F-89D  "Scorpion"  54-224  

29 November 1956
10 Miles SW of Presque Isle AFB

76th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
Presque Isle AFB
This aircraft and crew were scrambled, as a single ship, from Presque Isle AFB at 23:30 on an active air defense intercept. There was a 5000 foot broken ceiling and a light snowfall at the time. After takeoff and while in a right turn to clear the pattern, the RIO contacted the "Eaglebeak" GCI Controller at nearby Caswell radar station and was told that the target aircraft had been identified and the interceptor was to recontact Presque Isle Approach for local return clearance.  The second part of this transmission was never acknowledged.  The aircraft crash site was located the following morning in a wooded area under the pattern for the departure runway.  It is believed that the pilot suffered from spatial disorientation, "false climb", or became distracted with something in the cockpit and did not realize that the aircraft was slowly descending. The aircraft had begun hitting trees in a 40 degree right bank and in an 18 degree glide. After clipping trees for 150 feet, it struck the ground and broke up in a heavily wooded swamp area, with no serious fire.

Killed in this mishap were 1 Lt. Charles E. Holly, Pilot and 1 Lt. Edward Skowron, RIO.
A piece of elevator trim tab shed early along the breakup path. Note the USAF "Arctic Red" paint applied to outer wings and tails in the mid-1950s to improve visibility of aircraft in the event of a ditching on snow covered ground.
Local Maine Guide Tony Boucher with a section of the left top tank. Tony  located this site and contacted me to help identify it.
This pile of wreckage, near the middle of the main impact area, contains a striped piece of the left wing tip tank, a small section of the left wing, an oxygen bottle and a combustor can from one of the two J37 jet engines.
Two views of the largest piece of the empennage. Note the Arctic Red paint and visible parts of the aircraft's "Buzz" number- FV-224.
A piece of one of the F-89's unique "decelerons" with Arctic Red paint and a maintenance warning placard still visible. The low impact angle and lack of post-crash fire, combined with the minimal direct sunlight exposure in the shaded swamp crash site, have preserved a lot of markings.
A piece of the left wing "marked" orange by the Air Force in 1956.
An impeller from one of the two J-37 engines.
Engine combustion chamber. This is one of the furthest "large" pieces of the aircraft along the 800' breakup path.
Engine combustor can.
Two views of a large section of fuselage skin from the left side of the cockpit area.
Two views of another cockpit area section showing the aircraft model, block number and serial number.
Fuselage skin from the right cockpit area.
Blower assembly made of a ceramic type material.
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