SABRES IN MINATURE
by Tony Kameen
It has been 45 years since I built my first model airplane. Back in those days plastic kits were unheard of, and radio controlled models were only a dream! The radio controlled model era began for me in 1975 when I used a windfall tax refund to buy one of the first affordable radio control sets for $200.00. There were times over the next few years when I was sure I would never learn to fly radio controlled airplanes! I stayed with it though, and managed to climb high enough on the learning curve to at least bring my model home in one piece! Since then I have built more than 40 R/C models. I have even been fortunate enough to take 11 1st Place and 4 Best In Show trophies in 27 contest entries. A few of my models are in aviation museums around the area.
My latest model is an F-86F Sabre, and I'm about ready to test fly it. The F-86F spans 45" weighs about 8 pounds, and is powered by a one-half cubic inch model airplane engine that burns alcohol and castor oil! The engine drives a 5 inch diameter phenolic epoxy ducted fan at 24,000 rpm!! The thrust generated is seven pounds, enough to drive my F-86F through the air at well over 100 mph! All the flying controls work, i.e. ailerons, elevators, rudder, throttle, and flaps. Even the landing gear retracts after takeoff.
The Sabre is my fifth ducted fan R/C ship. In the past I have built a Heinkel HE-162 (one of the first German jets), a T2J Buckeye, an Israeli C-2 KFIR, and another F-86. My first F-86 was another F model trimmed in the colors of the 84th FIS out of Hamilton AFB in the mid-50s. That model logged over 100 flights before becoming the victim of a drainage pipe. The pipe was sticking up in the air about 3 feet - I was flying the Dabre at 2 feet 6 Inches! My new Sabre model uses the tall surfaces, engine, radio, and accessories from the original.
I am now retired after a 20 year career in the Air Force. I spent all my time flying the SD-4D, Steel Desk, type 4 Drawer. In 1962, while on first assignment with the 498th FIS, the Geiger Tigers, at Spokane international Airport, I met Colonel Vermont 'Garry' Garrison. At the time he was the air advisor to the Washington Air National Guard. It was a great pleasure for a brand new Second 'Balloon' to associate with someone with such a distinguished combat record. Col Garrison served with the Eagle Squadron and 4th FG during WW2, shooting down 7 1/3 German fighters before being shot down and becoming a POW. In Korea Col Garrison added 10 MiG-15s to his total, while serving again with the 4th But First.
When I started building my second Sabre model last year I thought of Colonel Garrison. I contacted him through the Retired Offlcers Affairs Office. He was very helpful in verifying data about his F-86 and correcting errors that had been made by historians through the years. The markings on my new Sabre are a tribute to the memory of the late Col Vermont Garrison.
This past Spring my Sabre was shown at the Toledo, Ohio Scale Model Aircraft Trade Show. The kits manufacturer asked if he could display my F-86F. My prior F-86 model won 2nd Place in the Sport Scale category at the International Modelers Show in 1987.
Now with 300 hours involved in the construction of the F-86F behind me, I hope to complete another hundred flights and three years of contest and fun-fly time with the new Sabre. It is great to fly Vermont Garrison's 'Ol 953' again - even if only in miniature.
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.
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