The North American F-86 Sabre was the first operational Allied swept-wing transonic jet fighter of the post-war era and the first routinely capable of supersonic flight (albeit in a dive). It was flown with distinction by the USAF in the Korean War where it was pitted against the Soviet MiG-15.
The prototype F-86 first flew on 1 October 1947 and production versions of the type saw extensive frontline service! as both a fighter-interceptor and fighter-bomber, primarily with the USAF. By the late 1950s the F-86 had been outclassed by the newer generation of high-performance jet fighters, although it proved adaptable and continued as a front-line fighter in air forces until the last active examples were retired by the Bolivian Air Force in 1993.
Centrepiece of this manual is Golden Apple Operations’ F-86A Sabre, 48-178, the sole-surviving airworthy example of the first production ‘A’ model, as well as being the world’s oldest flying jet-powered aircraft.
Author and pilot Mark Linney describes the F-86’s development and combat record, and tells the incredible story of how F-86A, 48-178, was rescued from a scrapyard and painstakingly restored to flying condition. There are also full descriptions of the F-86A’s anatomy and systems, as well as personal insights into flying and maintaining this legendary aircraft. Having flown the F-86 and the MiG-15 himself, Mark is in the unique position of being able to include his own assessment of the two aircraft.
Mark Linney was an RAF pilot for 15 years flying the Tornado GR1 and Harrier GRZ. He was also a QFI on the Hawk with the RAF Central Flying School, and was the RAF’s Hawk display pilot in 1990. Mark left the RAF in 1996 to embark on a further career in commercial aviation and has since flown the Boeing 757, 747 Classic and 747-400. He is currently a Captain on the Airbus A340-300/600. As an air display pilot Mark has flown the de Havilland Chipmunk, Boeing Stearman, Hawker Hunter, BAe Strikemaster, Aero L-39, Lockheed T-33, MiG-15 and, of course, the North American F-86A Sabre. Mark is Chief Pilot of Golden Apple Operations Ltd, based in the United Kingdom at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.