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North American F-86 Sabre
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I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
in the...
North American F-86 Sabre
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)

Click the button for MiG-Mad Marine.

The F-86, the USAF's first swept-wing jet fighter, made its initial flight on October 1, 1947. The first production model flew on May 20, 1948, and on September 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 U.S. and Canada. The airplane was also used by the air forces of 20 other nations, including West Germany, Japan, Spain, Britain, and Australia.

The F-86A on display was flown to the USAF Museum in 1961. It is marked as the 4th Fighter Group F-86A flown by Lt. Col. Bruce Hinton on Dec. 17, 1950 when he became the first pilot to shoot down a MiG. (The ol'Kunnel was 19 years of age on that date; and, considered this an adequate birthday gift.)

Span: 37 ft. 1 in.
Length: 37 ft. 6 in.
Height: 14 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 13,791 lbs. loaded
Armament: six .50-cal. machine guns and eight 5 in. rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs
Engine: General Electric J47 of 5,200 lbs. thrust
Cost: $178,000

Maximum speed: 685 mph.
Cruising speed: 540 mph.
Range: 1,200 miles
Service Ceiling: 49,000 ft.

Message: My father-in-law, Col. Hugh Schmitt (ret.), was the last to fly a Sabre for the U.S.A.F. Literally, flew the last one to be decommissioned, on it's last flight. They made a cast of her pedal and stick, and when she was melted, they made him bookends out of some of the aluminum. I've tried to find anything in print about the last flight; however, I've come up empty. Does anyone know where I might find info on this subject?

--Please contact the Ol'Kunnel if you can help.

15:21 8/8/2008
January 3rd 2004
04:12:23 PM
What is your name?
 gene miller
How did you find this Web Site?
 looking for old F-86 sabre jet aircraft
Where are you from?
Do you have any comments?
 Looking for locations of F-86s used in Korean War 1950-1953
12:24 7/18/2004

During the Korean War, the soviet-built MiG-15 posed a serious threat, but the US Air Force countered with its own swept-wing jet fighter, the F-86, shown here. The Sabres arrived in Korea in December 1950, (the same month and year the Old Kunnel joined the Air Force) about six months into the war. Their first pilots in Korea were World War II veterans, many of them aces. This F-86 on display at the USAF Museum bears markings identical to the Sabre flown by Lt. Col. Bruce H. Hilton, who shot down a MiG-15 on December 17, 1950. (December 17, 1903 will be remembered as the birth date of powered flight. December 17, 1931 is often remembered as the birth date of the Old Kunnel. Colonel Hinton and the Old Kunnel had a nice birthday present in 1950. (grin) It was the first MiG kill for the F-86. By the end of the Korean War, the Sabre had racked up a 10-to-one kill ratio.

--AIR FORCE Magazine/November 2002 with asides by the Old Kunnel himself.

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The banner behind the Sabre displayed above reminds the Ol'Kunnel of the following Oscar Brandt lyrics. The playable background music applies to these lyrics...

"Itazuke Tower, this is Air Force 801,
I'm turning on the downwind leg, my prop has overrun;
My coolant's over heated, the gauge says 1-2-1,
You'd better get the crash crew out and get them on the run."

"Listen, Air Force 801, this is Itazuke Tower,
I cannot call the crash crew out, this is their coffee hour!
You're not cleared in the pattern, now that is plain to see,
So take it once around again, you're not a VIP."

"Itazuke Tower, this is Air Force 801,
I'm turning on my final, I'm running on one lung,
I'm gonna land this Mustang no matter what you say,
I'm gonna get my charts squared up before that Judgment Day."

"Now listen Air Force 801, this is Itazuke Tower,
We'd like to let you in right now, but we haven't got the power,
We'll send a note through channels and wait for the reply,
Until we get permission back, just chase around the sky."

"Itazuke Tower, this is Air force 801,
I'm up in Pilot's Heaven and my flying days are done;
I'm sorry that I blew up, I couldn't make the grade,
I guess I should have waited till the landing was okayed."

Background Music is "The Walbash Cannonball."

Notice: A recent communication to the Ol'Kunnel concerning this outstanding jet fighter:

    I appreciate your web page on the F-86. Thanks. This may sound like a strange request, but I'll make it brief. I am searching for owners of actively flying F-86's (name and contact information). Why? Well, my father is a retired fighter pilot (retired as a 2 star after 34 years in the USAF and 4500 flight hours). The F-86 is one of the many planes he flew (along with the T-33, F-105, F-4, and F-16).

    My father is 66 years old now and "not getting any younger". He will one day be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. I could think of no greater honor for my father than a fly-by of a wonderful jet like the F-86 on that day. The plane does not have to be a F-86, but I would prefer to find a legendary jet. At this point, I am researching my options far in advance of that day. Such an event would be a wonderful tribute, but not something I can plan at the last moment.

    If you would have any information or advice that may help me, I would certainly appreciate the help. Thank you in advance for your help.

Best Regards,

The Ol'Kunnel comments:

    Your's is an admirable intention, my friend. I sincerely hope you achieve your quest. Perhaps other readers of this notice will be able to offer additional help. Meanwhile, here is a link that might get you on your way quickly...
F-86 Sabre Pilots Association. These contemporaries of your father should have some tabs on how many Sabre's are still in the air today.

Cordially, Bob Clarke aka the Ol'Kunnel....

    On January 31, 2002, retired Colonel Francis S. "Gabby" Gabreski died of an apparent heart attack at Huntington Hospital on Long Island, New York. He was 83.

During World War II, he flew 166 missions, totaling 500 hours, mostly in P-47 Thunderbolts, shooting down 31 German planes in the air and destroying 2 and 1/2 on the ground. He was shot down by the Germans July 20, 1944 and was a POW until May 1945 when the war ended. In Korea he flew F-86 Sabrejets, destroying 6 and 1/2 Communist planes in the air. Until his death, Gabreski was the top ranking living USAF ace of all wars.
World Airpower Photo
Since you are honoring one of real Heroes of WW II and Korea I think may be you will like this photo. I also have a cut out of the F100F that was his personnel acft when he was Commander of the 354 TFW Myrtle Beach SC. I am looking for and F86 with the 51 FW markings but have not found one yet.

-- A multitude of thanks to Larry Breitbarth.
Aircraft Locator For The North American F-86 Sabre
Check for any reunion notices here!
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