The Crews Chief's Story
When I visited Michiagn UFO investigator, John Tenney, in October, 2003, he showed me a number of clippings he had obtained relating to the Kinross Incident.
One of the more interesting was copies of correspondence from 1963 between Michigan UFO investigator, Saburt Dixon Atkinson and Donald Keyhoe of NICAP.
On August 11, 1963 the Muskegon Chronicle published a story about Saburt Atkinson, then a young 20 year old man who was pursueing an interest in flying saucers and had been obtaining information on many historic cases.
One of the cases mentioned in the article was the Kinross incident.
"Another report involved a jet interceptor which chased a UFO overLake Superior on November 23, 1953. The chase was tracked by radar and the jet was seen to join with the UFO before they both disappeared from the screen. A land air search never discovered a trace of the plane, its two man crew or the UFO."
A few days later, Saburt Atkinson was approached by a barber from Whitehall (Atkinson's hometown), who informed Saburt that he had been the crew chief responsible for the maintenance of the F-89 which disappeared over Lake Superior that night.
The man indicated that he had been away deer hunting the night of the intercept and had expected that he would be grilled about the maintenance records for the plane when he returned. However, when he returned, he found that the Air Force "never bothered" him. He figured the reason was the Air Force knew that the disappearance was not caused by mechanical faults. He also indicated that most pilots didn't like talking about the incident and that the general concensus was that the plane had been captured.
Atkinson wrote Donald Keyhoe about this contact, to which Keyhoe replied by asking if the man would agree to sign a statement of his observations. Atkinson immediately contacted the crew chief, who refused to sign any statement stating he had no desire to get involved with the government or the Air Force. Since the man was not willing to sign a statement, Keyhoe and NICAP decided not to follow up the claim with any further investigation.
It seemed that Donald Keyhoe and Richard Hall possibly had some doubts whether the man was really the crew chief. However, they decided that since he wasn't willing to sign a statement, it wasn't worth investigating further. This was possibly because they were at the time more interested in obtaining witnesses for congressional hearings than they were in pursuing leads on an old unsolved case.
From what I have been able to read about this account, I certainly have no reason to doubt that the man was who he said he was. He knew the the serial number of the F-89 which was lost that night. He knew that Lt. Moncla was married - and probably knew that Lt. Wilson was not married since he didn't say anything to this effect. He mentioned that Lt. Wilson's father had been involved in the search. I know from the Accident Report that Lt. Wilson's father, Renne Wilson, was responsible for getting the Air Force to reopen the search based on witness testimony from a railway crew that they had heard the jet crash. He had been up in Kinross for the second search. Based on this, I think it is quite possible he was up at Kinross during the first search also.
I am not so sure about the crew chief's recounting that Lt. Moncla's father was also up in Kinross for the search. At the time of the incident, I believe that Felix Moncla Sr. was living in Moncla, La. and was not likely able to travel on his own as he was suffering from mental illness (severe depression). None of Lt. Moncla's relatives has mentioned to me anything about his father travelling up to Kinross.
Reading the Accident Report, there is no indication that any analysis was made about any potential mechanical factors which might have contributed to the loss of the F-89. The only possible contributing factors which were mentoned was the possibility that the plane might have crashed because the pilot might have been susceptible to vertigo. Even this was cited as heresay evidence.
There is no actual formulation of any other possible scenarios which lead to the loss of the F-89. All of this leads to the potential conclusion that the reason for the absence of any real crash scenarios was possibly due to the fact that the Air Force was fairly certain about the cause of the disappearance but could not state this as it was against regulations.