Northrop F-89 Scorpion


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Northrop F-89 Scorpion

Designed to replace P-61 "Black Widow" as an all-weather fighter. The first prototype flew on August 16, 1948. 1232 built.

Northrop F-89 ScorpionA three-view drawing (592 x 818)

 ENGINE2 x Allison J35-A-35, -33A, -41, -47 afterburning turbo-jet, 3266kg
  Take-off weight19160 kg42241 lb
  Empty weight11428 kg25195 lb
  Wingspan18.19 m60 ft 8 in
  Length16.41 m54 ft 10 in
  Height5.36 m18 ft 7 in
  Wing area52.21 m2561.98 sq ft
  Max. speed1024 km/h636 mph
  Ceiling14995 m49200 ft
  Range4184 km2600 miles
 ARMAMENT3 x "Falcon" guided missiles, 104 x 70mm missiles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120
Jim McLoud, e-mail, 18.01.2018 01:29

I started on the F 89 D at Yuma Ariz.4759th Test Sqdn in June 1955. We received new H model in 1956 . In may 1957 the 4750th moved too Tyndall A F B Florida.
In traffic too Tyndall the pilot got a low fuel light and switched tanks in error went too empty tanks .lost both engines three miles short of the runway both crewmembers Ok


Bobby Dehart, e-mail, 26.11.2016 02:05

Bert Iwas at piafb 1956 1959 Iwascrew chief on f89 & helped build the nose hangers A 1c Bob Dehart I am 79


Mike O'Connor, e-mail, 26.04.2016 20:54

Can anyone supply details on the fatal crash on an F-89 (model unknown)at the Northrop plant in December 1953? Northrop test pilot, Gene Townsend, was killed.


Donald Harvey, e-mail, 21.04.2016 00:02

Steve Taylor:
Saw your comment about your dad Earl Taylor posted on 4 /15 /16. I was in the 84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in 1952 and 1953 and flew in the F-94s and F-89s. I do not remember your dad and did not see his name in the squadron flight rosters from that time. However in the 28th Air Division 1954 year book I see a James A Taylor 2nd Lt in the 84th at Hamilton. At that time I was in the 666th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron and knew most of the personnel in the 84th but never met James A Taylor.

Donald Harvey,2nd Lt
84th FIS Sqd Hamilton AFB, Ca
666th ACW Sqd Mill Valley AFS, Ca 1st Lt 1954-1955


Steve Taylor, e-mail, 15.04.2016 01:10

My dad, Capt. Earl Taylor flew F-94s,F89s and F101s in the 84th at Hamilton fron 52 to 56. He then went on exchange duty with the RAF until July 1958 when he was killed in a crash flying RAF Gloster Javelin. Looking for any info anybody may have. Thanks


Klaatu83, e-mail, 26.09.2015 02:55

"Was with 61FIS at Harmon '53-'55, first with F-94B then transitioned to F-89D, ugly but it grew on you. Easy to fly but def not for dog-fights." the F-89 was never intended for "dogfights", and it is unfair to compare it with smaller jet fighters that were. The F-89 was designed to be an "all-weather interceptor", which meant intercepting incoming enemy bombers by day or night, or during conditions of reduced visibility. The mission it was designed to fulfill also required the F-89 to be able to remain aloft for a fairly long time, which meant being able to carry a substantial amount of fuel. As a result the F-89 was, by necessity, a fairly large and heavy aircraft, equipped with radar and accommodating a crew of two, consisting of a pilot and a radar operator. Any such aircraft would clearly never have qualified as a "dog-fighter". It's WW-II equivalent, the Northop P-61 Black Widow, which was designed for the same purpose as the F-89, was an excellent night-fighter, but clearly could never have competed in a dog-fight with fighters such as the Mustang or Spitfire.


Jim Paschall, e-mail, 09.09.2015 04:39

I was one of the aircrew members Gene Francis mentioned in his narrative concerning the midair over the Olympics on 4 Oct 1956. Actually, Ira Wintermute was the Group Commander. The two F-89's that hit the mountains NE of Pain Field flew into Whitehorse. Also the solo crash in the Sound near Point-No-Point resulted in both crew members being lost.
A good source of information can be found in publications by "Seattle Mountain Rescue".
It might interest historians that I first flew in the F-89 at Paine AFB as an RO, then after attending pilot training for 14 months, returned to Paine AFB as a pilot flying with the same guys in the same flight. (my time at Paine, 1955 through 1960).


Ken (smiley) Miller, e-mail, 10.02.2015 07:13

To: MARC B. Yes, I knew a Doc Blanchard @ JCAFB, Waco, TX. He was an R /O instructor and a great guy; very likable; I never flew with him because we were both R /Os. I went to Pilot School and ended up with C118s at WRI AND HIK. Then C124s @ Hill, joined UAL flying B747s. ret. USAF @ UAL; now living in Coeur D'Alene, ID. after 33 yrs. in Reno, NV KGM


George J Leiby, e-mail, 13.12.2014 19:09

I was a F89D /F94C radar mechanic for the 3630th A&E Maintenance Squad starting in 1956 through 1958 at Moody AFB. Loved the F89 and had the pleasure of working on a F94 with Kent VanDeMark when a fellow technician, Joe Dean, sitting in the front cockpit, released the tip tanks at the radar "Dock" maintenance area. Can you believe that someone didn't check the wing pins or CB interlocks that evening? Our boss, C C Bates was fit to be tied. I later followed the F89's to JCAFB and worked there for a couple more years on both the F89's and B25's used for RO training. Anyone interested in interacting about Moody or James Connally during the late 50's, shoot me a note at


Klaatu83, e-mail, 05.10.2014 05:31

"The F-89 Scorpion was a consolation contract awarded to Northrop in the aftermath of the controversial cancellation of its YB49 Flying Wing in favor of the Convair B-36." At the time the nearest competitor to the F-89 for the Air Force's "all-weather fighter" contract was the Curtiss XF-87 "Blackhawk". The XF-87 was a much bulkier aircraft than the F-89, with side-by-side seating and four jet engines. Of the two aircraft the F-89 was the obvious choice.


Andy Anderson, e-mail, 18.09.2014 04:15

Yes, I had to eject from our F89-D in 1956 into Cook Inlet, Alaska.


Steve Hashimoto, e-mail, 24.08.2014 16:33

My Dad flew in the F-89 at Portland, OR, Moody and Thule in the late 50s. Richard Hashimoto was a RO. Told me some stories about ice skating in the 89 out to the runwat at Thule, poopie suits and painting his room at Thule- green, black and red. Anybody remember him, let me know. He lives in MS. retired as O-6 in 1985.


Fritz Busch, e-mail, 02.08.2014 22:47

Flew D, H & J. Terribly underpowered but very stable platform from which to fire rockets. Early models short on kill probability - Genies made J model very effective.


R Hernandez, e-mail, 23.07.2014 22:03

I worked as crew chief on tail # 1459 at Harmon in 1955.


Gene Francis, e-mail, 07.07.2014 05:19

It was F89D, F89H and F89J. The first time I saw the Model J was, when I was reporting for Alert Hanger duty and did not have clearance for Nuclear weapons, so I got escorted to the brig by an Policeman, until I got the authorization for me corrected, it only took one morning to get it fixed>


Gene Francis, e-mail, 07.07.2014 05:12

I was stationed at Paine Air Force Base, Everett Washington From 1955 until 1959. I was in the 321st F.I.S. until early 1959 when were changed to a base aircraft maintenance only (no pilots) (326th CAMRON). I worked as Airborne Radio Maintenance on the F-89 and some non jet aircraft (C47, etc.)I was initially on the F89D, then the F89H and finally the F89H.
We lost 5 F89's (model I don't recall) two flew into Mt. Baker (north of Everett) in the winter , the next spring all of the crew was recovered. Two also hit each other over the Olympic mountains, 3 of the 4 were recovered. We also lost one 89 over Puget Sound (Mukilteo),with a loss of the ro.
I have never seen any write-ups of these 5 aircraft in any Washington state Aircraft Wrecks documentation. Colonel Samuel G. Grashio was the Base Commander at he time.


Steve Lambrecht, e-mail, 02.07.2014 18:32


I'm planning on vertically lifting a museum display F-89J with a CH-53. They want to know where to place the straps on the aircraft. Anyone have any corporate knowledge?


George Haloulakos, CFA, e-mail, 25.06.2014 22:11

The F-89 Scorpion was a consolation contract awarded to Northrop in the aftermath of the controversial cancellation of its YB49 Flying Wing in favor of the Convair B-36. Learn about this and other related iconic aircraft in my new book.

Aviation as a Teaching Tool for Finance,
Strategy and American Exceptionalism
By George A. Haloulakos, MBA, CFA
ISBN: 9780-1007-2738-0
Order your copy online at:
Or by phone: 858-534-4557
"Partial proceeds support aviation heritage"


Bert Schwind, e-mail, 05.04.2014 21:32

I was assigned (1955-1957) to the 318th and 75th at Presque Isle, first as Communications Officer and then as OIC of all Electronics, Electrical, Weapons and Instrument shops. Well remember when we finally build the nose hangers to keep out the weather. 'Backseated' with Ted Harris (Ops OIC), Bob Mize, and Don Zook. Lucky to have been there when the Squadron went from second last to first in rocketry proficiency during the summer of 1956 at Moody AFB. The unit broke all existing records for Hi Sqdn, Hi CO, Hi Ops Off, Hi Sq RO, Hi Pilot, & Hi RO. I can still see the big score thermometer in front of our HG building rising to the top and looping around. And those winters! 181 inches of snow and 40 Deg below. I transferred to Nellis AFB in March '57. 100 deg change in temp during the week long drive to Nevada.


j d jackson, e-mail, 05.03.2014 04:39

Was with 61FIS at Harmon '53-'55, first with F-94B then transitioned to F-89D, ugly but it grew on you. Easy to fly but def not for dog-fights. Most scrambles with for B-47's and '52s going from Offut to Germany, mostly at night.


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