North American F-100D Super Sabre Developed as a follow-on to the F-86 Sabre used in the Korean War, the F-100 was the world's first production airplane capable of flying faster than the speed of sound in level flight (760 mph). The prototype -- the YF-100A -- made its first flight on May 25, 1953, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Of the 2,294 F-100s built before production ended in 1959, 1,274 were Ds, more than all the other series combined. The D model, which made its first flight on Jan. 24, 1956, was the most advanced production version. Its features included the first autopilot designed for a supersonic jet and a low-altitude bombing system. The Super Sabre had its combat debut in Vietnam where it was used extensively as a fighter-bomber in ground-support missions such as attacking bridges, road junctions and troop concentrations. The aircraft on display was used by the Thunderbirds, the official USAF Flight Demonstration Team, from 1964 until 1968. During that period, the team toured the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and nearly every state in the United States. This F-100D was retired from service with the 114th Tactical Fighter Group, South Dakota Air National Guard, in 1977. It was restored by Thunderbird maintenance personnel at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to its original appearance as a team aircraft. It was flown to the museum by the Air National Guard, and the Thunderbirds presented the aircraft to the museum on July 22, 1977. SPECIFICATIONS: Span: 38 ft. 10 in. Length: 54 ft. 2 in. Height: 16 ft. 2 in. Weight: 38,048 lbs. loaded Armament: Four M-39 20mm cannons, two GAM-83A Bulldog missiles, four GAR-8 sidewinder missiles, rockets, special stores and/or a maximum of 7040 lbs. of bombs. Engine: Pratt & Whitney J57-P-21 (or -P-21A) of 16,000 lbs. thrust with afterburner Cost: $704,000 PERFORMANCE: Maximum speed: 926.6 mph Cruising speed: 590 mph Range: 1,970 miles Service ceiling: 55,000 ft. Click here to return to the Cold War Gallery Click here to return to the Featured Accessions index.