The National Air and Space Museum, located in our nation's capitol, has one of the earliest F-86s in its prestigious collection. This Sabre, serial number 48-260, is an F-86A-5 painted as it appeared in December 1950 at the beginning of its combat career in Korea.
NASM's Sabre is fully restored and accessible to the public, but it is not in the museum in downtown Washington, DC. Instead it is located at the Paul E. Garber restoration facility on open public display while in storage, at the site where most of NASM's aircraft are restored. The Garber facility is located in Silver Hill, Maryland, southeast of the District. Tour information may be obtained by calling (202) 357-1400. NASM's beautiful Sabre is one of the finest restored F-86s available.
On March 14, 1990, William T. Hardaker of NASM's Archives Division prepared a background report on the history of 48-260. Excerpts from this Sabre's career are as follows:
"The museum's F-86A, serial number 48-260, was accepted by the U.S. Air Force on July 22,1949. After a short tour in the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group at langley Air Force Base, it was enroute with the 4th to Taegu Air Base, Korea, in December 1950, where the group was then attached to the Far East Air Force. During the next two years, it operated from Kimpo, Tsuikl, Kisarazu, Suwon and Johnson Air Bases still attached to the 4th and the 334th Squadron. Available records show that it returned to Conus in June 1952, and eventually was assi~~ed to the 116th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Air National Guard, Geiger Field, Washington on January 7, 1954. It was transferred to the 195th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Van Nuys Air National Guard Base, California, on November 8,1955. On December 6, 1955, it was transferred to the Pacific Airmotive Corporation, Chino, California, and remained there, presumably on bailment, until July 25, 1957 and then transferred back to the 195th having accumulated 1309 flight hours up to that time. After a short period in storage at the Arizona Aircraft Storage Facility, Davis-Monthan Air Force Isase, Arizona, it was transferred in December 1957 to the Boeing Aircraft Company, Seattle, Washington, where it remained on bailment until transfer to NASM from the USAF on January 25, 1962. It had accumulated a total of 1683:15 flying hours before its last flight to Andrews Air Force Isase on January 9, 1962. The aircraft is in natural metal finish and has droptanks installed. The museum's aircraft was restored by May 5,1975. It was to be representative of F-86 aircraft assigned to the 4th Fighter Interceptor ~uig when pressed into service during the opening days of the Korean War." This Korean War Sabre veteran may be viewed by contacting the Garber facility and scheduling a tour. _______ Today's Sabres C - - - - m~mim~ All photos by the editor. Mr. Hardaker's historical report courtesV ofFred Dieter, Archives Division, NASM
No portion of this article may be used or reprinted without permission from the President of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association or the editor of Sabre Jet Classics magazine.
Return to Classics Page