USS Aries Hydrofoil Museum
Established in 2009 by three Missouri businessmen, the USS Aries Hydrofoil Museum is dedicated to preserving the very last of the six Pegasus-class hydrofoil ships that were built in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They differed from regular boats in that they used hydrofoils, which look similar to and function like airplane wings. The purpose of the hydrofoils was to lift the vessel out of the water to provide a smooth, maneuverable ride even at high speeds. The Navy used them as fast attack patrol boats and they were ideal for coastal defense. They were especially effective in combating the drug trade. As for the current status of the USS Aries, it appears that as of Summer 2019 the boat is nearly restored. The museum also features several other boats: the Boeing Fresh-1, President Nixon's Volga, Dynafoil, Water Spyder, and the HI-Foil-2.
Backstory and Context
The USS Aries was decommissioned on July 30, 1993. The Navy decided to decommission the Pegasus hydrofoils because they were expensive to operate, among other considerations. The museum founders sailed the Aries from Charleston, South Carolina to Brunswick, Missouri where the restoration process began. Eventually, the vessel was relocated to Gasconade. The museum gradually acquired its other vessels in the ensuing years.