Aircraft Type: F-86H, S/N 53-1375, Sabre, North American
Number Built: The Air Force accepted 6,353 F-86s (all models included), 5,893 of them for its own use and 460 ordered into production for MDAP. A breakdown of the USAF F-86 total showed 3 experimental and prototype F-86As, 554 F-86As, 393 F-86Es, 1,959 F-86Fs, 2 YF-86 Hs, 473 F-86Hs, 2 YF-86Ds, and 2,540 F-86Ds (all F-86Ls being converted F-86Ds). The MDAP count was 60 F-86Es, 280 F-86Fs, and 120 F-86Ks.
Powerplant: One General Electric J73-GE-3E turbojet engine, 8,920 lbs. thrust
Weight: Empty 10,495 lbs., Loaded 16,357 lbs., Maximum takeoff weight 24,296 lbs.
Dimensions: Wingspan 39’1″, Length 38’10″, Height 15′.
Performance: Maximum speed 692 MPH, Cruising speed 527 MPH, Service ceiling 50,800 feet.
Significance of Type
The XF-86 made its first test flight on 1 October 1947. The first production model, the F-86A, was test flown in May 1948 and the Air Force received the Sabrejet on 16 August 1948. In September 1948, the F-86A set a world record of 570 miles per hour. In the fall of 1950, the communist forces in Korea introduced the Soviet made swept-wing MIG-15 FAGOT jet fighter. Straight-winged American jet fighters were far outmatched by the MIG-15. To meet this threat, the USAF rushed the F-86A to Korea. The 4th and 51st Fighter Groups successfully fought the MIGs, despite diplomatic restrictions which prevented continuing attacks across the Yalu River into Communist China where the MIG’s were based. Operating conditions were of the worst type; Korean winters being frigid and summers hot and dry. When it rained, the airfields turned into heavy mud. To add to these problems, logistic and maintenance support were frequently inadequate.
The MIG-15 was faster than the F-86A and the newer E-model above 32,000 feet in level flight, had a tighter turning radius, and could climb faster. However, the F-86 bested the MIG-15 primarily due to its electronic gun sight, better armament, and superior pilot skill.
About Our F-86H, S/N 53-1375 : This F-86 was accepted by the USAF on April 28, 1955 from the North American Aviation Factory, Port Columbus, Ohio. Below are the unit assignments of this aircraft:
May 9, 1955- To 3595th Combat Crew Training Wing, Nellis AFB, Nevada
October 14, 1957- To 104th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Baltimore, Maryland (unit changed later to 104th Tactical Fighter Squadron)
May 11, 1970- Dropped from inventory by transfer to the Strategic Air & Space Museum