Walter P. Jones was a research pilot for NACA from the fall of 1950 to July 1952. He had been in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot before joining the Station.
Jones flew the D-558-I #3 (5 flights, first on February 13, 1951) to study buffeting, tail loads and longitudinal stability. Jones made research flights on the D-558-II #3 ( 7 flights, first on July 20, 1951). These flights investigated pitch-up and evaluated outboard wing fences.
Walt also made research flights in the Northrop X-4 (14 flights, first on March 26, 1952) and the Bell X-5 (8 flights, first on June 20, 1952).
In July 1952, Walt left NACA's High-Speed Flight Research Station to join Northrop Corporation as a pilot. Returning from a test mission in a Northrop YF-89D Scorpion he was fatally injured on October 20, 1953, north of Edwards Air Force Base. Also aboard the jet and killed in the crash was Jack Collingsworth, a civilian radar operator for Northrop.
The first F-89D was obtained by modifying F-89B serial number 49-2463, the aircraft being redesignated YF-89D. The first flight of the YF-89D took place on October 23, 1951. The first two production F-89Ds were delivered to the USAF on June 30, 1952. Some 125 F-89Ds had been built by the time that the problems with the Scorpion’s wings were discovered and resulted in the grounding of the entire fleet. These F-89Ds remained at the factory until the wing modifications could be made that would make the aircraft safe to operate in the field.
F-89D Scorpion - USAF all-weather interceptor.
The Crash Site Today
This aerial should give you some idea of what the site is like today.
The impact area and spread of debris indicates the jet crashed at a shallow angle at a high speed. According to the crash report the crater was nearly 92-feet long.
Debris is spread over a very wide area and there is a lot of it!