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Home Base: Chino, CA
Operation: Western USA
Model: F-86F-30
Wing Span:
37' 1"
Length: 37' 6"
Height: 14' 8"
Max Speed: 650 mph
Gross Weight: 17,000 lbs
Power Plant: General Electric J47-27
Thrust: 5,920 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 830 gallons
Armament: 6 x .50 caliber machine guns 2 x 1000 lb bombs.

POF's North American F-86F Sabre

The Planes of Fame
Air Museum is the owner and operator of this North American F-86 Sabre, which is on display in Chino, CA. and is available for airshows, flybys and film and is also a member of the extremely popular United States Air Force Heritage Flight program.

Initial proposals to meet a USAAF requirement for a single-seat high-altitude day fighter aircraft/escort fighter/fighter bomber were made in late 1944, and were derived from the design of the straight-wing FJ Fury being developed for the US Navy. Performance requirements were met by incorporating a swept-back wing with a 5:1 aspect ratio into the design. Manufacture was not begun until after World War II as a result. The XP-86 prototype, which would become the F-86 Sabre, first flew on October 1, 1947.

The F-86 was manufactured as both a fighter-interceptor and fighter-bomber. Several variants were introduced over its production life, with improvements and different armaments implemented (see below). As an example, the J47-GE-7 engine of the F-86A produced a thrust of only 5,200 lbf (23 kN) while the J47-27 engine of the F-86F produced 10,000 lbf (44 kN) of thrust. The F-86 was the primary US air-combat fighter during the Korean War, with significant numbers of the first three production models seeing combat.

The F-86 entered service with the United States Air Force in 1949, joining the 1st Fighter Wing's 94th Fighter Squadron "Hat-in-the-Ring" and became the primary air-to-air jet fighter used in the Korean War. With the introduction of the Soviet MiG-15 into air combat in November, 1950, in which it out-performed all aircraft then assigned to the United Nations, three squadrons of F-86s were rushed to the Far East in December. The F-86 could out turn and out dive the MiG-15, but the MiG-15 was slightly superior to the F-86 in ceiling, acceleration, rate of climb, and zoom (until the introduction of the F-86F in 1953); and flown from bases in Manchuria by Soviet VVS pilots, was pitted against two squadrons of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing forward-based at K-14, Kimpo, Korea. The first MiG-15 shot down by a Sabre was by a pilot of No. 335 Fighter Interception Squadron, Flight Lt. John Nicholls RAF.

Superior US pilot training in comparison to that of North Koreans and the Chinese accounted for much of the F-86's success in achieving air superiority during nearly all of the hostilities. F-86 pilots also achieved a favorable kill ratio even over the Soviet piloted MiG-15s. Soviets piloted the majority of MiG-15s that fought in Korea, while inferior North Korean and Chinese pilots piloted the rest of the MiG-15s. The Soviets and their allies periodically contested air superiority in MiG Alley, a hotbed for air-to-air combat near the mouth of the Yalu River (the boundary between Korea and China). Some sources attributed the F-86E's all-moving tailplane to giving the Sabre a decisive advantage over the MiG-15. Far greater emphasis has been given to the training, aggressiveness and experience of the F-86 pilots. Despite rules-of-engagement to the contrary, F-86 units frequently initiated combat over MiG bases in the Manchurian "sanctuary".

The fighter-bomber version (F-86H) could carry up to 2,000 pounds (900 kg) of bombs, including an external fuel-type tank that could carry napalm. Both the interceptor and fighter versions carried six Browning M3 .50 in (12.7 mm) caliber machine guns in the nose (Later versions of the F-86H carried four 20 mm cannons instead of machine guns). Guns were harmonized to converge at 1,000 feet (300 m) in front of the aircraft with one tracer bullet for every five rounds. Most rounds used during the Korean War were API (Armor-piercing incendiary) bullets containing magnesium which were designed to ignite upon impact but which performed poorly above 35,000 feet. Unguided 2.75 inch (70 mm) rockets were used on some of the fighters in target practice, but 5 inch (127 mm) rockets were later used in combat operations. The planes could also be fitted with a pair of external jettisonable fuel tanks (four on the F-86F beginning in 1953) that extended the range of the aircraft.

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The Planes of Fame Air Museum
7000 Merrill Avenue #17
Chino, CA 91710-9084

Brian Boyer
Phone: (909) 597-3722
Fax: (909) 597-4755

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