North American F-86A “Sabre”

Our Aircraft’s History

North American F-86A-5-NA (S/N 48-263; MSN #43610) ~ The Sabre, sometimes called the Sabrejet, was America’s first swept-wing fighter. She was needed during the Korean War to counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15. The US Navy and US Marine versions were the FJ-2/-3 “Fury”.

This Sabre was built at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California and delivered to the US Air Force on August 9, 1949. The F-86 had her first assignment with the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, (Continental Air Command), Langley Air Force Base (AFB), Virginia.  Here are her other travels, including the Korean War:

  • 1950 – 2757th Air Base Group (Air Material Command), Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1950 – 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing (CAC) Langley AFB, Virginia
  • 1950 – 336th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (CAC), Dover AFB, Delaware
  • 1950 – 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing (Far East Air Force) Johnson Air Base, Japan; additional deployments to Taegu AB, Suwon AB and Kimpo AB, Korea
  • 1952 – 6400th Air Depot Wing (FEAF), Kisarazu AB, Japan
  • 1952 – Returned to North American Aviation, Fresno, California
  • 1953 – Sacramento Air Material Area, McClelland AFB, California
  • 1953 – 15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (ADC), Davis-Monthan AFB,  Arizona
  • 1954 – 194th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Air National Guard (ANG), Haywood, California
  • 1954- 196th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, ANG, Ontario, California
  • 1957 – Transferred to the New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks, Connecticut 
  • 2004 – Transferred to the United States Air Force Museum, Dayton, Ohio

In the spring of 2014, April 2nd, MAPS Air Museum received on indefinite loan from the US Air Force Museum the F-86A Sabre and is now under heavy renovation with our Area 51 Crew (restricted Renovation building) under the guidance of Crew Chief Chet Starn.

Specifications/Performance (F-86F-40-NA)

  • Role: Fighter
  • Manufacturer: North American
  • First flight: October 1, 1947
  • Introduction: May 12, 1949 (USAF)
  • Retired: 1965 (US); 1994 (Bolivia)
  • Produced: 1949-1956
  • Built: 9,860
  • Unit cost: $219,457 (F-86E)
  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 37 ft 1 in
  • Wingspan: 37 ft
  • Height: 14 ft 1 in
  • Empty weight: 11,125 lb
  • Max takeoff weight: 18,152 lb
  • Engine: 1 x General Electric J47-GE-27 turbojet, 5,910 lbf
  • Max speed: 68 mph at sea level
  • Range: 1,525 mi
  • Combat radius: 414 mi
  • Service ceiling: 49,600 ft

Armament, notable

  • Guns: 6 x .50 in M3 Browing machine gun (1,800 rounds total)
  • Rockets: variety of launchers: example, 2 Matra pod with 18 SNEB 68 mm rockets per pod
  • Bombs: Up to 5,300 lb of payload or napalm canisters or tactical nuclear bomb

Museum display notes: to be determined

Designed to replace: North American P-51 “Mustang” and the stop-gap North American FJ-1 “Fury”

Replaced by: North American FJ-4 “Fury” (US Navy) & the North American F-100 Super Sabre (US Air Force)