Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum
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BOEING’s “AQUA-JET” HYDROFOIL RESEARCH HYDROPLANE
(ALSO KNOWN AS THE "HTS" HYDRODYNAMIC TEST SYSTEM)
From 1961-1966, the Boeing owned and operated Aqua-Jet provided a continuous "water tunnel” between its sponsons in which to measure the hydrodynamic parameters of many small, scale model hydrofoil “wings” of different designs at various angles of attack, depths and speeds. The instrumentation was such that a complete “polar” plot (of lift and drag versus angle of attack at any one foil depth and speed) could be obtained in a run time of only 30 seconds!
Except for the unique sponson configuration and pure turbojet propulsion, HTS resembled the American Power Boat Association's “Unlimited Class” racing hydroplanes of that era. HTS was 38 feet long, with a beam of 17 feet. Initially powered by an Allison J-33 turbojet with 4,600 lbs. of thrust, the brown-and-white HTS then displaced about six tons and was capable of speeds of up to 100 knots (115 mph). In 1963, after major modifications to the hull and the installation of a Pratt & Whitney J-48 turbojet with 6,350 lbs. of thrust, the blue-and-white HTS displaced closer to eight tons with a top speed of 130 knots (150 mph).
Operating on Lake Washington in Seattle only on calm water and during daylight hours, HTS proved to be indispensable in adding to the knowledge of hydrofoil design and performance at that time and in the years that followed.
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