The Kinross Incident
In 1953, a UFO was detected on radar near Kinross AFB, Michigan. A Northrop F-89C Scorpion (assigned to the 433rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Traux
Field, Madison WI) was scrambled from Kinross AFB and sent to intercept and identify this target. Radar controllers watched as the F-89 closed in on
the UFO, and then sat stunned in amazement as the two blips merged on the screen, and the UFO left. The F-89 and it’s two man crew (Pilot First
Lieutenant Felix E. Moncla, Jr, and Radar Observer Second Lieutenant Robert L. Wilson) were never found, even after a thorough search of the area.
The Air Force description of the crash is as follows (from their Accident Report, sent via FOIA to CUFON)
Aircraft took off at 2322 Zebra 23 Nov 53 on an active Air Defense Mission to intercept an unknown aircraft approximately 160 miles Northwest of
Kinross Air Force Base. The aircraft was under radar control throughout the interception. At approximately 2352 Zebra the last radio contact was made
by the radar station controlling the interception. At approximately 2355 Zebra the unknown aircraft and the F-89 merged together on the
radar scope. Shortly thereafter the IFF signal disappeared from the radar scope. No further contact was established with the F-89. <
Approximately 16 characters followed by one whole line (of approx. 83 characters including spaces) excised > An extensive aerial search has
revealed no trace of the aircraft. The aircraft and its crew is still missing.
First, the account given is that the UFO was a Canadian airliner, a DC-3 to be exact.
However, they then later (in a separate page from the official report, sent along with the Air Accident Report) assert that the UFO was now identified
as an RCAF C-47 :
The unknown aircraft being intercepted was a Royal Canadian Air Force Dakota (C-47), Serial No. VC-912, flying from Winnipeg to Sudbury,
Canada. At the time of interception, it was crossing Northern lake Superior from west to east at 7,000 feet.
The pilot and radar observer were assigned to the 433rd Fighter-interceptor Squadron, Truax AFB, Wisconsin. They were on temporary duty at Kinross
AFB, Michigan, while the base’s regularly assigned personnel were firing gunnery at Yuma, Arizona. The pilot had a total of 811:00 hours of which
121:40 hours were in F-89 type aircraft. He had 101:00 instrument hours and 91:50 hours night time. The radar observer had a total of 206:45 hours of
which 11:30 hours were at night.
Search for the missing aircraft was conducted by both USAF and RCAF aircraft without success. Although 80 per cent area coverage was reported, heavy
snows precluded effective land search. All civilian reports of seeing or hearing the aircraft were investigated with negative results.
The full reports can be read here: (they also include a detailed account of the search effort)
However, when contacted by NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena), the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) denies they had any such
plane intercepted by the USAF (United States Air Force).
Royal Canadian Air Force letter denying involvement, to NICAP.
"Thank you for your letter of April 4 requesting information regarding an 'Unidentified Flying Object' on November 23, 1953.
"A check of Royal Canadian Air Force records has revealed no report of an incident involving an RCAF aircraft in the Lake Superior area on the
above date." (Flight Lt. C. F. Page, for Chief of the Air Staff, RCAF, to Jon Mikulich, 4-14-61).
So the USAF claims the UFO as an RCAF plane, even identifying a specific craft, but the RCAF flatly denies any such incident in the area. Also, the
USAF fails to acknowledge just how such an identification was made, since there is no radio confirmation of this. While it is conceivable that the
F-89 crashed, and for any variety of reasons, it is indeed strange that this crash happened at the exact moment of the blips merging on the radar
screen. Also, it’s even more strange that such an exhaustive search effort would fail to turn up the missing plane and/or men, or even signs of a
crash, such as debris, oil slick, etc.
Here is a map showing the locations involved. However, please read the following text, as it corrects the map somewhat. I could not locate a
Map of the incident.
Note that the map shown…. ((above) shows the
correct and incorrect) location for the site where the F-89 disappeared over
Lake Superior. It seems that an earlier investigator misread the
geographical coordinates for this site "48 00 N 86 49 W" as "45
00 N 86 49 W". The coordinates "4800N 8649W" appear in telexes
and the RCAF Search and Rescue Report that are in the USAF
Accident Report files from the incident. This location over
Canadian waters of Lake Superior is also the location where
433rd FIS Base Commander Lt. Col. Harry Shoup is pointing to in
a photograph that was published in the Madison, Wisconsin
newspaper the day after the F-89 was lost over Lake Superior.
According to Appendix A of the Report, the weather wasn’t exceptionally hazardous…
The weather conditions existing over eastern Lake Superior at the time contact was lost with the missing F89, was forecast to be the following. A
generally solid deck of Stratocumulus base from 2-3000 and top at 6-7000 feet. A broken Altostratus layer, base 10,000 to 14-15000 feet. The
visibility was generally 10-12 miles falling to 1-2 miles in isolated snow showers. The freezing level was at the surface to the west, rising to 800 -
1000 feet in the east. Analysis of the Sault Ste Marie Radio Sonde Run for 2100Z (1600E) indicates that moderate to heavy icing could occur from the
cloud base to 7000 feet. The air was quite stable and rime ice should have predominated. No turbulence or other hazard would have been encountered.
The winds were light south-easterly at the surface shifting to west aloft.
APPENDIX "A" TO 976-3 (SC&T/AT4) DATED 18 DEC 53
Regardless of what happened this night, there are still a lot of mysteries to be solved regarding this incident.
The Air Force suggestion is that the pilot suffered vertigo and crashed into the lake. One has to wonder how likely this is, when flying on
instruments though, as official records state he was.
Why did the USAF claim an RCAF plane as the UFO, when the RCAF states it wasn’t there?
Perhaps the most curious question is why no acknowledgement of the radio conversations for the incident? Surely, if such an identification (of an
RCAF plane) was made, or if the pilot had trouble, the radio conversation would have conveyed this and been released to put the incident to rest?
A little searching around dug up the following testimonial. A note of caution here, I have as of yet been unable to verify the identity of the one
cited. I am attempting to do so. The following is from a radar operator during the incident (allegedly)
"....I'd like to fill in the gaps in the UFO "anomoly" incident over Lake Superior in 1953. I was stationed in Battle Creek Michigan at a radar
AC&W (Air Craft Control and Warning) and was on duty when the incident took place. When we were notified of the "bogey" to the north of us, we
increased our radar range. We spotted the target, which was stationary (suddenly a plane seems more unlikely, if this account is correct and
legit), by a bright blip on the screen over the east end of the lake. Two F-89"C" interceptors were heading west from Kinross AFB. One of the
F-89's had to abort the flight because of mechanical problems. The pilot, aborting, asked the other pilot if he wanted to return home or wait for
another wingman. He (Moncla) said "Negative" to both and continued to intercept. I was watching it unfold and was able to monitor the transmissions
from the aircraft to his ground controller. The transmission was something like this:
The first report from the pilot "No Joy" (No Contact) On the scope he was closing in on the bogey. As he got closer he announced (slight
static) "I have an eyeball on the target, am going in for a closer look." (more static) Each time he transmitted the static became more and more
unintelligable, the static louder each time he transmitted. As his aircraft converged with the target, there came steadier and louder static each time
he transmitted until they merged. Then all was silent. From my position the now merged blip started northwest for a short time and then
disappeared. The strangest thing about the incident was the closer he got to the bogey, the fewer words were heard due to the increase in
static. The static was present only when he transmitted. A word here and there was heard - as the targets merged there was a long blast of static. His
I suppose we’ll never know with certainty what happened that night, nor the fate of the two airmen involved. If I can learn more about the radar
operator quoted above, I’ll post an addendum with that info. I just thought this was a pretty interesting case, and wanted to point it out to those
not familiar with it.
[edit on 26-4-2005 by Gazrok]