08-13-2008, 08:38 PM #1
MI - The Kinross Incident, Sault Ste Marie, Nov 1953
(I'm posting this because I think it's a fascinating piece of forgotten history, and makes for an interesting read).
Felix Moncla, born in 1926 in Louisiana, began his military career after graduating from the Southwest Louisiana Institute when he joined the US Army and served in occupied Japan during WWII. After the war, he enrolled at the University of New Orleans. When the conflict broke out in Korea, he reenlisted, this time as a pilot trainee with the US Air Force. In 1953, Moncla was assigned to a fighter wing based at Kinross Air Force Base (later the Kincheloe Air Force Base) near Saulte Ste Marie, Michigan.
Moncla was the pilot of an F-89 Scorpion, one of the first all-weather jet interceptors (and the first to use nuclear air-to-air missles).
The Scorpion was a product of the growing Cold War, designed to intercept incoming enemy bombers. It was fast, capable of near-sonic speeds and had a range of nearly 1,500 miles.
On the evening of November 23rd, 1953, radar operators of the Air Defense Command at Saulte Ste Marie detected an object approaching the Soo Locks of Lake Superior. Moncla and his radar operator, 2nd Lt Robert Wilson, were scrambled in their F-89 to intercept. Wilson had trouble tracking the object on the Scorpion's on-board radar, so ground operators directed Moncla to the target. Racing over the lake at 500mph, the F-89 approached the target area at an altitude of 8,000 feet.
Radar operators watched the two signals grow closer until the two signals merged into one. The operators surmised that Moncla had intercepted and flown over or under the target, and expected the second signal to return.
Instead, the single blip vanished from the radar screen.
A search and rescue was immediately initiated, and searches continued through the 30th. Nothing of the plane or pilots were ever found.
Reports surfaced in 1968 that airplane parts were found on the shores of Lake Superior, but the reports were never confirmed and the parts, if they existed, were never verified to be from an F-89.
The Air Force claimed that the target had been a C-47 cargo plane operated by the Canadian Air Force which was far off-course. The RCAF confirmed that a C-47 was operating over the lake at about that time. However, the RCAF and the pilot of the C-47 have disputed the USAF claim, and stated that the aircraft was never off-course. Lending credence to this is that fact that, if the radar operators were aware of the C-47 and that is was off-course, why was no attempt made to contact the RCAF and relay this information? The C-47 pilot stated that he had good visibility and never saw the Scorpion, nor did it receive any radio messages from the aircraft. The C-47 made it safely to its destination.
In 2006, a gentleman known as "Adam Jimenez", of the "Great Lakes Dive Company" reported to the media that his group had located the missing F-89 partially buried in the silt at the bottom of Lake Superior. "Jimenez" porduced side-scan sonar images of the craft, relatively intact on the lake bottom. Near the plane was another metallic object, tear-drop in shape, which "Jimenez" hypothesized was the object that Moncla had intercepted. As investigators began to look into the sensational claims, they realized the entire episode was a hoax. There was no record of the "Great Lakes Dive Company", and "Adam Jimenez" conveniently disappeared.
To this day, the truth of what occurred that November evening is still unknown. The military records documenting and attesting to the disappearance still exist. Until the plane is recovered, we may never know.
But we do know that two brave Air Force officers gave their lives in service to their country. Despite the 'creepy' overtones of the story and the hints of UFOs and abductions, we should remember and honor their sacrifice.
08-15-2008, 04:52 PM #2Registered User
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If the aircraft was operating over land near mountains or high terrain, then the possibility would exist of it hitting ground due to altimiter malfunction or incorrect barometric setting. But the height of 8,000 feet and it being over water makes that unlikely.
A collision would have initiated ejection of the pilots and emergency beacons would have been activated.
I wonder if there were any "top secret weather balloons" in the area that night?
08-15-2008, 05:27 PM #3
This story has fascinated me since I first became aware of it some years ago. There has been speculation of secret missle tests, Soviet incursion into Canadian and American airspace, other Canadian military flights that were used as part of an unscheduled "intercept exercise" that went horribly wrong...The USAF at one time stated that Moncla may have suffered vertigo and lost control of the plane, but that in no way explains the initial "bogey" picked up on radar.
The F-89 was a notoriously troubled aircraft. It underwent numerous refits and redesigns. The wing configuration in particular was cause of numerous mishaps. In fact, earlier on that same Monday, another F-89 crashed nearby. It was reported to have suffered a catastrophic engine failure and plunged into the swampy muck near the lake.
I find the concept of a nuclear air-to-air missle interesting...I guess you wouldnt have to hit your target to bring it down, just launch the missle within oh, a mile or two.
Not sure what happens to all the nearby towns when that happens though.
08-25-2009, 02:01 AM #4
I just stumbled upon this thread.....wow, what a mystery!!! I wonder if all info pertaining to the flight has been classified or if it could be released with the FOIA....
08-25-2009, 12:40 PM #5
Wow - thanks for bumping. Very interesting indeed.
Here are some links:
http://www.ufobc.ca/kinross/index.htm ( pretty indepth website about the incident)
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08-25-2009, 02:38 PM #6Registered User
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