The World's Only Airworthy F-86A
by Mark Linney - Chief Pilot, Golden Apple Operations Ltd
The F-86 was the first operational allied swept-wing jet fighter and was also reputedly the first aeroplane to break the sound barrier when on 1 October 1947 (shortly before Captain Charles 'Chuck' Yeager's official sonic boom in the Bell X-I) North American test pilot George Welch exceeded Mach 1 during a test flight in the prototype, the XP-86.
As well as an axial-flow jet engine, swept-wings and a swept-tail other innovations included a highly ergonomic cockpit with outstanding visibility and powered flying controls.
The first production run was the 'A' model, one of which scored the first swept-wing victory over a MiG-15 during the Korean War. The type was continuously developed and went on to have a long and successful career: it was the first jet-powered fighter operated by many countries and remained in active front-line service until 1994. The Sabre was the most produced Western jet fighter and nearly 10,000 of the series were built.
This book focuses on 48-178, the only example of the original 'A' model variant that remains airworthy.