Ummm...El Cid...can we...ummm...get back on topic if that would be alright with you?...Hmmmm...
I'm on it like a mad dog & can't let go of this interesting topic...
After doing a little more probing on the 'net, I found some interesting info.
It seems that the F-89A/B/C series of aircraft also had some engine problems as well as the previously mentioned wing oscilation & attachment
problems. The engines were changed & upgraded several times during the short production run. It wan't until production blocks -35 & -40 series of
the aircraft that the improved Allison J35-A-33A engine was used not only because of increased power, but it also had a redesigned inlet, deicing
equipment, inlet guide vanes, and redesigned forward engine mounts.
Obviously, inlet icing was also a concern for this aircraft for this improvement to be implemented- which the ill fated 'Kinross mission' F-89C
(tail # 51-5853-A in the reports) may have run into with the winter weather over Lake Superior at the time of the incident. Another possible
This particular aircraft # falls into the -40 production block, in fact it is the 3rd from the last F-89C made- the last production F-89C of
production block -40 was # 51-5856. So it obviously had the latest improvements of the C model produced.
Don't forget that if icing conditions were present, it would also be possible for the winlet addition to the wingtip external tanks that was
installed to help counter the oscillation problem of the wings to also be suspectable to an icing condition that might render the added winglet
inneffective against what it was designed for- so icing could lead back to a wing oscillation & flexing problem again.
It should also be noted that it took about 14 months for Northrop to fully retrofit the F-89C's with the strengthend wings, improved high-strength
steel root-edge wing mountings, and the external wing-tip fuel tanks with winglets designed to help control oscillations. It wasn't until late '53
that all of the F-89C's were retrofitted if you do the math from Oct '52. Usually when aircraft are sent for such 'emergancy' modifications, they
are sent back in order of serial#...which also means that this particular aircraft was also likely one of the last to recieve the mod. being a late
tail #(even if the logbook write-ups omit this)- if it actually recieved it at all before it 'disappeared'.
Also some interesting info from www.virtuallystrange.net...
that suggests that some pieces of wreckage of an
F-89C may have been in fact found. It's an interesting insight on this webpage. Check it out!
A few other sources of interest:
A very informative site that also includes the serial numbers and manufacturing blocks of the F-89C.
Also a nice info site about the F-89C
...So that seems to leave us with why the Air Force covered up some of the facts of this planes 'disappearance'. Whatever did happen, why does that
seem to steer towards a UFO encounter just because the Air Force 'droped the ball' over facts & the failure of the search??
Since two F-89C's were actually scrambled together to intercept, but one aircrew decided to return to base and leave the other plane to its ill fate-
maybe the outcome would have been much different if there were two planes that made the intercept instead. At least then there would have been a
greater chance for a surviving witness...or at the very least, better informantion of the occurance.
But unfortunetly, fighter pilots being who they are (much less military officers in general) I'm sure some personal pride was on the line from the
young Lt. pilot that might have had something to prove- both personally & professionally, and also proving the worth of the aircraft to its mission as
designed as an all-weather interceptor. Maybe that is one reason that he continued on the intercept when the other aircraft turned back.
Whew...just had to get that out to 'stir the pot' some more...