Restoring a North American F-86F Has Been a 10-Year Project

Work continues on the world’s only “new” Sabre.

North American F-86F
The F-86 was America's first swept wing fighter airplane.Courtesy ClassicFighters.org

The workers and staff at Doug Matthews' Classic Fighters of America are excited about the impending maiden flight and evaluation trials of a North American F-86F Korea-Era fighter soon to begin. Global Aviation Management in Titusville, Florida sits at the center of the work and is funding the efforts to create a nearly brand-new edition of the F-86F, original serial number 52-5116. Restoration efforts include extensive inspections, upgrades and modernization of the cockpit, all of which are nearing completion.

North American F-86F
All of the work to restore the F-86F is nearly complete.Courtesy John Gourley

While items like the fighter’s hydraulic lines have been replaced, the restoration will include a few updated items. In the cockpit, a large multi-function display will be surrounded by several analog gauges powered by an entirely new wiring system that was fabricated from scratch to blend a bit of old and new technology. The storage capacity for breathing oxygen has also been increased. This F-86 will have the ability to hang a pair of either 120 or 200-US gallon auxiliary fuel tanks.

While a date for the airplane's first flight has not yet been set, it is expected to be later this summer.