Friday pictures: F-86 Sabre

I seem to come back to the Sabre again and again – but how can I not? Its classic design, its stirling combat record, its place in a truly impressive lineage (P-51, F-86, F-100, F-107), and the fact that it flew in an era when planes wore flashy markings all combine to great effect.

The above shot, taken by Flickr user gunfighter157, shows one of the 655 Canadair-built North American F-86 Sabre VI . Curiously, although it wears USAF serial number 47-1461, that serial number was in fact assigned to a Republic F-84C Thunderjet. Web research turns up some information on its heritage, including:

Mk VI [CL-13B] (1956) 352 SAAF, N38301 (1983/3), stored dismantled and uncovered (by 1982-1990), to Michael Dorn (1996/1/30), to Frank Borman (1999/11), delivered to Chino CA for restoration (1999/11), N186FS (2000/1/3), to Edward H. Shipley (2001). This Sabre was previously owned by actor Michael Dorn and later former astronaut Frank Borman.  It is marked with the tail number “71461” but this does not match any USAF F-86 serial numbers.

Also this:

The paint scheme of this F-86 is a combination of two F-86 liveries which Frank Borman flew at the 3595th Combat Crew Training Wing and the USAF Fighter Weapons School.

From design in Ohio, to construction in Montreal, to service in South Africa, to California – this plane has seen a lot of the world over its 53 years, but it looks as vital as ever. As always, my thanks to those who maintain these aircraft and to those who photograph them so well.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.


Another trio of scale Lego planes

I have stayed away from Legos as a blog topic for most of this summer – they are not a subject I ever imagined covering and yet the web serves up such impressive models that at times I cannot help myself.

There are three new models by the inimitable Mad Physicist (last covered here), and I am compelled to pass all three along. One helicopter and two naval jets, all three show how this builder continues to use a wide range of building techniques to create astonishingly accurate renditions. I encourage you to follow the link to each one to see more pictures of the models. With no further ado…

The Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin (more info here):
Dolphin (by Mad physicist)
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat (more info here):
F-14A (by Mad physicist)
The North American A3J (later A-5) Vigilante (more info here)
RA-5C (5) (by Mad physicist)

The Vigilante has always been a personal favorite, so it is great to see it here in Lego. As always, my hat is off to the most consistently impressive builder on the net.

Friday pictures: F-86 & MiG-15

Fifty-eight years ago, the North American F-86 Sabre and the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15 fought remorselessly for control of Korea’s skies, giving no quarter as they tangled in MiG Alley. Even though the skies over the Yalu River remain unwelcome to American aircraft today, times have changed sufficiently that these former foes now find themselves reunited in far more peaceful circumstances. I think it’s useful, as we look at the uncertainty in the world around us, to realize that the passage of two generations is enough time to witness profound changes in the world, and sometimes it’s change for the good.

Regardless of such thoughts, the two planes in this week’s picture are timeless examples of the first jet vs. jet combat ever. It is wonderful to see them in such perfect condition, and my thanks to Mark Von Raesfeld for his wonderful photography. As always, follow the link for a larger view.

F-86 Sabre & MiG-15 at Chino
F-86 Sabre & MiG-15 at Chino

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Friday pictures: B-25 Mitchell

This week’s subject is a picture by a Flickr photographer who is new to me – Michiel Harmsen, from the Netherlands. He has quite a few terrific shots, but the one that really caught my eye this week is a backlit shot of a taxiing North American B-25 Mitchell taken at the airshow in Bitburg, Germany this past weekend. This WWII medium bomber gained fame as the mount of Jimmy Doolittle’s Tokyo Raiders. I have so far followed a rule of thumb that all Friday pictures need to be airborne, but this week I am casting that aside. This one is simply too good to pass up.


My thanks to Mr. Harmsen for his beautiful photography. He generously makes the image available in enormous form, and it is even more compelling when viewed large.

As an aside, I believe this to be a B-25 painted in Red Bull colors (the plane’s markings are visible in other shots from the same set). A little googling suggests this B-25 is 44-86893. Retired to Davis Monthan in Arizona in 1957, it has been in civil service since 1958 (with a derelict period from 1969 to 1976). If you google N6123C, there is a great deal of information and pictures to be found on her. How wonderful she has survived to fly and be kept in such good shape.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Lego P-51 Mustang

Uploaded by John Lamarck


Friday Pictures: North American’s thoroughbreds

Two pictures to end this week – both of North American fighters. One of the piston-engined P-51 Mustang and the other of its jet descendant the F-86 Sabre. One became an iconic image over the skies of Europe and other over the Yalu River. I encourage you to follow the links over to Flickr and look at them both large – they’re beautifully composed and executed images.

P-51 Mustang (by MulesAFpilot)

P-51 Mustang by MulesAFpilot

Sabre on the Deck (by Images by A.J.)

Sabre on the deck by Images by A.J.

Happy Friday!

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Friday pictures: Sabres at Dusk

F-86s at Dusk

Originally uploaded by Passive Man

Two North American F-86 Sabres bank low over an airfield in this fabulous shot. It could have been taken in 1951, but in fact it’s two warbirds on the show circuit, with looks and moves that belie their fifty year old design and service. Terrific colors and a great sense of disciplined movement.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.