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F86 Sabre

The F-86, the USAF's first swept-wing jet fighter, made its initial flight on October 1, 1947. The first production model flew on May 20, 1948, and on September 15, 1948, an F-86A set a new world speed record of 670.9 mph. Originally designed as a high-altitude day-fighter, it was subsequently redesigned into an all-weather interceptor (F-86D) and a fighter-bomber (F-86H).

As a day fighter, the airplane saw service in Korea in three successive series (F-86A, E, and F) where it engaged the Russian-built MiG-15. By the end of hostilities, it had shot down 792 MiGs at a loss of only 76 Sabres, a victory ratio of 10 to 1.

More than 5,500 Sabre day-fighters were built in the U.S. and Canada. The airplane was also used by the air forces of 20 other nations, including West Germany, Japan, Spain, Britain, and Australia.

The F-86A on display was flown to the USAF Museum in 1961. It is marked as the 4th Fighter Group F-86A flown by Lt. Col. Bruce Hinton on Dec. 17, 1950 when he became the first F-86 pilot to shoot down a MiG.

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  • Span: 37 ft. 1 in.
  • Length: 37 ft. 6 in.
  • Height: 14 ft. 8 in.
  • Weight: 13,791 lbs. loaded
  • Armament: six .50-cal. machine guns and eight 5 in. rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs
  • Engine: General Electric J-47 of 5,200 lbs. thrust
  • Cost: $178,000


  • Maximum speed: 685 mph.
  • Cruising speed: 540 mph.
  • Range: 1,200 miles
  • Service Ceiling: 49,000 ft.

In September 1948, a J47 powered an F-86A to a new world's speed record of 670.981 miles per hour. More than 30,000 engines of the basic J47 type were built before production ended in 1956. The engine was produced in at least 17 different series and was used to power such Air Force aircraft as the F-86, XF-91, B-36, B-45, B-47, and XB-51.


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Last Updated June 21st, 1999

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