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Title: Moncla,Felix November 23,1953
Description: Lake Superior, Michigan

monkalup - July 26, 2006 05:59 PM (GMT)
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Felix Moncla
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Felix Moncla, Jr was a United States Air Force pilot who disappeared while pursuing an unidentified flying object over Lake Superior in 1953. The Air Force reported that Moncla had crashed and that the "unknown" object was a misidentified Canadian Air Force airplane, but the RCAF disputed this solution, reporting that none of their craft were near the area in question.

This is not the only aircraft disappearance associated with a UFO; over two decades later Australian Frederick Valentich vanished after reporting an unusual object near his small plane.

On the evening of November 23, 1953, Air Defense Command Ground Intercept radar operators at Truax Air Force Base identified an unusual target near the Soo Locks. An F-89C Scorpion jet from Kinross Air Force Base was scrambled to investigate the radar return; the Scorpion was piloted by Lieutenant Felix Moncla, Jr., with Lieutenant R. Wilson acting as the Scorpion's radar operator.

Wilson had problems tracking the object on the Scorpion's radar, so ground radar operators gave Moncla directions towards the object as he flew. Flying at some 500 miles per hour, Moncla eventually closed in on the object at about 8000 feet in altitude.

Ground Control tracked the Scorpion and the unidentified object as two "blips" on the radar screen. The two blips on the radar screen grew closer and closer, until they seemed to merge as one return. Assuming that Moncla had flown either under or over the target, Ground Crontrol thought that moments later, the Scorpion and the object would again appear as two separate blips. Donald Keyhoe reported that there was a fear that the two objects had struck one another "as if in a smashing collision."[1]

Rather, the single blip disappeared from the radar screen, then there was no return at all.

Attempts were made to contact Moncla via radio, but this was unsuccessful. A search and rescue operation was quickly mounted, but found not a trace of the plane or the pilots.

The first official explanation was that Moncla had suffered a bout of vertigo, then crashed into Lake Superior. The U.S. Air Force then announced that the object had been either a Canadian fighter jet or DC-3 cargo plane. The Canadian Air Force, however, rejected this, and asserted that none of their planes were anywhere near the area in question. The U.S. Air Force then announced that the Scorpion had exploded; critics noted that this should have left some debris, though none was found.

A NICAP report noted that the U.S. Air Force offered contradictory positions for Moncla's last position; over either Lake Superior or Lake Michigan.[2]

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monkalup - July 22, 2008 03:28 AM (GMT)
Lake mystery still unsolved
Published: Sunday, November 26, 2006

The truth about a vanished Air Force jet is out there ... somewhere

1st Lt. Felix E. Moncla Jr. was the pilot lost in the F-89 “Kinross Incident” of 1953. Radar operator Robert Wilson is also missing. (Gord Heath photo)

By JOHN PEPIN, Journal Munising Bureau

KINROSS — Fifty-three years ago this month, a U.S. Air Force F-89 Scorpion jet vanished from radar screens over Lake Superior after being sent to intercept an unknown aircraft.

On the evening of Nov. 23, 1953, Air Force radar tracked the missing jet until it merged with an unidentified object 70 miles off the Keweenaw Peninsula, at an altitude of 7,000 feet.

Newspaper reports said the missing plane, which had left the Kinross Air Force Base at 5:22 p.m. “was last heard from when it radioed the base from somewhere out over the lake.”

Pilot 1st Lt. Felix E. Moncla Jr., 27, of Mercauville, La. and radar operator 2nd Lt. Robert Wilson, 22, of Ponca City, Okla. were presumed dead, likely somewhere under the snow-swept waters of Lake Superior.

The U.S. military said the object the plane chased was a Royal Canadian Air Force Mohawk C-47 transport plane, but that claim was later denied by the Canadian government, saying there were no such aircraft in the area at the time.

Algoma Central Railway workers roughly 100 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie said they heard a crash that occurred shortly contact with the F-89 was lost by the military. But after a search, no sign of the crew or fighter jet was discovered.

In autumn 1968, prospectors in the Cozens Cove area of Ontario found mechanical parts north of Sault Ste. Marie, including a tail stabilizer section, that military officials said were from a high-performance jet aircraft.

A newspaper article from the time said the parts were thought to have perhaps been from the missing Kinross plane, but that idea was later discounted. The article doesn’t say why.

Over the years, a great deal of speculation has surrounded the “Kinross Incident,” with some UFO investigators suggesting the Scorpion may have struck, or even been devoured by, a craft from another planet.

“It is a compelling mystery with an interesting UFO twist,” said Gord Heath, a British Columbia resident interested in the Kinross incident since 2000. “Many people at radar tracking stations observed the F-89’s return merging with the blip from the other craft before it disappeared. The possibility that a UFO ‘swallowed’ the F-89 makes this an interesting puzzle.”

Now, more than five decades after the crew disappeared without sending a distress signal, the mystery of what happened to Moncla, Wilson and the Scorpion jet has been given new life.

Reports from The Great Lake Dive Company — a downstate venture said to be made up of Michigan natives with a common interest in shipwreck hunting and historical preservation — say they used side-scan sonar equipment to discover the missing plane, along with a piece of the object it presumably collided with.

The jet is reportedly located in deep water, lying upright on the lake bottom, mostly intact. The port wing and starboard tail stabilizer are missing. Cockpit structure is said to be in place, suggesting the pilots may still be inside.

Reportedly, the find was said to be made in an area off the Keweenaw Peninsula in summer 2005, with the dive company waiting a year before announcing its discovery.

“Frankly we came away surprised,” said Adam Jimenez, dive company spokesman from Oakland County. “We expected, at best, to locate an engine, wing or other small debris. Finding the plane together was really unexpected.”

The company reportedly made a positive identification of the F-89. The second object reportedly shows an impact trace that shows how it landed and stopped a little more than 215 feet from the plane’s wreckage.

Jimenez reportedly claimed the mystery object was confirmed to be metallic with a mark from being struck that could match a wing from the fighter jet. The missing wing from the plane’s wreckage may be buried in lake sediments underneath the teardrop-shaped object.

In August, Jimenez contacted The Mining Journal with a news release, saying the company was still in the process of documenting “the mystery object,” with “a lot of wreck site forensics to complete.”

Reportedly, there is nothing else located on the bottom of the lake for miles, leading dive company researchers to conclude the plane and second object being found so close together means they must both be related in the crash.

“We feel bittersweet,” Jimenez wrote. “On one hand, we set out to answer this thing and did. But on the other hand, you realize this was a tragedy that claimed the lives of two American pilots.”

Jimenez said a documentary on the history, search and discovery of the F-89 and mystery object was being planned.

But like the F-89 Scorpion jet itself, Jimenez and the dive company unexpectedly dropped off the radar screen.

Now researchers are wondering whether the reported find and purported sonar images circulated were a hoax, or whether Jimenez and his associates have simply sought a lower public profile with their claims remaining valid.

“While it may be too early to reach any definitive conclusions, there certainly seems to be many more questions than answers concerning Great Lakes Dive Company and the alleged F-89 discovery,” said Dirk Vander Ploeg, editor and publisher of and in an on-line commentary. “About the middle of October, the Great Lakes Dive Company Web site suddenly went blank. It was at this time that Adam Jimenez stopped returning phone calls and e-mails.”

Jimenez has not answered Mining Journal requests seeking interviews for this story and Internet searches for the company have failed to produce new contact information.

Heath, who has contacted several principals in the case and maintains an extensive Web site on the Kinross case, said he believes there are several intriguing possibilities concerning the whereabouts of the missing F-89.

“The best possibility towards solving the mystery will be to find the aircraft, with or without the remains of the crew,” Heath said. “I do think it is possible that the F-89 is either on the bottom of Lake Superior or perhaps somewhere else in the region.”

Are the remains of Wilson and Moncla with their plane on the bottom of an inland lake or lost in a dense Canadian forest yet to be discovered by a hunter or trapper? Was the wreckage actually recovered by prospectors along Lake Superior in 1968?

Perhaps the missing Scorpion jet indeed sits upright off the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in more than 250 feet of water in Canadian jurisdiction? Or does the real answer to where the crew went lie somewhere beyond the stars?

As the popular science fiction television program “The X-Files” would say: “The truth is out there.”

monkalup - July 22, 2008 03:28 AM (GMT)

monkalup - July 22, 2008 03:31 AM (GMT)
The article underneath has been published in the daily newspaper The Town Talk, Alexandria, Louisiana, USA, on July 20, 2003.

Avoyelles Parish Man's Disappearance Still A Mystery After 50 Years
Andrew Griffin - Staff Reporter

MOREAUVILLE -- It was a cold, cloudy night above Lake Superior nearly 50 years ago when 27-year old Avoyelles Parish native and Air Force pilot 1st Lt. Felix E. "Gene" Moncla Jr. and 2nd Lt. Robert Wilson met a mysterious fate, trying to intercept what some believe was a UFO.

Family, friends and investigators want to know what happened to this well-liked Moreauville man so many years ago.

One of those people is Canadian UFO investigator and computer systems analyst Gordon Heath, of Surrey, British Columbia.

Heath, 48, grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, along the north shore of Lake Superior, and said he has been interested in Great Lakes mysteries since he was a boy. He came across the Moncla story on the Internet after having heard about it years ago. He spent some time in Avoyelles Parish last fall, researching old copies of the Avoyelles Journal and interviewing friends and family of Moncla.

While researching in Avoyelles Parish, Heath found that Moncla had been based at Truax Field in Madison, Wis.

Moncla, with 1,000 hours of flight time, had been temporarily transferred to Kinross Air Force Base in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, shortly before he disappeared.

On the night of Nov. 23, 1953, Moncla and Wilson were instructed to fly their Northrop F-89C jet aircraft to identify a large unidentified craft flying over restricted airspace at the Soo Locks along the American-Canadian border. The duo, flying at approximately 500 mph, descended rapidly from 30,000 feet to 7,000 feet in order to seek out the unusual object. They were traveling at a slightly slower speed than normal, said Heath.

This incident occurred when the Cold War was beginning to heat up, so American jets often were ordered to investigate unknown craft on the assumption that enemy pilots could fly them. And just a year earlier, a flying saucer flap had gripped the United States, resulting in unknown objects flying over restricted airspace in Washington, D.C.

As Moncla's jet approached the craft, Heath said a radar operator at Houghton, Mich., noted that it was not long before the two blips on the radarscope had merged. Suddenly, Moncla and Wilson's jet had disappeared and the "bogey" (as UFO's and other unknown craft are called in Air Force parlance) continued on a northward track over Canada and rapidly vanished off the radar screen.

A search team was immediately dispatched over Lake Superior, west-northwest of Michipicoten Island. Rescue craft scoured the American and Canadian coasts, but no remains of the jet or the bodies of the two pilots ever were found.

"Visibility was a variable that night," Heath said. "There had been plenty of clouds and light snow conditions reported."

However, all researchers agree that conditions were not inclement enough to imperil Moncla's top-notch jet.

At first, the Air Force said the F-89 and the bogey did merge on the radar scope and the Associated Press ran a story with that information. But then the Air Force backtracked and gave different stories about what happened that night, even saying that the object they had been chasing was a Canadian jet.

In fact, Air Force investigators would later report that Moncla may have experienced vertigo and crashed into the lake. The Air Force said Moncla was known to experience vertigo from time to time.

If Moncla was known to experience vertigo, Heath asked, why would the Air Force have him on active duty flying critical missions?

And the Royal Canadian Air Force disputed the Air Force theory that the object Moncla chased was an RCAF jet aircraft flying a night mission from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Sudbury, Ontario, Heath said.

Heath said the vertigo theory is weak since it was very likely Moncla was looking at instruments rather than visuals at the time.

Heath said a researcher in Royal Oak, Mich., John Tenney, found out through his own research that an Air Force communications officer claimed to have heard Moncla's Cajun drawl over the radio long after it had been reported that he had vanished. Heath said Air Force investigators discounted this because they were of the mind that the aircraft disappeared and crashed and the idea that Moncla was still flying around after he crashed into the lake didn't fit their idea of what happened.

Tenney could not be reached for comment for this article.

Heath compiled an interesting account of the Moncla mystery in the winter 2003 of the UFOBC Quarterly magazine.

Following the "accident," it would be a month before Moncla and Wilson were listed as officially dead by the U.S. Air Force. And surprisingly, the Air Force did not hold a memorial for the two crewmen as was customary for members who died in the line of duty.

Moncla's widow did, however, receive an American flag from the Air Force, Heath said. Heath wants to know why the Air Force did not conduct a memorial.

"Was it because they had reason to suspect that the two crewmen might still be alive?" Heath asked.

Fifteen years after the mysterious incident, in 1968, some prospectors near the Canadian city of Sault Ste. Marie, found wreckage from a jet along the rocky and remote Lake Superior shoreline. A newspaper account of the discovery mentions that the wreckage may have been from Moncla and Wilson's lost F-89. However, inquiries to the Canadian government and civilian agencies by Heath about the found wreckage, have proven fruitless. Heath said the F-89, developed in the late 1940s, had some design flaws but that those design flaws had been corrected before 1953 and that the jet had a very good safety record.

Coincidentally, an F-89 on a training mission from Truax Field crashed near Madison, Wis., the same night Moncla's F-89 disappeared.

Heath said that until his disappearance, Moncla had led a successful life. He was the son of Yvonne and Felix E. Moncla Sr. and had grown up in Moreauville. Heath said Moncla graduated from Moreauville (Avoyelles) High School in the 1940s and went on to attend Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette (ULL), where he received a bachelor's of science degree.

It was while Moncla was attending the LSU School of Medicine to become a doctor that he applied for a commission in the Air Force. He was called to active duty shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War and ended up at Truax Field.

Heath said he is of the opinion that Moncla and Wilson met an unusual fate and that they may have been spirited away by whatever force was behind the object seen on the radarscopes that night. Heath said some radar operators strongly believe that the plane was "swallowed up by the UFO."

At the time of the accident, Moncla had a wife and two young children, including his son, David Moncla, who lives in Alexandria. He declined to be interviewed for this story.

In the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Moreauville, a memorial was erected that reads: "(Moncla) Disappeared Nov. 23, 1953, intercepting a UFO over Canadian border as pilot of a Northrop F89 Jet Plane."

Heath said that the Avoyelles Commission of Tourism is planning on building a museum, which may feature a specific display relating to the Moncla disappearance.

Carlos Mayeux Jr., who grew up in the Moreauville area when Moncla was living, confirmed that there is such a project in the works. At the time, Mayeux was a teenager and recalled hearing the terrible news.

"It was a tragedy," Mayeux said.

Felix Moncla's wife, Bobbie Moncla Nabors, later remarried an Air Force officer in Alabama.

Buddy Moncla, 77, a cousin of the lieutenant who lives in the Avoyelles Parish community of Moncla, said he wants to know what happened to his cousin nearly 50 years ago. Buddy Moncla said he and his cousin Gene grew up together. He remembers Gene as good looking, popular and somewhat reserved.

Both attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute (ULL) in the early 1950s.

"We used to watch him play football," Buddy Moncla said.

After Buddy Moncla married Beryl, he saw less of his cousin because he was still single. Moncla and his wife were living in Cape Girardeau, Mo., when he said his mother called and informed him of Gene's disappearance.

"All we were told was that their plane went down and they never were found," Beryl Moncla said.

It wasn't until many years later that he began to hear more details about the case and the unusual circumstances surrounding his cousin's disappearance.

Buddy Moncla said he is open to the idea that a UFO snatched Gene and his co-pilot.

"I was told that the last transmission recorded was (Gene) saying, "I'm going in for a closer look," Buddy Moncla said. "That is the last they heard."

Buddy Moncla said that means his cousin saw something high over Lake Superior.

"He saw something and the radar saw something. The radar made the story more controversial because the image of Gene's plane and the unknown object converged into one blip and then it disappeared. What happened?" he asked. "They say he may have passed out at the high altitude, but what about his co-pilot?"

Asked whether he believes a UFO abducted his cousin, Wilson and the jet that night, Buddy Moncla replies in all seriousness, "There's no questions. What else? No one can prove otherwise."

He said that UFO's are just that, unidentified flying objects.

"Whether it was an item Uncle Sam was experimenting with or something else, we'll probably never know," he said. "It's an interesting story."

He said he and his wife are glad there is some interest in the story. And having met with investigator Heath during his visit to Avoyelles Parish, Buddy Moncla said the Canadian UFO researcher "came across as a straight shooter."

He added that he would like the U.S. Air Force to reopen the case and offer some closure on the subject, considering all the unanswered questions surrounding the mysterious incident.

Leoni M. Shannon, Moncla's older sister who now lives in Loveland, Colo., said the incident deeply affected her family.

"My mother was never the same; he was her only son. He was sweet to her. She tried to put up a brave front but you knew it was devastating for her," Shannon said. "After that incident I was constantly looking in the sky every night. I never saw anything. It's a puzzle."

Shannon said the Air Force and other governmental agencies were not helpful in providing the family with straight answers.

"We still know nothing about it," Shannon said. "I don't think the government wants to let us know about what really happened to him."

When asked if she believes it is possible a UFO or some other unknown force could have been behind her brother's disappearance, Shannon doesn't hesitate, "I think that something like that could've happened."

Meanwhile, back in British Columbia, Heath continues to write the Canadian and American governments searching for answers as to what fate really befell Moncla and Wilson those many years ago. He is confident the American government engaged in a cover up that continues to this day.

"I have a strong inclination where this is all going," Heath said. "That Moncla and Wilson were captured by a UFO."

monkalup - July 22, 2008 03:35 AM (GMT)

Marksville Weekly News

Avoyelles Parish has connections to a UFO mystery that goes back 49 years. Gordon Heath from Surrey, British Columbia was in Marksville recently to investigate the background of Lt. Felix E. Moncla who disappeared along with another crew member, Second Lt. Robert L. Wilson, over Lake Superior on Monday, November 23, 1953.

According to Heath, who is a UFO hobbyist, Moncla was on temporary assignment at Kinross Air Force Base in ...(sic. Michigan)... when he was sent to identify and unidentified craft over the Soo Locks, which is restricted airspace. Moncla, in an F-89C, pursued the craft for about 30 minutes flying at 30,000 feet over the middle of Lake Superior. He was flying about 500 mph when he was instructed by ground radar to descend to 7,000 feet.

When the unidentified craft was finally on radar it was noted that the two radar images, the UFO and the Air Force jet, were very close and at some point they intersected but only one remained. Heath says that the unidentified craft flew north and disappeared from radar.

Lt. Moncla's jet mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

Heath, who is a computer systems engineer, has been interested in UFO's for quite awhile and while surfing the Internet found the story about Moncla and the incident that caused the jet to disappear. To add to the mystery, there were no remains of the jet found and no remains of either pilots' bodies.

Lt. Moncla graduated from Moreauville High School and received a BS degree from Southwestern Louisiana Institute. He was attending the LSU School of Medicine when he applied for a commission in the Air Force and called to active duty after the outbreak of the Korean war. He was the son of Yvonne and Felix Moncla Sr. and was married with two small children when he was killed in the flying accident.

There is a memorial stone for Lt. Moncla in the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Moreauville. The inscription reads: "Disappeared Nov. 23, 1953 intercepting an UFO over Canadian Border as Pilot of a Northrup F89 Jet Plane."

Heath was in town to talk to members of the family and friends of Moncla and asked if any one has any information that he can use to please call the newspaper at 253-5413

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monkalup - July 22, 2008 03:36 AM (GMT)

...Under Section III any pilot who reveals an official UFO report can be imprisoned for one to ten years and fined up to 10,000 dollars. (Title 18, U. S. Code, 793)

Three months later, in December, 1953, I discovered the second order, which carries court-martial penalties. For several days I had been checking on a strange story from Kimross (sic) Air Force Base, near Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. The facts had been hurriedly covered up, after a brief Air Force admission...

It was the evening of November 23, and wintry darkness had settled over Michigan. At an isolated radar station Air Defense operators were watching their scope in a routine guard against possible enemy attack.

Suddenly the "blip" of an unknown machine appeared on the glass screen. The Ground Control Intercept officer took a quick look. The "unknown" was flying over the Soo Locks--and no aircraft was scheduled near that important target. Whatever it was, it had to be identified swiftly.

In less than two minutes an F-89 from Kimross (sic) Field was streaking toward the locks. At the jet's controls was Lieutenant Felix Moncla, Jr., a veteran at 26. Behind him was Lieutenant R. R. Wilson, 22-year-old Oklahoman, acting as radar observer. Guided by Ground Control, Moncla climbed steeply toward the "unknown."

Back at GCI, the controller watched the jet's blip on his glowing radarscope. As it moved toward the UFO's blip, the strange craft changed course. The controller called Moncla, gave him the new bearing. From the scope he saw that the F-89 was now over Sault Sainte Marie, though to the crew the city's lights would be only a blur, quickly lost behind.

The UFO, flying as fast as a jet airliner, was heading toward lake Superior. At over 500 miles per hour the F-89 raced after it, out across Whitefish Bay.

Nine more minutes ticked by in the tense quiet of the GCI radar room. Gradually the F-89 cut down the gap. By now, the controller knew, Wilson should have spotted their quarry on the fighter's short-range radar. Watching the chase, he cut in his microphone and called the flight's code name.

"Target should be visual. Still bearing--"

He broke off, staring at the scope.

The two blips had suddenly merged into one.

Whether the strange machine had abruptly slowed or Moncla unaccountably had put on full power, no one in the room could tell.

But one thing seemed grimly certain: the two machines were locked together, as if in a smashing collision.

For a moment longer the huge, ominous blip remained on the glass. Then it quickly went off the scope.

Marking the position, the controller flashed word to Search and Rescue. Moncla and Wilson might have bailed out in time. Both had life jackets and self-inflating rafts; even in the icy water they might survive for a little while.

The mystery craft and the F-89 had come together far off-shore, about 100 miles from Sault Sainte Marie and 70 miles from Keweenaw Point. As quickly as possible, search planes with flares were roaring over Lake Superior. After a fruitless night search, boats joined the hunt as American and Canadian flyers crisscrossed a hundred-mile area.

But no trace was ever found of the missing men, the F-89--or the unknown machine...

Source: "The Flying Saucer Conspiracy," by USMC Maj. (ret.) Donald E. Keyhoe, 1955, Henry Holt & Co., pp. 13-15.

monkalup - July 22, 2008 03:42 AM (GMT)
Lake discovery is likely Truax jet (missing F-89 Scorpion) ^ | August 29, 2006 | Doug Moe

Posted on Friday, September 01, 2006 11:04:56 PM by Gomez

THERE HAS been a stunning development in the half-century-old mystery of what happened to a Truax Air Force Base F-89 Scorpion jet airplane that disappeared over Lake Superior on Nov. 23, 1953.

The plane and its Madison-based crew - pilot Felix Moncla and radar observer Robert Wilson - were never found. The F-89 had been dispatched to track a large unidentified flying object that radar had spotted near the U.S.-Canadian border, and the plane's disappearance has been fodder for extraterrestrial theorists ever since.

It now appears the missing plane has been located.

Earlier this month, divers and engineers from the Great Lakes Dive Co. posted on their Web site sonar photographs of what the group calls "the legendary missing F-89 Scorpion."

Gord Heath, a Canadian UFO investigator who has devoted considerable time to researching the F-89 disappearance - including several visits to Madison, most recently this past July - called the new find "a huge development" when we spoke Monday.

At the time of its disappearance in 1953, the F-89 was based not in Madison but rather at the Kinross Air Force Base in Michigan. A Capital Times story at the time explained that the plane and its crew "were part of a Truax Field contingent stationed temporarily at Kinross Air Base to substitute for Kinross personnel engaged in gunnery maneuvers at Yuma, Ariz."

In an incredible and tragic coincidence, the F-89 Scorpion temporarily stationed at Kinross was only one of two Truax F-89s to encounter serious difficulty on Nov. 23, 1953.

Shortly after noon that day, another F-89 Scorpion, this one at Truax with Lt. John Schmidt and Capt. Glenn Collins aboard, took off to test the afterburners of newly installed engines. While the test seemingly went fine, when the plane headed back toward Truax, witnesses below reported hearing an explosion, and then the jet crashed into a marsh in the Arboretum, killing both Schmidt and Collins.

It was less than six hours later that radar operators at Kinross, on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, spotted the UFO in restricted air space over the Soo Locks.

Moncla and Wilson went up in an F-89 Scorpion to track the unidentified craft. Back at Kinross, radar tracked their plane closing in on the UFO over Lake Superior. Moncla's last words from the cockpit were, "I'm going in for another look."

The Capital Times reported what happened next: "The Truax jet was followed on the radar screen at Kinross until its image merged with that of the plane it was checking - then it was lost."

That odd radar image - of the mystery craft seeming to swallow the Truax jet, then both disappearing from the screen - has fueled the extraterrestrial theories. U.S. officials claimed the rogue blip on the screen was an off-course Canadian airliner, but Canadian authorities have denied that any of their planes were in the area.

In his 1955 book, "The Flying Saucer Conspiracy," Donald Keyhoe wrote: "The mystery craft and the F-89 came together far off-shore, about 100 miles from Sault Sainte Marie. ... As quickly as possible, search planes with flares were roaring over Lake Superior. After a fruitless night search, boats joined the hunt as American and Canadian flyers crisscrossed a hundred-mile area. But no trace was ever found of the missing men, the F-89 - or the unknown machine."

But then, in October 1968, the Sault Daily Star newspaper carried a story headlined, "Do aircraft parts belong to missing F-89?" Two prospectors had found the parts, including a tail section, on the eastern shore of Lake Superior. The paper quoted Air Force sources saying the parts belonged to "a high performance military jet aircraft."

Years later, when Gord Heath, the UFO investigator I spoke with Monday, tried to get records from the Canadian government of the jet parts found in 1968, he was told no records existed.

Heath has spent much of the past five years trying to learn the fate of the missing Truax F-89. He has a Web site - - devoted to it. He has made research trips to Madison and has a section on the city on his site. A documentary film crew from Canadian television accompanied Heath on his last trip here in July.

Now, suddenly, the Great Lakes Dive Co. find has considerably upped the ante on this 53-year-old mystery. You can learn more about the company, and view the sonar photos of the F-89, on its Web site,

The Web site explains that the group formed in 2001 out of "a yearning to explain some of the enduring mysteries of the Great Lakes." Late in 2005, members were searching for two sunken French minesweepers when circumstances led them to the area over which the F-89 had disappeared. Five days into their sonar search, the site notes, "the computer returned some amazing images." It is, they seem certain, the Truax F-89.

They next plan to take underwater video of the plane, which seems in remarkably good condition in perhaps 500 feet of water. Heath, who has been in contact with the Great Lakes Dive Co., says its condition - part of the tail is missing - matches up with the parts that were purportedly found in 1968.

Heath does not believe that the discovery means there wasn't an extraterrestrial ship involved in the 1953 disappearance. What if they were after the crew and not the plane? The sonar photos indicate the cockpit canopy of the F-89 is still intact. In time we should learn if the bodies of Felix Moncla and Robert Wilson are inside. If they aren't, it won't mean aliens got them - they might have bailed out - but if they are, the extraterrestrial theory might be put to rest. Some dead men can tell tales.

monkalup - July 22, 2008 03:50 AM (GMT)
THERE HAVE been many UFO reports from aircraft, and there are a few cases in which the destruction or disappearance of aircraft have been attributed by some ufologists to encounters with UFOs. Two of the most interesting are the Kinross incident of 1953 and the the disappearance of Frederick Valentich in 1978.
One of the main problems with the Kinross case is the confusion as to what did or did not happen. All that seems to be generally agreed is that, on the evening of 23 November 1953, an F-89C interceptor, piloted by Lt. Felix Moncla, with Lt. R.R. Wilson as radar observer, was sent on an intercept mission. It disappeared and no trace of it has ever been found.
According to Dr Menzel, the purpose of the mission was to identify an unknown aircraft observed on radar. The aircraft was identified as a Canadian C-47 airliner. The Air Force plane, on its way back to its base, crashed into Lake Michigan. The radar picked up a phantom echo near it. The two blips seemed to merge just before the aircraft disappeared. Menzel attributes this phantom blip to abnormal radar propagation, as " . . . the night had been a stormy one and atmospheric conditions had been conducive to abnormal returns". (1)
Donald Keyhoe gives us a rather different story. He tells us that the jet was scrambled to check on a UFO flying over the Soo Locks (between Lake Huron and Lake Superior). The aircraft followed the UFO out over Lake Superior. The GCI controller saw the blips of the aircraft and the UFO suddenly merge and the combined blip went off the scope.
While the search was still going on, Truax Air Force Base sent an official release to Associated Press which stated: "The plane was followed by radar until it merged with an object 70 miles off Keweenaw Point in upper Michigan." This story was soon changed and the Air Force said that the radar operators had misread the scope and the object was actually a Canadian airliner that was off course.
The Canadian airlines denied that they had any flights in the area at the time, so eventually the Air Force changed its story and said that the aircraft was a Royal Canadian Air Force plane on a routine flight. When NICAP checked this with the RCAF they denied that there had been any such flight.
Air Force officers are said to have told two different stories to Lt. Moncla's widow. She was first told that the plane had been flying too low and had crashed into the lake. She was told by another officer that the plane had exploded at a high altitude. (2)
Attempts to obtain further details of this incident from the US Air Force have so far been unsuccessful.
Evidently, Menzel's assertion that the aircraft crashed into Lake Michigan is wrong, so one wonders about the accuracy of his accounts of other important cases. The generally agreed details of the case are very sketchy, so any theory as to what really happened can be little better than guesswork.

The Valentich disappearance is notable chiefly for the number of theories put forward to explain it, ranging from the plausible to the absurd. During his flight across the Bass Strait to King Island on 21 October 1978 he told air traffic control that he had encountered a mysterious object. He then reported engine trouble and, shortly afterwards, transmission ceased. No traces of him or his aircraft were ever found.
Of course, some ufologists believed that he and his aircraft had been spirited away by a saucer, but there were suspicious circumstances. He was interested in UFOs and had recently seen the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He filed a flight plan but then left the airfield, for some unknown reason, for an hour, with the result that he would have to complete his journey in the dark, although he was not an experienced night flier. He failed to adjust his Search and Rescue time, until the controller urged him to do so. He also failed to call the airfield on King Island to arrange for the runway lights to be switched on.
Speculation has continued ever since this incident and includes the following: he became disoriented and lost control of the aircraft; engine failure; suicide; aircraft hit a net attached to a balloon towed by a boat used by drug smugglers (if caught, they would cut the balloon free so drugs would not be found in their boat); aircraft wrecked by military laser-beam weapon experiment; abduction by UFO. And so on.
Perhaps the true facts about these two cases will never be known, but concentration on the more mundane possible causes seems more likely to lead to the truth than unbridled speculation.

1. Menzel, Donald H. and Boyd, Lyle G. The World of Flying Saucers, Garden City, New York, Doubleday & Company, 1963, 154
2. Keyhoe, Donald E. Aliens from Space, St Albans, Herts, Granada, 1975, 191-192

monkalup - December 19, 2010 02:55 AM (GMT)
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)

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Rob Brent
On the night of November 23, 1953, an Air Defense Command radar detected an unidentified "target" over Lake Superior. Kinross Air Force Base, closest to the scene, alerted the 433rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Truax Field, Madison, Wisconsin, and an F-89C all-weather interceptor was scrambled. Radar operators watched the "blips" of the UFO and the F-89 merge on their scopes, in an apparent collision, and disappear. No trace of the plane was ever found.

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