|Description (photo as of 24 September 2003)|
|Wingarea:||313.40 Sq Ft||29.11 Sq M|
|Empty Weight:||10890 lbs|
|Max Weight:||20,375 lbs|
|No. of Engines:||1|
|Powerplant:||General Electric J47-GE-27 turbojet|
|Thrust (each):||5,970 lb|
|Max Speed:||695 mph. at 36,000 ft|
As can be seen in the photograph above taken on 17 March 2002, the museum's F-86L is undergoing restoration. The removal of old layers of paint down to bare metal and application of grey primer has been completed at this point.
Description: F-86 is a single-engine jet fighter. The fuselage is round with a teardrop canopy and a round air intake in the slanted nose. Narrow tail fin is swept with a small dorsal fin. Low-set wings are swept. Tailplane is also swept. Landing gear with nose wheel is retractable. First XF-86 prototype was flown on October 1, 1947. The aircraft went in production in 1948 and saw action against MiG's in Korea. A number of modifications of F-86 were built, including: F-86A - first production version, set the world speed record of 1073.569 km/h (equals Mach 0.87); F-86D - all-weather fighter, first flown on December 22, 1949, 2504 built; F-86E - improved F-86A, 456 built; F-86F - fighter/bomber, improved F-86E, first flown on March 19, 1952, 1794 built, 300 F-86F-40 built in Japan by Mitsubishi; F-86H - significantly improved version, 475 built; F-86K - improved F-86D, first flown on July 15, 1954, 341 built; F-86L - all-weather fighter with new avionics, 981 built (some F-86D converted as well); RF-86F - reconnaisance aircraft; TF-86F - two seat trainer, never went in production. In addition, a large number of licensed F-86 were built in Australia (as CL-27) and Canada (as CL-13). Several F-86K were sold to France, Germany, and Italy. 1115 F-86 were built for US Navy. The aircraft became known as "Fury" (FJ-2, FJ-3, FJ-4, and FJ-4B).
Produced in greater quantities than any other aircraft since the end of World War II, the F86 Sabre was the pride of the US Air Force during the Korean War, and the front line interceptor in most NATO and SEATO countries during the 1950's. The Sabre was the swept wing version of the Navy's FJ-1 Fury. The Sabre was the first aircraft to employ radar in head on targeting, carry all rocket armament, carry one pilot for flying and radar control, and have electronic engine fuel control. The Sabre jet was very popular with pilots of all countries and quickly gained a reputation in the skies over Korea. Sabres shot down 814 enemy aircraft during the Korean War with a loss of only 58 Sabre jets.
The F-86L was the designation given to late-1950s conversions of existing USAF F-86Ds to use the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) datalink system.
The SAGE system was developed during the early 1950s by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory. It was based on the use of a large, high-speed ground-based computer to handle and coordinate air surveillance data from various ground radar installations. This information was transmitted in real-time to a special data receiver aboard the interceptor, and an on-board system converted this data into heading, speed, altitude, target bearing, and range information that would be used to guide the pilot in his interception. No voice instructions were used, and the interceptor was automatically positioned for a lead-collision attack with its own E-4 fire control system.
In the mid 1950s, it was decided to adapt the F-86D to the new SAGE system, and in 1956, 2192 conversion kits were ordered for the F-86Ds of the Air Defense Command (ADC). Under a project code-named Project Follow-On, starting in May of 1956, certain low-time F-86D interceptors were withdrawn one-by-one from service and fitted with the upgrade. This work was done at North American plants in Fresno and Inglewood, California. Following the upgrade, they were redesignated F-86L. All F-86L block designations were changed to reflect their original F-86D block numbers. The F-86D-10 to F-86D-45 became F-86L-11 to F-86L-46, but blocks 50, 55, and 60 just changed the type from D to L, that is, the F-86D-50 became F-86L-50.
When F-86Ds were upgraded to the F-86L configuration, an AN/ARR-39 datalink receiver was fitted, which had a blade-like antenna sticking out of the fuselage just forward of and below the starboard wing. The AN/ARC-27 command radio of the F-86D was replaced by an AN/ARC-34 set. An AN/APX-25 identification radar was added, and a new AN/ARN-31 glide slope receiver was provided.
All Follow-On aircraft were brought up to F-86D-45 standards before starting with the electronics upgrades, including the installation of the drag chute in the tail. In the F-86L, two protruding cooling air intakes were added to the fuselage sides just aft of the wing, replacing the older recessed cooling ducts. The same J47-GE-33 or J47-GE-17B engine of the F-86D was retained, but the F-86L was fitted with the F-86F-40 wing, with twelve-inch wingtip extensions and "6-3" leading edge extensions with slats. The wingspan and wing area were 39.1 feet and 313.37 square feet respectively. The new wing improved the handing ability and provided better turning at high altitudes. The reconditioned F-86Ls retained the armament of twenty-four rockets of the F-86D.
The first flight took place on December 27, 1955. That particular aircraft had just the SAGE equipment installed, and the first conversion incorporating all of the Follow-On changes did not fly until May of 1956. A total of 981 F-86Ds were modified to the F-86L configuration. After conversion in 1956-57, F-86Ls were issued to most of the ADC wings that were using the F-86D. First to receive the F-86L was the 317th FIS at McChord AFB, which first received the planes in late November of 1956. The service of the F-86L with the ADC was destined to be quite brief, since by the time the last F-86L conversion was delivered, the type was already being phased out in favor of the Convair F-102A and F-106A delta-winged interceptors. The last F-86Ls left ADC service by 1960.
As F-102A and F-106A interceptors became available to the ADC, the F-86Ls were transferred to Air National Guard units beginning in late 1957. The first ANG squadron to receive the F-86L was the 108th, based at O'Hare Field in Chicago. The following ANG squadrons got F-86Ls: 108, 111, 124, 127, 128, 133, 146, 147, 151, 156, 157, 158, 159, 173, 181, 182, 185, 187, 190, 191, 192, 194, 197, and 199.
It should be noted that F-86L aircraft were also assigned to the 196th FIS, which was an integral part of Air Defense Command. The 196th FIS was based at Ontario ANGB, and the successor unit is the Guard refueling unit currently based at March Field. (Source: Ray V. Miller).
During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, six ANG F-86L squadrons were on alert. The last F-86Ls were withdrawn from ANG service during the summer of 1965.
The dates and specific history of the museum's F-86L , serial number 50-0560, are as follows:
- It was delivered to the Air Force in Dec 1952.
- In 1957, it was converted from a D model to an L model and assigned to Moody AFB.
- In 1960 it came to Norton AFB and retired in 1960.
- In 1996 the museum volunteers salvaged it from a San Bernardino County park in Oro Grande, CA. (a few miles northwest of Victorville). All the costs involved were donated by longtime museum volunteer Mike Alex.