F-86 Sabre

North American XF-86

North American XF-86 (S/N 45-59597, the first one built). Credit: US Air Force

The F-86 Sabre was the United States Air Force's first swept-wing jet fighter; the F-86 made its initial flight on 1 October 1947. The first production model flew on 20 May 1948, and on 15 September 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.


wing span 37 ft 1 in
length 37 ft 6 in
height 14 ft 8 in
weight 13,791 lb (loaded)
speed maximum: 685 mph
cruise: 540 mph
ceiling 49,000 ft (combat)
power plant one General Electric J47
turbojet of 5,200 l. thrust
crew one
contractor North American