Cincinnati Aviation Heritage Society & Museum

Preserving aviation's past for future generations.

F-86H 53-1528

Our plan has been to display the Lunken F-86 much like it is seen here.   The airplane would sit on special Concrete Supports in the ground in the form of an upside down T  (_I_). The support would have a U shaped cut-out at top in which the airplaneā€™s axels would rest keeping the tires just clear of the ground eliminating the worry of having flat tires on the airplane at times. The airplane is currently in need of a canopy which we have had no luck finding to date (2009)

F-86H 53-1528 AT Cincinnati Lunken Airport

The Lunken F-86 is as it presently exists.

On June 11, 1953 the USAF approved an additional contract (NA-203) for 300 F-86H-10-NHs. These differed from earlier F-86Hs primarily in having different electronic equipment and in having the J73-GE-3E engine. The first aircraft was delivered in January of 1955, and the last aircraft on the order was delivered in April of 1956. The last ten H-10s used the so-called "F-40" wing, with extended wingtips and slats on the extended leading edge, which improved low-speed handling. Eventually, all of the remaining H's in the USAF and ANG inventories were retrofitted with the "F-40" wing. 

This is North American F-86H-10-NH Sabre 53-1528 built in Columbus, OH. The tail number, 31528,  which makes it construction number 300 and the last F-86H ever built according to our research.

The F-86H models were 53-1229/53-1528 and c/n's were 203-1/203-300 for the series. This one served with the DC Air Guard.



Span: 37 feet 1 inch; Length: 38 feet 8 inches; Height: 15 feet


Swept back 35 degrees covering aluminum alloy tapered skins


General Electric J-73-GE-3 Thrust: 9000 pound class


April 30, 1953


Four 20 mm guns




Speed: Over 550 knots
Range: Over 1,000 nautical miles (1,200 statute miles)
Service ceiling: Over 45,000 feet


The F-86H is the fifth model of the F-86 series, incorporating the increased thrust of the GE J-73-GE-3 engine and providing structural and system improvements.


Special features include hydraulically operated speed brakes and controls, electrically operated flaps, a geared elevator, modified wing with stationary, extended leading edge and self-sufficient starting system. It also has a clamshell type cockpit canopy, a companion feature to the improved ejection-seat mechanism.


North American F-86H "Sabre"

The F-86, the U. S. Air Force's first swept-wing jet fighter, made its initial flight on October 1, 1947.  The first production model flew on May 20, 1948, and on September 15, 1948, an F-86A set a new world speed record of 670.9 mph.  Originally designed as a high-altitude day fighter, it was subsequently redesigned into an all-weather interceptor (F-86D) and a fighter bomber (F-86H).

As a day fighter, the airplane saw service in Korea in three successive series (F-86A, E, and F) where it engaged the Russian built MiG-15.  By the end of hostilities, it had shot down 792 MiGs at a loss of only 76 Sabres, a victory ratio of 10 to 1.

More than 5,500 Sabre day fighters were built in the U. S. and Canada.  The airplane was also used in the air forces of twenty other nations, including West Germany, Japan, Spain, Britain, and Australia.

Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC) had logistics management responsibility for the guns, communications, fire control and bombing-navigational equipment installed on F-86 aircraft.  From 1953 to 1958, under Project High Flight, more than 500 F-86s were processed through the WR-ALC maintenance shops to prepare them for ferrying across the Atlantic to U. S. Air Forces in Europe and our NATO allies.

The F-86 on display above was last flown by the 175th Tactical Fighter Group of the Maryland Air National Guard.  In 1970, it was retired as an instructional aid at Columbus Technical Institute, Columbus, Ohio, before being acquired by the USAF Museum for the Museum of Aviation in 1983.


  Wing Span:  35 feet, 11 inches

Length:  37 feet, 6 inches

Height:  14 feet, 8 inches

Weight:  13,791 lbs. loaded

Armament:  Six .50-caliber machine guns and eight 5-inch rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs

Engine:  One General Electric J47 engine with 5,200 lbs. of thrust

Cost:  $178,000


  Maximum speed:  685 mph

Cruising speed:  540 mph

Range:  1,200 miles

Service Ceiling:  49,000 feet

F-86 Stories found on the Internet

MY F-86H STORY - by David Cronin

I had the privilege of flying the F-86H for over eight years, and I accumulated over 1,000 hours in the aircraft. I flew with the New York Air National Guard from 1954 to 1961. In 1958, we transitioned from the F-94B to the F-86H. Our Sabres had M-39 20mm cannons which were aimed using the A-4 gun sight and APG-30 radar. In 1961, we lost our Sabres and were assigned the C-119. I then transferred to Westfield, Massachusetts where the F-86H was being flown by the Massachusetts Air Guard. These Sabres were equipped with .50 caliber guns end also used the A-4/APG30 fire control system.

In fall 1961, President Kennedy called our unit to active duty with the United States Air Force. We transferred to Phalsbourg, France in support of the 7th Army in Europe during the Berlin Crisis.

The Boston unit also was in our 102nd Wing as well as the Syracuse, New York unit. All three squadrons, with their 87 F-86Hs, staged out of Loring Air Force Base in Maine for our "High Flight" to Phalsbourg. We regrouped in Goose Bay, Labrador, then flew across the Davis Straits to Sondrestrom, Greenland, and then on to Keflavik, Iceland the next day. Then we flew to Prestwick, Scotland for the night. The next day it was across to England, finally arriving in Phalsbourg, France in the early part of November 1961.

Our mission to deploy to France was urgent. 0ur takeoff minimums were originally 5,000 feet and five miles, but while departing Goose Bay, the weather deteriorated to 300 feet and one mile in snow when 1 took off I briefed my flight, whom I did not know because they were from the Syracuse unit, for a four-ship takeoff. We broke out on top of 33,000 feet. Our flights of four departed every ten minutes.

Our year in Phalsbourg had many memorable and exciting flights. Within a 50 mile radius of our base, 40 fighter units from France, Germany, Canada and the United States were operating aircraft, from Mirages to F-104s. Every flight was an ACM adventure. We had the challenge of winter weather conditions on every recovery.

Our weapons delivery and proficiency training was accomplished at Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya as well as in France.

Among our three squadrons, we lost four aircraft and two pilots during our year overseas. This speaks very highly of the F-86H as well as the extensive experience of our flight and ground crews. Our return to the United States in August 1962 was by the same route.

I had the honor of flying this superb aircraft in all weather conditions. As a flight commander, ACM instructor, maintenance test pilot and instructor pilot, I can honestly say the F-86H was the finest aircraft I flew in my 40 years and over 30,000 flying hours.


By Dick Hefton

The later model F-86Fs came out with a hard wing to make them faster and more controllable at altitude. The pilots who flew them, however, had all kinds of trouble because of no stall warning and higher final approach speeds. Then came the F-86F-40s with their extended wings and leading edge slats which were praised as the final answer. I flew earlier F-86F-25s with slats so I was not aware of the difference. Stu Childs worked the tests at Edwards and swore by the F-40 wing's changes.

In the meantime, the "H"s were under construction at Columbus. I imagine the contract for the hard wing was still in effect and North American delivered the first F-86Hs that way. For whatever reason, my squadron got them as did the other units at Nellis, Cannon and George who took deliveries in 1955.

As for speed, the early hard wing F-86H was outstanding although I do not know whether the later models with slats were any slower. But I can tell you the early "H"s were killers in the traffic pattern as had been true for the later "F"s with hard wings.

I had a reputation for tight patterns and often had to slip rather drastically to put the bird on the end of the runway. I did a heavy legged slip one day coming back from a chase ride, and my "H" snapped a half-roll and reversed on me before I could catch it. I held off on the power, which was wrong, and it snapped again, this time all the way over to the left, inverted.

At this point I had only one chance, I simultaneously went full stick forward, rolled easily to the right, and went to the firewall with the throttle. Those who flew the "H" knew how instantaneous its power response was. So with this combination, and the fact that I had some altitude, which was the condition that invited the slip attempt in the first place, I nursed my mush out over the Joshua trees and made a new pattern. Fred Gray, who was on mobile, came over the radio with a breaking voice and told me, "Don't ever do that again." That amused me just enough to bring me back to reality. I then made a nice, neat, wide pattern.

I briefed our squadron on the need to treat that baby nicely when so close to the ground at low airspeed and high-load situations. I guess it did not take because I lost a student on a repeat of his T-10 ride on that same runway about two weeks later. We were making separate patterns. When I saw him start his turn onto final, I looked down to check my gear. When I looked back up, he was not were he was supposed to be. I looked further down and he was making the red ball. He had pitched slightly inside my break, which I worried about, but I thought it may have been more my own tentative attitude following my recent brush with the snap. When he was in the midst of a good turn to final, I thought his situation was under control. I was wrong again

1 got out of the Air Force a few months later and went back to school. I came close to getting back into the "H" with the Reserves, but things did not work. I did not get dose to another "H" until the late ':60s when the Massachusetts Air Guard flew their "last of the Sports Models" complete with whitewalls. Theirs, incidentally, had slats.

THE F-86H:

The F-86H was the only Sabre developed from the start for fighter-bomber duties It was the culmination of the series and the last model developed. There was no F-86I; the F-86J was a modified "A" with a Canadian jet engine; the F-86K and "L" were derivatives of the F-86D; and the F86M were several redesignated Royal Air Force FR-86Fs. Beyond the F-86H lay the F100 Super. Sabre program, the F-86's supersonic sibling.

The F-86H consisted of two North American models, NA-187 and NA-203, which were built at both Inglewood, California (prototypes only) and Columbus, Ohio (production "H"s). The "H" Sabres began with two service test YF-86H prototypes that were included in the May 1951 contract. Both used General Electric YJ734GE-3 turbojets rated at 8,900 pounds of thrust. These two Sabres, serial numbers 52-1975 and 52-1976, were armed with six .50 caliber machine guns, as was the F-86F Production F-86Hs used serial numbers 52-1977 to 52-2124, 525729 to 525753, and 531229 to 531528. A total of 475 were built, including the two prototypes.

The first order for the fighter-bomber F-86H Sabre was placed on March 16, 1951. By late 1952, however, the F-86H was reclassified as a day fighter, but with a secondary fighter-bomber capability. The firstYF-86H flight occurred on May 9, 1953 after being delivered earlier in January. Production began in late summer 1953 in Columbus, with the last F-86H flying on September 4, 1953. Production delays during summer 1954 meant the first F-86Hs were not delivered until fall. Production of the F-86H lasted until August 1955, and the United States Air Force received its last "H" model two months later. The "flyaway" cost per aircraft was $582,493.

Production F-86H-1 and F-86H Sabres were powered by General Electric J73-3& 3A turbojets developing 8,920 pounds of thrust, the most powerful jet engine installed in any Sabre model anywhere in the world. Later "H" Sabres used the J73-GE-3D turbojet which required some airframe changes. Yet despite the increased power, maximum speed at sea level remained 692 miles per hour with a cruise of 552 miles per hour, virtually identical to the F-86F. This was because the F-86H was a bigger airplane than the F-86F To allow for the larger J73 turbojet, the fuselage of the "H" added six inches of vertical depth and was strengthened. The air intake opening was noticeably taller. It was no longer rounded as on earlier Sabre Jets. These changes pushed the Sabre's design to the limit. The F-86H at high altitudes was underpowered for its wing loading, and as a result, the "H" was again reclassified in May 1954 as a tactical support fighter-bomber. Further advancements beyond the F-86H, when considering the F-100 was so close behind by 1954, were not feasible. The earliest F-86Hs delivered to Nellis, Cannon and George Air Force Bases were assembled with "hard" wings which gave very little stall warning and required higher final approach speeds. The wingspan on the F-86H was soon increased to 39 feet, 1 inch by adding extended F-40 wing tips along with leading edge slats for improved low-speed handling, similar to those on late model F-86Fs. The fuselage length was 38 feet, 6 inches, and the height was 14 feet, 1l inches. The "H", at 13,836 pounds (empty), climbed to 12,900 feet in one minute. Servicece ceiling was 50,800 feet, up in the MiG15's territory, but the F-86H arrived too late for service in the Korean War.

The F-86H's range was 519 miles, less than the "D", and internal fuel was reduced to 562 US. gallons. Overall fuel with drop tanks, however, increased to 1,362 U.S. gallons, better than the "D". The F-86H used a hydro mechanical engine fuel controller, which was mechanically linked to the throttle, and a cartridge starter. The "H" had no automatic pilot though, such as on the "D". The "H" did retain the all-flying tail with full-power, hydraulic irreversible control of the ailerons and horizontal tail. It also used an artificial feel system. Another noticeable external feature was the lack of dihedral in the horizontal tail. The windscreen was flat, and the clamshell canopy remained from the "D".

The F86H's wing was designed with a dual stores capacity with four under wing hard points for attaching up to four 200 U.S. gallon drop tanks or a variety of ordnance, such as bombs, rockets or missiles. An AN/APG30 radar ranging device was located in the cockpit coupled to an A-4 lead computing gun sight. The F-86H also had a nuclear bomb delivery capacity and used a LABS toss bombing system. It could carry a 1,200 pound tactical nuclear weapon to its target under the left wing with drop tanks under the right wing.

All production F-86H-1 Sabres, serial numbers 52-1975 to 52-2089, had six .50 caliber machine guns. Beginning with the F-86-H-5, which was the 116th F-86H, and all remaining F-86Hs, were four M-39 20mm cannons replacing the machine guns. The M-39 cannon was developed as a cooperative effort between the Ford Motor Company and the United States Air Force. The M-39 used a revolving-drum feed producing a higher firing rate than many .50 caliber machine guns. Each M39 had 150 rounds per gun and was fired electrically at a rate of 1,500 rounds per minute. Spent cartridges were ejected beneath the fuselage through outlets. The last F-86 model was the F-86H-10.

F-8611 Sabres were first sent to the 312th Fighter-Bomber Wing at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico in late 1954. The last "H" arrived a year later. They eventually equipped five fighter-bomber wings, the 50th, 83rd, 312th, 413th and the 474th. F-9Hs began phasing out of the regular United States Air Force in 1956 in favor of the supersonic F-100 Super Sabre. Most F-86Hs were transferred to Air National Guard units by mid-1958. They equipped California, Connecticut,

Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and West Virginia. The Massachusetts Air National Guard was called to active duty in 1961 during the Berlin Crisis. They were sent to Europe from October 1961 to October 1962. The New York Air National Guard's F-86H Sabres also served in Europe during this time. They were activated from October 1961 to September 1962. The last active military unit to fly the F-86H Sabre was the New York Air National Guard in late November 1970. Approximately 29 F86Hs were converted by the United States Navy at China Lake, California for radio controlled target drone duties beginning in the early 1970s. These Sabres were redesignated QF-86H. Other F-86Hs were flown by the Navy to simulate the MiG-17 threat as the F-86H possessed similar flying qualities.