (ret) ( or (

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