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Today In History: F-86D

Wed Nov 20, 2002 2:54 am

Have never posted to military as that is not usually my "flightbag" but found this interesting. Exactly 50 years ago today (11-19-52) the world's speed record was achieved by the North American F-86D "Sabre" jet (Sabrejet, as we kids used to run it all together) at Salton Sea, Calif. It achieved that day a speed of 698.5 m.p.h.

Clear and Patriotic Skies to ALL, ---JaO
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RE: Today In History: F-86D

Wed Nov 20, 2002 4:22 am


Although Portugal never had the "big nose" Sabre, we actually flew the F-86F Sabre from 1958 until 1978, beeing the last NATO nation to fly this classic. At that time it was quite a shame Portugal had that plane flying as an Air Superiority fighter, but at that time Portugal was in a very poor shape economically. After the Sabre was retired Portugal accepted an offer from USA to get 6 Northrop T-38A Talons as a possible bridge to receive latter the F-5E Tiger II, in the end Portugal instead got the A7P Corsair II and use it in the role of our good old Sabre, can you imagine a A7 flying as a fighter, it was like riding a camel!!! But things got better when in 1994 we got our brand new F-16A Fighting Falcons, so from 1978 until 1994 we had our "missing link" in our fighter saga. Now we're ok!
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
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RE: Today In History: F-86D

Wed Nov 20, 2002 10:24 am

check out the newest Air Force Times, there is a good article in the back about the ADF F-86D and the rocket pods that came out the underside and it has some good pics.

Ciao and Hook 'em Horns,

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RE: Today In History: F-86D

Thu Nov 21, 2002 6:16 am

A few notes on the F-86D. It was equipped with an afterburner and because of the A/B, the room taken up by the rocket pack, and the need for additional electronics for the A/I Radar system, the airplane only had a normal endurance, with external tanks, of about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Most flights, except record attempts, were flown with external tanks.
There were two other versions of this configuration of the F-86; the F-86K and the F-86L.
The F-86K was built by Fiat of Italy and substituted 4 20 mm cannon for the rocket pack. If you look at the Fiat G-91, you can see a strong family resemblence with the F-86K. The F-86L's were all modified F-86D's with additional electronics allowing the airplane to be controlled from a ground station in the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) Air Defense System. Most F-86L's were flown by Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve Units; the one's I saw flying were operated by the New Hampshire ANG in 1957/58 from Grenier AFB, which is now the Manchester, NH regional airport.
Also flying from Grenier, at that time, were C-119's of the AF Reserve and airline service was provided by Northeast Airlines using DC-3's.
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RE: Today In History: F-86D

Thu Nov 21, 2002 9:01 am

I remember the F-86Ds blasting out of Westover AFB in the evening at this time of year. Big ole' flame coming from the 'burner. After seeing Movietone clips of them launching their 24 Mighty-Mouse rockets into the sky, with several invariably going astray, I used to wonder just how effective the aircraft really was. But like they say, one hit with one of those 2.75-inchers was a kill.

While operating F-86Ds, the 37th FIS at Burlington, VT had an experience that was widely misreported as "FIGHTER SHOOTS ITSELF DOWN!" Years later, I read the true story in "The First Line", a great book on USAF interceptors of that era by Bill Green. It seemed that the Underhill Range in Vermont had been set up with a target on the ground so the Sabre Dog boys could go into a shallow dive and fire their rockets (There was nowhere else east of the Mississippi where they could do this, except perhaps for Eglin or Tyndall). Early in the Underhill program this guy fired on the ground target but the rocket tray was still in the retracted position! One or two of the rockets blasted into the lower nose section of the aircraft directly out of the retracted tray, and the pilot make a quick ejection-and lived to tell about it.

With that Pluto nose the F-86D was easy to laugh at. Still, there were many, many squadrons that equipped successfully with the type. Perhaps most importantly, it was a single-seat all-weather interceptor of acceptable reliability, and as such, it was years ahead of its time.

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