CAUS Updates

Kinross UFO

Source: Gary Val Tenuta (

In response to your request for information on the November 1953 Kinross UFO
incident I found what is probably the most complete documentation of that
incident, at least on public record. It's in the NICAP publication (The UFO
Evidence), 1964, section IX, identified as "The Kinross Case". In my edition
that's on page 115. Also, in section VIII it's noted that there are 42
sources for this information, although those sources are not identified. I
imagine they must exist in the NICAP files somewhere.

Here is the report from Section IX:

    On the night of November 23, 1953, an unidentified flying object was
detected over Lake Superior by Air Defense Command radar. An F-89C
all-weather interceptor was scrambled from Kinross AFB, near the Soo Locks in
northern Michigan. Guided by radar, the jet sped northwest across the lake on
an intercept course. On the radar screen, ground controllers saw the F-89
close in on the UFO blip, and then the two blips merged and faded from the
screen. From all appearances, the aircraft and the UFO had collided. No trace
of the jet has ever been found.

    The last radar contact with the F-89 showed it to be at 8000 feet, 70
miles off Keeweenaw Point, and about 160 miles northwest of Soo Locks. Later,
the Air Force reported that the "UFO" was identified by the F-89 as a Royal
Canadian Air Force C-47. After identifying the friendly plane, the Air Force
states, the F-89 turned back to base. From that time, "nothing of what
happened is definitely known." [Air Force information sheet; copy on file at
NICAP]. The C-47 was "on a flight plan from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Sudbury,
Ontario, Canada." [Air Force letter to NICAP member, 4-2-63].

    The original report released by the Air Force PIO at Truax AFB, Wisc.,
stated that contact was lost with the F-89 when it appeared to merge with the
UFO. There is no mention tracking the jet after that.

    In 1961, a NICAP member wrote to the RCAF concerning the Kinross incident
to verify the C-47 identification. The reply stated:

    "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).

    Later, another NICAP member wrote to the RCAF and received an even more
specific denial that any Canadian aircraft was intercepted by a U.S. jet. The
spokesman added: " you stated the C-47 was traveling on a flight plan
taking it over Canadian territory; this alone would seem to make such an
intercept unlikely." (See photo stat).

    There are two interpretations of what happened over Lake Superior that
night: (1) Air Force radar tracked a UFO, the F-89 closed in to investigate,
collided with or was in some manner destroyed by the UFO (as indicated by the
blips merging on radar, the fact that radar contact was lost after the blips
merged, and the fact that no trace of the fully-equipped all-weather aircraft
has been found.); or (2) Air Force radar tracked a temporarily unidentified
RCAF plane, the F-89 intercepted it, made the identification and then crashed
for unknown reasons.

    The latter explanation does not account for what was observed on radar;
it assumes that expert radar men cannot read radar scopes. The RCAF has no
record of such an incident, although a flight plan allegedly was filed. If
there was such a flight, it would have been entirely over Canadian territory.
Because of international identification networks between Canada and the U.S.,
its flight plan would have been known to the radar stations and there would
have been no need for the intercept mission to begin with. The F-89 was
originally reported to be chasing an "unidentified object"."

    The Air Force information sheet on this case states: "It is presumed by
the officials at Norton AFB [Flying Safety Division] that the pilot probably
suffered from vertigo and crashed into the lake." Judging by weather reports
at the time, the pilot would have been on instruments, so that vertigo
(dizziness resulting from visual observation) would be an extremely unlikely
explanation. Even if the F-89 was not on instruments at the time, there is no
explanation why radar tracked it 160 miles out over the lake and then lost
contact just after the blips appeared to merge.

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