The F-86, the USAF's first swept-wing jet fighter, made its initial flight on Oct. 1, 1947. The first production model flew on May 20, 1948, and on Sept. 15, 1948, an F-86A set a new world speed record of 670.9 mph. Originally designed as a high-altitude day-fighter, it was subsequently redesigned into an all-weather interceptor (F-86D) and a fighter-bomber (F-86H).
As a day fighter, the airplane saw service in Korea in three successive series (F-86A, E and F), where it engaged the Russian-built MiG-15. By the end of hostilities, it had shot down 792 MiGs at a loss of only 76 Sabres, a victory ratio of 10 to 1.
More than 5,500 Sabre day-fighters were built in the United States and Canada. The airplane was also used by the air forces of 20 other nations, including West Germany, Japan, Spain, Britain and Australia.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force has an F-86A on display.
TECHNICAL NOTES (F-86A): Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns and eight 5-in. rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs Engine: One General Electric J47 turbojet of 5,200 lbs. thrust Maximum speed: 685 mph Cruising speed: 540 mph Range: 1,200 miles Combat ceiling: 49,000 ft. Span: 37 ft. 1 in. Length: 37 ft. 6 in. Height: 14 ft. 8 in. Weight: 13,791 lbs. loaded Crew: One