From the Curator: USS Plainview

In March 1968, the crew of the USS PLAINVIEW visited the Oly brewery. They had held an all-hands survey and overwhelmingly voted Oly as the beer they’d most like to be shipwrecked with. PLAINVIEW was built in Seattle for the U.S. Navy, and at its launching in 1965 was the world’s largest hydrofoil.

At 212 feet long and over 300 tons displacement, PLAINVIEW may have been small compared to U.S. Navy cruisers and aircraft carriers. But at the time of its launching in 1965, it was the world’s largest hydrofoil. It puttered along at normal operation, but when the hydrofoil “wings” were deployed, the ship flew along at better than 40 knots!

The USS Plainview

Hydrofoils were developed by the Navy to hunt down fast Soviet submarines. PLAINVIEW was the Navy’s fourth concept hydrofoil, and the largest. She was built by Lockheed at its Seattle shipyard, was formally launched in 1965, and placed in service in 1969. After many sea trials and experimental programs, the Navy decided that hydrofoils were not the way to go. In addition, PLAINVIEW suffered from unfixable leaks and mechanical problems—she spent more time at the dock than on sea duty. So after less than a decade in service, PLAINVIEW was decommissioned in 1978. She was sold in 1979, partially scrapped in 2004, and today lies abandoned on the Columbia River near Astoria.

But in 1968, the 20-man crew and two officers visited the Oly brewery where they “saw just exactly where and how their favorite beverage was brewed and packaged.”

The USS Plainview’s crew

Read more at popular-mechanics-dec-1968.pdf ( and see actual film of PLAINVIEW at This Ship Could Fly: What Happened To The Plainview? – YouTube and at The Wreck of the USS Plainview (AGEH-1), Experimental Hydrofoil – YouTube.

Article written and provided by Schmidt House History Program curator, Karen Johnson.

Picture of Artesian #81
Artesian #81

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