Air & Space Airshow Spotter's Guide
You know how to tell a Viper from a Hornet, but does your airshow-newbie friend? Here are recognition tips, bite-size histories, specs and info links for the airplanes most likely to appear at airshows this year.
- By airspacemag.com
- AirSpaceMag.com, April 01, 2012
Illustrations by Harry Whitver
How to recognize: Scoop nose with a pronounced beak on the upper edge of the intake, swept wings and tailplanes, round fuselage, and a large curved and frameless glass cockpit.
Claim to fame at airshows: F-86s often fly in formation with warbids of all eras in U.S. Air Force Heritage Flights.
Claim to fame in service: By the end of the Korean conflict, the Sabre was credited with downing 792 MiGs while losing only 76 of its own type, a victory ratio of 10 to 1. Though the Mikoyan-Gurevic (MiG-15) held cannons while the Sabre was armed with machine guns, the tactical training of USAF pilots, many of whom were hardened in World War II on earlier types of aircraft, helped them soar above the Chinese and North Korean enemy.
Mission: The F-86 was the first swept-wing jet fighter of the USAF and first flew on October 1, 1947, destined to become a day-fighter. With later improvements and variations, the Sabre became an all-weather intercept and then a fighter-bomber.
Performance and specifications: Weighing up to 13, 791 pounds fully armed and loaded, the Sabre could reach 685 mph and a combat ceiling of 49,000 ft. Its six .50-caliber machine guns and eight five-inch rockets served as a calling card for its load of 2,000 pound of bombs.
Main variants: More than 5,500 variants of the Sabre were built for 20 nations beginning with the XF-86 prototype through the model H, with the TF-86F trainer offering two seats. First flight of the production F-86A was in May of 1948, and that September 15 a world speed record of 670.9 mph was set with the model. Its all-weather interceptor variant was the model D, and its most common version the F with 2,500 copies.
AF Fact Sheet