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North American F-86F-30-NA "Sabre"
Engine: One General Electric J47-GE-27 turbojet; 5,910 lbs thrust
Wingspan: 39 ft 1 1/2 in
Length: 37 ft 6 1/2 in
Height: 14 ft 9 in
Weight: 11,125 lbs. empty; 15,198 lbs loaded
Speed: max: 678 mph
Range: 926 miles
Service Ceiling: 48,000 ft
Armament: Six .50 caliber machine guns; 2,000 lbs of assorted underwing ordnance
The F-86F was basically a more powerful version of the F-86E, powered by a General Electric J47 turbojet of 5,910 pounds thrust. A contract was approved for 109 F models on April 11, 1951 and was increased to 360 aircraft by June. North American planned to build the F model in a leased facility in Columbus, Ohio, in order to accommodate the increased workload brought on by the Korean War.
By the time the Ohio production line opened, the order was up to 441 aircraft, so the North American factory in California began to produce F models as well. Over its production run, several block improvements were made to the F model, including flat armored windscreens, increased drop tank capacity, a new gunsight, revised flight control systems, increased wing area, provision for nuclear ordnance, and improved fighter-bomber capabilities.
These new capabilities -- especially the new, larger wing -- quickly boosted combat performance in Korea. The F-86F could now match the maximum speed of the MiG-15 all the way up to 47,000 feet, could turn inside the MiG, and could almost match the MiG's rate of climb. Between 8 May and May 31, 1953, F-86Fs with improved wings accounted for 56 MiG kills with only one loss.
On June 20, 1953 F-86F Sabres accounted for 16 aerial victories, the biggest one-day score of the war. The improved fighter-bomber version of the F-86F also proved highly suitable for air-to-ground work in Korea, and could easily take care of itself on the way home if jumped by enemy aircraft.
Following the Korean War, surplus F-86Fs were transferred to various American allies around the world through the Mutual Defense Assistance Program (MDAP). Foreign recipients included Taiwan, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, Belgium, Norway, Spain, South Korea, the Philippines, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Portugal, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Argentina, and Saudi Arabia.
This F-86F-30, S/N 52-4978, was manufactured by North American Aviation in Inglewood, California, and delivered to the Air Force on September 8, 1953. It was immediately assigned to the 1737th Ferrying Squadron of the Military Air Transport Service at Dover AFB, Delaware.
In January 1954 the aircraft was reassigned to the 3595th Flying Training Wing of Air Training Command (ATC) at Nellis AFB, Nevada. While with that unit it was briefly deployed to the 2750th Air Base Wing, Air Materiel Command, at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. In February 1955 it moved to the 3595th Combat Crew Training Wing (ATC) at Nellis. Then in December 1955 the plane went to the Sacramento Air Materiel Area at McClellan AFB, California.
In March 1956 this F-86 transferred to the 3525th Combat Crew Training Wing (ATC) at Williams AFB, Arizona. In July 1958 it went to the 4530th Combat Crew Training Wing, Tactical Air Command, still at Williams. That November it returned to the Sacramento Air Materiel Area and in May 1960 was sent to the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California. Finally, in October 1960 the plane was dropped from the active USAF inventory by transfer to the MDAP. It eventually became the property of the United States Air Force Museum System and in September 2004 was transferred to Hill Aerospace Museum.
The aircraft is currently undergoing restoration. It is painted to closely resemble the F-86 "Jolley Roger" (S/N 51-2834) flown by Captain Clifford Dale Jolley of the Utah Air National Guard during the Korean War. Jolley flew with the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, "The Chiefs", of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group from Kimpo in the summer of 1952. He is credited with seven aerial victories during the war.