F-89J Scorpion

Technical Specs

  • Max Speed: 636 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 465 mph
  • Range: 1,367 miles
  • Service Ceiling: 49,200 feet
  • Wingspan: 60’ 5”
  • Length: 53’ 10”
  • Height: 17’ 6”
  • Weight: 42,250 lbs normal

Armament

  • 104× 2.75 in (70 mm) “Mighty Mouse” folding-fin aerial rockets
  • 16× 5 in (127 mm) aerial rockets on under-wing racks
  • 2 x AIR-2/MB-1 nuclear-tipped Genie missiles

-OR -

  • 3,200 lbs

Engine

  • 2× Allison J35-A-35A afterburning turbojets
  • 5,600lbf thrust, 7,400lbf thrust with afterburners

General Information

The F-89 Scorpion was developed to counter the Soviet threat to the United States during the Cold War, and replaced the P-61 Black Widow and F-82 Twin Mustang beginning in 1950. Born in the years before the advent of missile equipped supersonic fighters, originally the F-89C carried six 20 mm nose mounted cannon. However, these were removed in the F-89D and replaced with an intercept radar in the nose and combination of Falcon and “Mighty Mouse” air-air missiles in pods on the wingtips. Later the F-89J carried a combination of Falcon missiles and the AIR-2 Genie missile. The F-89 was deployed over much of the northern hemisphere, including USAF bases in Iceland, Greenland, and the continental US. This unsung hero of the Cold War served as the first line of defense against the Soviet bomber threat for many years, until replaced by aircraft such as the F-102 and F-106 in the 1960s.

Over 1,000 F-89s were built but only a handful of them survive, making the Heritage Flight Museum’s acquisition a rare treasure.

Specific Information

Manufactured by Northrop Aircraft, Palmdale CA and delivered to the USAF on 4 Feb 1955. Joined the 61st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (Northeast Air Command) at Ernest Harmon AB, Newfoundland. In August of 1957 it was sent back to the Northrop plant in Palmdale for conversion to the J-model. In December of 1957 it was assigned to the 54th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (Air Defense Command) at Ellsworth AFB SD, where she was deployed to Vincent AFB, AZ, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, and Glasgow AFB, MT. Her time with the Air National Guard started in October of 1960 when assigned to the 111th Consolidated Maintenance Squadron in Philadelphia, PA and later in April 1961 with the 103th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron also of Philadelphia, PA. In July of 1962 she moved to Montana where she served with the 186th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and 120th Fighter Group, both in Great Falls. In November of 1966 she was dropped from the inventory and transferred to museum status. She served as a teaching tool to an aviation maintenance school at Helena Regional Airport, MT before being surplused once more and won by the Heritage Flight Museum in a GSA auction for $600. Track her recovery and restoration at http://f89restoration.blogspot.com/.

Take a look around the F89 Cockpit.

Thanks to our F89 Restoration Project Sponsors & Supporters

  • Bill & Valerie Anders
  • Joe Clark – Aviation Partners
  • Baron Hilton
  • Mark & Teressa Kandianis
  • Bill Wooding
  • Steve Hinton – Planes of Fame
  • Olympic Synthetic Products
  • The Air Depot
  • Gary Nelson – Nelson Industrial, Inc
  • Dave Johnson
  • V. Cerisano
  • Wayne Austin
  • Karl Peterson
  • Janet O’Toole
  • Paul Gruenhagen