The F-86 Sabre

F-86 SabreThe F-86 sabre, built by North American over half a century ago, without any exaggeration, is the most famous American jet aircraft of the last century. Widespread fame brought him not only the Korean war, which began his fighting career, but also huge volumes of serial production, only built more than 7000 pieces. The last flying F-86 was withdrawn from service in 1993, setting a record in flight longevity, and several fighters who are in private collections, fly so far.


The history of the F-86 began in the fall of 1944 year of the project NA-134 firms North American, which was intended for carrier-based aircraft fleet. The sailors wanted to get their hands on several types of fighter jets. They had to seize air superiority during the invasion of Japan, scheduled for may 1946. Aircraft NA-134 had a straight low wing and short barrel-shaped fuselage. Turbojet TG-180 with a thrust of 1820 kg provided the fighter ground 6532 kg maximum flight speed 872 km/h. in addition, “134th” had a rate of climb above sea level is 23.8 m/s, and its service ceiling reached 14 500 m. With these characteristics the machine has become a very formidable opponent for the Japanese planes. Even one of the best American fighters of the time – the P-51D Mustang was inferior to her in all ways. The maximum speed of the Mustang was 703 km/h, the ceiling was slightly more than 12 700 m, and the rate of climb of this piston machine barely reached up to 18 m/S. in the Spring of 1945 year the Navy ordered 100 serial jet aircraft NA-134, under the designation FJ-1 Fury.
Almost simultaneously with the beginning of the design NA-134, the air force issued requirements for a day fighter that could be used as an escort fighter or dive bomber. The requirements stated that it needs to develop a speed of not less than 965 km/h. This value was determined from the desire to surpass similar indicators of aircraft P-80 and XP-84, where the speed was and 898 945 km/h, respectively, and close to the world record of the time – 975,67 km/h British fighter Meteor.
Firm North American almost immediately suggested the military draft NA-140 with the desired characteristics. Really, it was a fighter XFJ-1, with some modifications. In a Memorandum filed November 22, 1944, stated that experts had reviewed 1265 of various schemes and based on this analysis, the engineers managed to achieve the desired results. Under the impression of depth study of the issue, may 18, 1945, the air force ordered the firm three experimental model NA-140. The aircraft was assigned the designation XP-86. In a short time was completed the construction of the layout, which was approved on 20 June 1945.
F-86Е of the 25 squadron of the 51st wing fighter interceptors at the airstrip in Korea
F-86Е of the 25 squadron of the 51st wing fighter interceptors at the airstrip in Korea
The F-86 in flight
The F-86 in flight
The main differences between the NA-134-NA-140 was the shape of the fuselage, which received more elongated, and the profile of the wing. A few changed the shape of the frontal air intake. Tailplane moved to the new model without external changes. However, the project was distinguished by several features not previously used in American fighters: a sealed cabin, and the boosters in the control channels in pitch and roll. Regarding weapons, we can say that the designers paid great attention to accuracy. Six heavy machine guns M-3 with ammunition 267 rounds per gun was considered sufficient, but in the cab established a universal sight A-1B, which works in conjunction with a radar range finder AM/ARD-5. Under the wing can be suspended for eight rockets or grenade launchers.
Detailed design of the project put before the engineers lots of questions. Chief among them was the question of achieving a given speed. Despite the fact that by changing the profile of the wing and reducing its thickness relative to the chord managed to push the critical number M, the maximum speed of the XP-86 was estimated by the aerodynamics only 923,6 km/h at sea level and 936,4 km/h at an altitude of 3048 m Above project is under threat of closure.
At this time, the Americans are heavily involved in the collection of military-technical information in the territory of defeated Germany. Special teams, consisting of military and representatives of interested companies “combed” German factories, research organizations, and polygons. Aviation achievements he was engaged in scientific Advisory group of the U.S. army headed by the famous aerodynamicist Theodore von Pocket. All documents and equipment were exported to America. This helped Americans sympathetic to the Germans. Documentation received so many that simply do not have time to translate. Most important experts, for example, rocketeer Wernher von Braun, were taken directly to the United States. It is the group of Pockets found documents on the use of swept-wings to fight the effect of the compressibility of air and to increase the speed of promising aircraft. These securities were immediately used by several aviation firms. Among them were such authorities as Boeing, Vought, and of course – North American.
The results of these “discoveries” were not long to wait, and in August 1945 aerodynamicist Raymond rice (Raymond Rice) proposed to purge the model of the XP-86 with the new swept wing. Purge that began in September, showed a reduction in drag and increase in maximum flight speed. The problem with the stability of the aircraft at low speeds decided by the installation of slats. In October, the firm reported to the military about overcoming all difficulties and showed them a new plane. The first of November 1945, the air force approved the design and its wing sweep is 35° with a relative elongation 6. Additional studies on sustainability, held in early 1946, was made to reduce the latter figure to 4.97.
The transition to swept wing delayed the construction of the prototype XP-86. When the deck XFJ-1 took to the air, his “land brother” has not yet reached the stage of prototyping. Drawings of the new aircraft was sent to the factory in August 1946.
Just at this time began the trials of fighter Republic XP-84, which showed excellent speed performance, although he had the traditional right wing. 7 Sep XP-84 sets the speed record for the United States – 977,6 km/h. the air force showed great interest in the speedy construction of the aircraft XP-86 for comparison with a competitor, it was necessary to decide on the number of purchased planes and spend money on the worst cars no one wanted. Moreover, the Congress was not going to give a lot of money. The war is long over, the military program began to reduce, and to maintain aviation firms in a difficult time decided to buy all “a little bit”. Priority programs was considered only as carriers of nuclear weapons.
The F-86A:
1 – the trimmer of the rudder; 2 – rudder; 3 – movable part of the lamp in open position; 4 – visor lights; 5 – machine-gun ports; 6 – wheel front rack; 7 – shield niche cleaning front wheel; 8 – shield niche cleaning wheel main landing gear; 9 – NGO; 10 – speed brake; 11 – LDPE; 12 – landing and taxi lights; 13 – wing pylon; 14 – slat; 15 – Aileron; 16 – flap; 17 – stabilizer; 18 – the brake pads in the released position; 19 – bulletproof glass; 20 – a lamp in the closed position; 21 – pipe emergency drain fuel; 22 – wheel main landing gear; 23 – the access panel to the machine guns

On 20 December 1946 at the firm North American received an official letter with the order for 33 production aircraft. First fighter (with room 45-59507) rolled out of the Assembly shop of the plant in Inglewood (Inglewood) 8 Aug 1947. It was a turbojet engine J35-C-3 with a thrust of 1820 kg. Armament has not yet been set. After the test, the car was dismantled and transferred to the airbase Muroc (Muroc). There is already seven months have flown FJ-1. Now he looked more “grandpa” than “brother”, but the sailors from the tiny decks of aircraft carriers while you could only dream about airplanes with swept wings. The first carrier-based aircraft swept wing F7U was already drawn, but build it only after a year.
October 1, 1947, test pilot George Welch (George Welch) raised the XP-86 in the air. The flight was fine, until the time of landing. The front landing gear did not come out completely. Forty minutes later the pilot tried overloads to put the rack in the released position, but to no avail. The fuel was over, and Welch decided to put the faulty machine. From blow the main landing gear on runway bow front stood the castle, and the flight ended safely. In this flight fighter overclocked to 1046 km/h an Excellent overview of the teardrop-shaped canopy and low noise level left a favorable impression, but the engine thrust J35 did not allow to achieve the desired rate of climb. However, the designers were not worried about it, planning to use on production machines the new J47 engine with greater thrust.
October 16, 1947, the air force signed a contract for production of 33 aircraft f-86A and 190 – P-86V with the increased sizes of the tires of wheels for landing on unprepared airfields.
After the elimination of landing gear failure flight tests continued. During several high-speed dives Welch reported that faced with an unusual hesitation arrow pointer speed and altitude. Experts have suggested that the plane exceeded the speed of sound, but full confidence in this was not. The devices are not calculated for such a speed, and a special survey of land was conducted. After the famous supersonic flight of Chuck Yeager (Chuck Yeager) on the experimental plane X-1 rumors about this secret achievement got to test pilot the North American, and they persuaded people from NACA to follow the flight of the XP-86 with their equipment on the ground. 19 October 1947, five days after the flight the X-1, ground tracking station NACA reported that George Welch flying at a speed of M=1,02. Twenty-first day of the record-breaking flight of the XP-86 was able to repeat.
The restored F-86F in flight on one of the Airshow held in the United States
Restored the F-86F in flight on one of the Airshow held in the United States
In may 1948 the achievement of the XP-86 was made public. The official report said a record flight of George Welch on April 26, 1948, when he exceeded the speed of sound in a dive. Actually in the cockpit of the XP-86 was a British pilot inadvertently reported on an open radio channel speed of M=1. Indeed, the XP-86 could exceed the speed of sound in a dive, showing at high altitudes is quite satisfactory handling with a slight tendency to pitch up. However, at a height of 7620 m below the plane tried to move in rotation about the longitudinal axis and the speed had to be reduced. On production machines, for reasons of safety of flight, below this height the speed was limited to M=0,95.
On 30 November 1948 the prototype of the new fighter presented a command of the U.S. air force. Five months before that, the air force refused the letter “P” in the designation of the fighter by going to a new “F” thus, the military became acquainted with the machine of the XP-86.
In a short time in the program of flight tests joined the second and third prototypes (Nos. 45-59598 and 45-59599). They were distinguished by the presence of a warning system on the approximation of the breakdown, fully equipped with radio navigation systems and hydraulic actuators of the exhaust system of slats. On both machines was absent ventral air brake, replaced by two plates on each side of the fuselage. The third aircraft had a fully automatic slats, produced at speed 217,2 km/h and built-in small arms. Six large-caliber M3 machine guns with a rate of 1100 rounds per minute and ammunition for 300 rounds each were located in the sides of the forward fuselage. To improve the aerodynamics of the machine-gun ports were closed rectangular covers that automatically open after clicking the trigger. Aiming was done by gyro sight MK.18, with manual entry of corrections. Cartridge boxes were in the lower part of the fuselage, and the wing flap access to them were used by pilots as a footrest when entering the cabin. Under the wings could be suspended two fuel tank 938,7 l, a pair of bombs caliber 454 kg, or four unguided rockets HVAR.
These two prototypes to fly until the spring of 1953, and the first copy crashed in September 1952, with 241 hours flying.
The order for the production of 188 F-86A, the firm has received 23 February 1949. The fighter received the designation F-86A-5-NA. On machines of this series were installed on the engines J47-GE-7. Has made changes in the design of the aircraft. Changed the configuration of the armored windshield, has introduced minor changes in the discharged part of the lantern, abolished automatic cover machine-gun ports, set the heating compartment weapons. Under the wing secured two pylons with the possibility of a suspension on them bombs caliber up to 454 kg. and Provided the ability to install outboard fuel tank (PTB) capacity 779,7 L.
May 29, 1948, the firm was awarded a contract to supply an additional 333 F-86A. The aircraft received the new designation firm -NA-161, but in the air force, the designation was left unchanged – F-86A-5. For aircraft installed engine General Electric J47-GE-13 thrust 2360,8 kg For the fighter has developed a new PTB discharged capacity to 454.2 L. Starting with 282 machines F-86 had changed the rear edge of the wing. All NA-161 was completed with a new eye A-1B GBR, paired with a radar rangefinder AN/APG-5C, which replaced the outdated Sperry Mk.18 that was used during the war. The last 24 cars in this series were mounted sight A-1CM, combined with search radar AN/APG-30. Production aircraft began in October 1949 and was completed by December 1950.
Following continuous version of the fighter “sabre” was the modification of the F-86E. This version of the aircraft began on 15 November 1949. The fighter received the trade designation NA-170. The contract for construction of 111 new machines under the designation F-86E was made on 17 January 1950.
The F-86E was different all-moving stabilizer, in contrast to the adjustable stabilizer on the F-86A. New stabilizer has improved the controllability of the aircraft in pitch at transonic flight speeds. On the F-86A relining of a stabilizer were carried out by the actuator. On the F-86E mounted hydraulic turning system stabilizer and the power cylinder mechanism has a characteristic elongated closed convex cone.
In the spring of 1951 batch of the F-86E was delivered to Korea and transferred to the staffing divisions of the 4th fighter wing has suffered significant losses in clashes with “MiGs.” Just released 369 “sabres” modification of E.
The basic production version “Sabre” is a modification of the F-86F. The main difference of the aircraft from previous versions was the installation of a new engine J47-GE-27 power 2683,1 kg.
Designing a new aircraft on firm North American began on July 31, 1950. The notation of a company car held as the NA-172. Serial production of the aircraft was planned to start from October 1950, but the timelines have not been met due to delays with the supply of engines J47-GE-27. For this reason, the first 132 machine project NA-172 had to install a less powerful engine the GE-13. These fighters were designated F-86E-10, their production lasted from September 1951 to апрели952. From the previous variants of the F-86E-10 was distinguished by a flat armored windscreen which replaced the convex bulletproof glass, standing on the F-86A and F-86E modified wing and new eye A-4.
Pursuant to a separate signed contract, Assembly plant in California has produced 157 aircraft-carriers of nuclear weapons (NA-202). F-86F-35 this series was capable of carrying a nuclear bomb MK.12 ground 544,8 kg and a capacity of 12 -14 kt. The bomb was suspended under the left wing and under right wing, to balance, suspended fuel tank.
The aircraft was equipped with low-altitude bombing system, LABS (Low Altitude Bombing System) with the solver, allowing to carry out the bombing kupirovaniya or half loop. At that point we dropped the bomb was determined automatically. Just released 2239 “sabres” of the “F”modifications.
The F-86 was a all-metal, single, single-engine jet fighter with swept wings.
The fuselage – semi-monocoque. Structurally divided into two parts-the nose and tail. Technological connector allows quick disconnection of the fuselage to replace the engine or its components.
In the forward fuselage housed: engine intake bays of electronic equipment and weapons, pressurized cockpit, outside radio compartment, front and rear fuel tanks. The engine was fixed on the axles of the power frames of the forward fuselage. The air intake duct bent around the cockpit from below.
On the upper edge of the air intake, under a Radome, mounted radar antenna. On the lower edge of the inlet stood a camera kinofotodokumentov.
F-86 Sabre
In the equipment compartment, in front of the cockpit housed the battery units of the radar, the evaluator gun, a radio and oxygen cylinders.
For nose equipment compartment was pressurized cabin of the pilot, closed the lantern teardrop shape. The rear part of the lamp with the opening moves back. Ejection seat of the pilot, developed by North American, ensured the safe evacuation of the airplane at speeds over 170 km/h, in the altitude range from 100 meters up to a practical ceiling. Behind the pilot’s seat were the coil antenna of the radio compass and radio compartment. Was located below the front fuselage fuel tank. Behind him stood a second fuel tank. The total capacity of the tanks – 1644 liters. The right and left of the pilot in the cockpit is a compartment of weapons, closed the quick release panels.
Extension pipe of the engine passes through the entire tail of the aircraft. On top of the fuselage is installed the fin and stabilizer. On the right and left side tail mounted brake pads. On the left side of the tail section was removed, a drainage pipe of the fuel system.
Wing – two-spar, with a sweep on the front edge of -35° . The relative thickness of the wing at the root of the 11%, the root portion is 10%.
In the center section of the wing, in Milan-Gerona space, housed the wing fuel tank. Across the front edge of the wing housed a tiltable slat. At the trailing edge of the wing, from the outside, were the ailerons on the inside (closer to the fuselage) side of the standing flaps.
At the tip of the right wing was attached rod LDPE. Below the wing could be mounted pylons, on which you can hang external fuel tanks or bombs of various caliber.
Tail – single-fin, swept-back shape. The vertical tail consisted of a keel and rudder with trimmer. The horizontal tail consisted of the stabilizer and the Elevator. The stabilizer could be rotated in the range from +6° to – 10°. Control of all control surfaces – hard.
Flight performance of F-86
Flight performance of F-86
Chassis – tricycle. The front Desk was fixed on the first power of the frames of the fuselage. Her cleaning was carried out in a niche, located in the lower part of the fuselage. The wheel was rotated 90°. The main chassis was mounted below the wing. Cleaning was carried out in a niche of the wing. Brakes – air drum type. Cleaning and landing gear are carried out hydraulically. The emergency release can be run from the air system.
The power plant of the aircraft included jet engine J47-GE-13 General Electric company with traction 2359 kg and providing a system which includes: fuel, oil and fire system.
Armament consisted of six machine guns Colt-Browning M3 12.7 mm rate of fire 1100 rounds per minute. The ammunition consisted of 267 rounds for each gun. In addition, the two wing hardpoints can be suspended two bombs caliber up to 454 kg or four unguided rockets HVAR.
N. Food reserve was, A. CHECHIN

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