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United States Air Force 321st Fighter Interceptor Squadron
326th Fighter Group

Two Northrop F-89D Scorpion


Thursday 4th October 1956

Paine Air Force Base. Everett, Washington


The Scorpions that lost their sting


A news cutting from Jim Paschall showing the four crew involved in the mid air collision


Around 6 pm on Thursday 4th October 1956 two Northrop F-89D Scorpion jet aircraft from Paine Air Force Base  collided in mid-air over the Olympic Mountains. Each aircraft carried a crew of two, the pilot and a radar operator. It is believed all four crew ejected using their Northrop ejection seats.

Two of the airmen were rescued on Friday, 5th, the following day from the Olympic Peninsula area. First to be recovered was 1st Lt. Eugene A. Hamby, the pilot of one of the two Scorpions. Not long after the pilot of the second aircraft, 2nd Lt. George L. Deer
was found and safely returned.

The radar operators from both aircraft, Lt. Robert L. Canup, Jr. and 1st Lt. Jim B. Paschall remained missing.


Jim Paschall,  George Deer's radar operator would remain missing for some time. Jim had somehow managed to eject from the stricken F-89.
For whatever reason Bob Canup had not ejected and went in with the aircraft.

While awaiting rescue Jim kept notes of his experiences and what he recalled of the events of that evening flight.


The two pilots anxiously awaited news of their respective radar operators.



Fifty years later the events of that night are still vivid in Jim's mind

"When the F-89, in which I was a crew member, slipped under the lead F-89 I was certain we would collide and actually ducked down a bit.  The nose of lead came across the canopy area aft of the front cockpit and directly over my head in the rear cockpit.

A very loud noise erupted with the removal of the canopy.  I was unable to see after that but felt the aircraft pitch forward and at that time I ejected.  Following ejection, I was in a spin mode around the longitudinal axis of my body. The horizon lazily passed in and out of view as the world spun rapidly by.  I flung both arms and legs as far away from my body as possible and the rotation stopped.

The horizon passed slowly into view with me laying on my side in a position that appeared proper to pull the dangling rip cord located directly in front of my face. I pulled it. 

Opening shock, at approximately 22,000 feet, was mild to nonexistent. The collision, ejection, and wild ride until parachute opening, was terrifying.  However, at no time did I loose my sense of training and reacted by the numbers.   

I landed in the high mountains of Northwest Washington just below the tree line.  My parachute began hanging on limbs as I fell through the forest.  Gradually the chute came to a stop as my feet touched the ground. 

Forty two hours later I walked out of the mountains into civilization. "


Details used in this Biography were  provided thanks to Jim B. Paschall
L/Col  USAF, Ret.

We were all in the .  (Canup had on a jacket that I believe was of a squadron he had recently transferred from. I have no idea why his picture was thus.)
I received a pin from the parachute company.  Caterpillar Club Pin.



page last updated
Friday, 14 September 2007 23:27