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North American F-86L-31-NA "Sabre"
Engine: One General Electric J47-GE-33 turbojet; 5,550 lbs thrust
Wingspan: 39 ft 1 in
Length: 40 ft 4 in
Height: 15 ft 0 in
Weight: 13,822 lbs. empty; 18,484 lbs loaded
Speed: max: 693 mph; cruise: 540 mph
Range: 1,200 miles
Service Ceiling: 49,600 ft
Armament: 24 2.75-inch "Mighty Mouse" unguided folding fin rockets
This F-86L-31-NA, S/N 51-6055, was originally built as an F-86D-30-NA by North American Aircraft in Inglewood, California, and delivered to the United States Air Force on July 23, 1953. The aircraft went immediately to the 432nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Air Defense Command at Truax AFB, Wisconsin.
In September 1954 it was transferred to the 456th FIS and then in August 1956 to the 325th FIS, both located at Truax AFB. Then in September 1956 it was delivered to the Sacramento Air Materiel Area at McClellan AFB, California, for modification to F-86L-31 configuration. By April 1957 the modification was complete.
The following month the plane was delivered to the 3625th Combat Crew Training Wing of the Air Training Command at Tyndall AFB, Florida. In June 1957 it went to the 3555th CCTW at Perrin AFB, Texas, and in October 1961 it went to the 123rd FIS of the Oregon Air National Guard in Portland. In November 1961 the plane was dropped from the USAF inventory. It was eventually placed on a display pedestal at the municipal airport in Albany, Oregon, where it remained for over two decades.
By 1983 the aircraft had fallen into serious disrepair and the Air Force decided to recover the plane before it was totally destroyed. The Hill AFB Heritage Program and the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah learned of the plane's availability and offered to coordinate the recovery operation in exchange for receiving the plane for permanent static display. The USAF Museum System agreed to the arrangement and in December 1983 a team was dispatched from Hill to remove the old F-86 from its display pedestal and truck it back to the base for restoration.
The plane was painted to resemble the F-86 aircraft of the 431st Fighter Interceptor Squadron while stationed at Wheelus Field in Tripoli, Libya, during 1955-1957, although this aircraft was never actually assigned to that particular squadron.