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the North American F-86F Sabre "5230" was withdrawn from service.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.