A BRIEF HISTORY OF HYDROFOILS INCORPORATED AND KENNETH E. COOK, CEO & FOUNDER
DURING THE 50’S AND 60’S AN INTERESTING SEQUENCE OF EVENTS OCCURRED
- Powerboat engine technology began to far exceed control technology
- Ken had several personal boat racing accidents in hydroplanes, and has since lost many friends to the sport
- The removal of the most elite of powerboats “THE UNLIMITED HYDROPLANES” from his home-town race course in Red Bank, New Jersey — home of the first unlimited class race ever held (between Red Bank and New York) and site of the origination of the American Powerboat Association (APBA)
The Unlimited class boats just couldn’t control the increased speeds produced by the more powerful engines being developed. In one of these terrible accidents, an unlimited class hydroplane ran up onto the shore at Red Bank and killed several spectators because it could not negotiate the turn, and ran out of water. Blow-overs and kiting were and still are, a common, accepted occurrence in high-speed boat racing, injuring and killing many drivers every year.
Astonishingly, this technology hasn’t markedly improved over the years and the videos and movies of high-speed accidents are the same in 2016 as they were in the 1930s. This racing industry in all classes, from Unlimited to Offshore, Drag Boats, to Outboard Hydros is widely known as the most dangerous of all sports and continues to accept these tragedies as normal.
In the early 1940’s, Ken’s dad placed him in the seat of the Tempo VI, the premier unlimited of its time, owned by the famous bandleader Guy Lombardo. (Image credit: http://www.seabuddyonboats.com) That simple process lit the spark. “This is what I’m going to do.” said a young and determined Ken.
In 1953, after building many hydroplane models, Ken built his first sit in 13 ft outboard hydroplane with a friend with hopes of growing through the ranks to someday become a leader in the unlimited class boats. These small outboards are still used as springboards to both the limited and unlimited racing classes, similar to the way Go-Karts are the starting point, leading to an eventual Indy race car seat at the “Brickyard.” For years, Ken drove Outboard Hydros, Jersey Speed Skiffs, Offshore Boats, SK Boats and Limited Hydros.
In response to this unrelenting quest for speed and safety, Hydrofoils Incorporated was formed in Rumson, New Jersey in 1972 primarily as a research and development company for the design, manufacture and testing of advanced high-speed marine vehicles that would exhibit “built-in” self-stabilizing sea keeping performance while traveling at extreme speeds. This research and unique prototype development has generated a great deal of interest within the industry. In 1974 Ken produced and demonstrated (by invitation) the first hydrofoil to exceed 100 mph for the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineer (SNAME) at the Advanced Ships Conference in San Diego, California. This design is still currently the world’s fastest hydrofoil having exceeded 130 MPH in 1976. His developmental progress has been published in industry journals and periodicals worldwide and Ken is considered the world’s foremost authority on supercavitating hydrofoil design. The company has concentrated on all forms of vehicles using high-speed supercavitating hydrofoils and is currently conducting open water tests of unmanned, remotely piloted hydrofoils with top, controllable speeds. Some of the tests involve vehicles well over mach 1. Ken is thoroughly committed to bring safety, control, and reliability to extremely high performance advanced marine vehicles and provide a stabile platform to enjoy the water at any speed. These vehicles truly address and correct the deficiencies found in all other high-speed watercraft.
Ken is now a distinguished engineer with a degree in industrial design, and a prominent history of producing high technology products for market using the most advanced systems available. His many years of precision machine tool and capital equipment development and production for companies like Motorola, IBM, Harris, Pratt and Whitney, Bendix, Smith and Wesson, and NASA allow him to remain on the cutting edge of the highest design and manufacturing technologies available. Ken has numerous “Design Originals” including the first miniature resuscitator used in space shuttles; the first Doppler radar speed-measuring device; the first chemical alcohol-measuring device (Breathalyzer) and the first hydrofoil ever to exceed 100 mph. His work is published worldwide and includes an engineering “Best Paper Award,” an “Outstanding Achievement Award,” and two “Six Sigma Quality and Engineering Awards”. Ken also holds many US Patents.
Past Hydrofoil Videos
Featuring the original 16’ Zytiron Hydrofoil boats, 60″ Gas and Nitro Hydrofoils, the popular 24e Fast Electric Zytrion Hydrofoil including a brushless version and a 24″ rocket powered hydrofoil – the only one in the world!