Little Squirt

LITTLE SQUIRT a 5,500 lb, 20 foot runabout with a stepped W-form hull designed and tested in the early to mid 1960s by Boeing to explore the idea that a waterjet could propel a hydrofoil craft. The boat used a centrifugal pump producing a flow rate of 3,600 gallons of water per minute out the stern; hence its name. The pump was powered through a reduction gear by a 425 hp Boeing gas turbine engine (at that time Boeing had such a small gas turbine as one of their product lines and anticipated wide use on trucks and small craft). Two foils were placed forward and one aft. Each foil had trailing edge flaps, but in addition, lift was controlled by changing the incidence of each foil. The flaps were used for lift augmentation during takeoff and were retracted for the foilborne cruise. The automatic control system used an acoustic height sensor to measure the distance between a fixed point on the bow of the boat to the mean, or average water surface.

I also have been told that the propulsion is by an twin centrifugal pumps and that the water is sucked at the end of the aft foil.

LITTLE SQUIRT accumulated about 110 hours of foilborne operation on Lake Washington and Puget Sound, sometimes operating in 3-foot waves. The craft achieved speeds of up to 45 knots and established the technical basis for proceeding to the waterjet propulsion designs for TUCUMCARI and subsequently the US Navy’s PHM hydrofoils, and Boeing’s commercial JETFOIL


  Two photos of LITTLE SQUIRT as she is today. Photos by Bob Desroche who can be contacted via Malin Dixon








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