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5320 North American F-86F-35-NA Sabre c/n 191-964 - Portuguese Air Force Esq 51 - Sintra Air Base in Portugal - 12 September 2010 North American F-86A Sabre

The North American F-86 Sabre is a single-seat day-fighter aircraft and the first swept-wing airplane in the U.S. fighter inventory. North American Aviation Corp started in 1944 with the development of the straight winged XFJ-1 Fury their first jet fighter designated for the U.S. Navy. When the U.S. Air Force asked for a day fighter that could reach 600 mph and could also be used as a dive-bomber or escort fighter, North American redesigned the Fury. In 1945, the design initially named NA-140, passed the proposition stage. The problem, however, was that the NA-140 was to slow. After World War II the North American engineers could study a Me-262 that had slats and swept wings. Research in the aerodynamic design of the NA-140 resulted in the prototype XP-86 with introducing slats and swept back wings. The first of three XP-86 prototypes flew on 1 October 1947, powered by General Electric J-35 engine. The NA-151 production model used the more powerful General Electric J-47 turbojet and flew first on 20 May 1948. In June 1948, the model was renamed the F-86A, after the U.S.A.F used Fighter instead of Pursuit. On 15 September 1948, an F-86A set a new world speed record of 670.9 mph. By the time the new fighter entered US Air Force service in 1949, it was known as the "Sabre." or Sabrejet. 554 F-86A planes were manufactured. When production of the Sabre with the latest model F-86K terminated in 1958 a total of over 9500 of all models were constructed, including licence production in Australia, Canada and Italy. In addition, 300 F-86F Sabres were assembled in Japan by Mitsubishi in 1956-1961.

On 12 September 2010, the Portuguese Air Force North American F-86F Sabre "5230" in the colors of Esq 51 "Falcões", was seen on display at the grounds of the Museo do Ar (air museum) at Base Aérea nº1 Sintra in Portugal during Aeronostalgia 2010. The 1952-built North American F-86F-35-NA Sabre entered service as 52-5268 with the U.S. Air Force 531st FBS (21st FBW). On 11 September 1958, the 52-5268 was decommissioned by the USAF and transferred to the Portuguese Air Force in January 1959. In service with the FAP - Portuguese Air Force, the North American F-86F Sabre was operated as "5230" with 51 ESQ at Base Aérea nº5 Monte Real. In 1978, Esquadra 51 was redesignated as Esquadra 201, as before based at Monte Real AFB. On 28 September 1981, the North American F-86F Sabre "5230" was withdrawn from service. The aircraft was stored at Museo do Ar's storage facility next to OGMA works at Alverca, Portugal, for use as a 'trade' for possible future exhibits. After many years in storage, the aircraft was preserved in the colors of Esq 51 "Falcões" (fin, nose-band and wing-tips painted blue) at Monte Real AB Museum. In 2010, the aircraft was added to the collection of Museo do Ar at Base Aérea nº1 Sintra. Today, the aircraft is in splendid condition on display in the exhibition hall of the museum

page last updated: 30-03-2015
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands
 

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