The 23 November 1953 "Kinross Case," wherein a US Air Force F-89C jet fighter was scrambled from Kinross AFB Michigan on an "active air defense mission" to intercept an "unknown aircraft" and disappeared with two crew members aboard, is considered by many to be one of the "UFO classics." Controversy remains over what the "unknown aircraft," which was the target of the interception, was. USAF records presented here indicate that it was a Canadian aircraft. Canadian officials have denied that any of their aircraft was the target of an interception mission by the USAF on the date in question. The USAF seems to have changed its story over the years about just what Canadian aircraft was being intercepted and has been silent on the method by which they identified the aircraft. (See the UFO Evidence (Ref. Below) for an official Canadian statement)

It is the occurrence of the radar trace of the "unknown aircraft" and the F-89 appearing to "merge" on the Ground Control radar screen shortly after (voice) radio and IFF contact with the F-89 were lost that has made this case loom large in UFO circles. Some print references have the remaining single "blip" moving rapidly off the radar screens, but the USAF records presented here indicate that the "unknown aircraft" continued on its original course.

The weather, although stable as far as flight is concerned, was winter. Even if the crew survived a hypothetical crash, their chances for survival would be considerably diminished by the freezing temperatures, especially if they went into the water. Snow on the ground certainly hampered the search activities.

Whatever the case, no trace of the F-89 or either of the crewmembers were ever located even though an extensive search was mounted in the days immediately after the F-89 went missing.

All the print references (below) give the last known position of the F-89C as 'at 8000 feet altitude, 70 miles off Keweenaw Point, 160 (or 150) miles northwest of Soo Locks,' probably indicating a single source of information. This location is indeed over Lake Superior.

However, the USAF Aircraft Accident Report material we have indicates on two different documents the last reported position as ": AT COORDINATES 45 DEGREES 00 MINUTES NORTH - 86 DEGREES 49 MINUTES WEST." This position is not over Lake Superior, but is over Lake Michigan. All of Lake Superior is north of 46 degrees north latitude. This seems a considerable discrepancy of about 180 miles. The Canadian search plan quotes the other pilots as saying that if Moncla was in trouble, he would have steered 150 deg (roughly SE) as his "homing" path. This jibes with the point in Lake Superior. The search patterns as depicted in the USAF records also jibe with the Lake Superior area. The point in Lake Michigan is due south of the point in Lake Superior... could the 45 deg N latitude be a typo which should be 47 degrees? See Map with above points plotted.

Click here to view the USAF Aircraft Accident Report


The UFO Book, Jerome Clark, Visible Ink Press, Detroit, 1988, pp. 329-331
UFOs: Interplanetary Visitors, Raymond Fowler, Exposition Press, NY, 1974, pp. 291-193
UFO Exist!, Paris Flammond, G.P. Putnam's Sons, NY, 1976, pp. 279-281
Above Top Secret, Timothy Good, Sidgewick and Jackson, London, 1987, pp. 265-266
The UFO Evidence, Richard Hall ed., NICAP, Washington DC, 1964, pp. 114-115
The Flying Saucer Conspiracy, Donald Kehoe, Henry Holt, NY, 1955, p.289, pp. 291-293
Aliens from Space, Donald Kehoe, Doubleday & Co., NY, 1973, pp. 201-203
The World of Flying Saucers, Menzel and Boyd, Doubleday & Co., NY, 1963, pp. 154-155
"Kinross (Michigan) Jet Chase," Richard Hall, in The Encyclopedia of UFOs, Ronald Story


Image of F-89C Fighter from Wright-Patterson USAF Air Museum:

Wright-Patterson USAF Air Museum F-89 "SCORPION" page


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