Planes of Fame Air Museum
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Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Northrop F-89J 'Scorpion'


  • Development of the Scorpion began in 1945, in response to a USAAF requirement for an aircraft to replace the P-61 Black Widow. The F-89 was the first jet-powered American all-weather interceptor. It was a twin-engine air- craft, with a crew of two, featuring a large mid-mounted wing. The aircraft was the first to incorporate 'decelerons,' split ailerons that could be deployed to act as aerial brakes. The shape of the tail, with its high-mounted horizontal stabilizer, evoked the name "Scorpion."
  • The XP-89 prototype flew from Northrop's Hawthorne, CA facility for the first time on 16 August 1948. The first production F-89A entered USAF service in September 1950, with upgrades to the -B and -C models following rapidly. A series of mid-air wing failures revealed structural problems, resulting in rework of all of the early airframes.
  • The F-89D was the major production model of the Scorpion, with 682 being built. The 4-canon armament of the earlier models was replaced by 104 2.75-in. Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFARs, 52 on each side) mounted in large pods on the wing tips.
  • The -E, -F, and -G models of the Scorpion were paper studies only. The F-89H had redesigned wingtip pods, each of which carried 3 GAR-1 or -2 Falcon missiles on retract- able launchers and 21 FFARs.
  • The final variant, the F-89J, was created by modifying 350 existing F-89Ds to replace the wingtip rocket pods with large fuel tanks and installing a pylon under each wing to mount a MB-1 Genie nuclear air-to-air missile. An F-89J test fired a live Genie on 19 July 1957, the first and only aircraft to do so. F-89Js served with the Air Defense Command until 1959, then with the Air National Guard until 1969.
  • First aircraft designed as an all-weather interceptor and the first equipped with guided missiles and air-to-air nuclear weapons (photo not of the museum's aircraft).



Status: Unrestored
Manufacturer: Northrop Aircraft Corporation
Year: 1954
Model: F-89J Scorpion
Registration Number:
Serial Number: 
Crew: 2
Max T/O Weight: 46,800 lb.
Span: 60 ft. 5 in.
Length: 53 ft. 10 in.
Height: 17 ft. 6 in.
Maximum Speed: 636 mph
Cruise Speed: 465 mph
Rate of Climb: 7,440 ft/min
Power Plant: 1 × Allison J-35-A-35A after-burning turbojets, 5,600 lbs. thrust each
Range: 1,367 miles
Service Ceiling: 49,200 ft.
Armament: Two MB-1 Genie nuclear missiles and up to four Falcon missiles


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