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Q-305 North American F-86K Sabre c/n 207-33 - RNethAF 700 sqdn - NMM Soesterberg in Holland - 28 August 2018 NMM at Soesterberg

The North American F-86 Sabre is a single-seat day-fighter aircraft and the first swept-wing airplane in the U.S. fighter inventory. North American Aviation Corp started in 1944 with the development of the straight winged XFJ-1 Fury their first jet fighter designated for the U.S. Navy. When the U.S. Air Force asked for a day fighter that could reach 600 mph and could also be used as a dive-bomber or escort fighter, North American redesigned the Fury. In 1945, the design initially named NA-140, passed the proposition stage. The problem, however, was that the NA-140 was to slow. After World War II the North American engineers could study a Me-262 that had slats and swept wings. Research in the aerodynamic design of the NA-140 resulted in the prototype XP-86 with introducing slats and swept back wings. The first of three XP-86 prototypes flew on 1 October 1947, powered by General Electric J-35 engine. The NA-151 production model used the more powerful General Electric J-47 turbojet and flew first on 20 May 1948. In June 1948, the model was renamed the F-86A, after the U.S.A.F used Fighter instead of Pursuit. On 15 September 1948, an F-86A set a new world speed record of 670.9 mph. By the time the new fighter entered US Air Force service in 1949, it was known as the "Sabre." or Sabrejet. 554 F-86A planes were manufactured. When production of the Sabre with the latest model F-86K terminated in 1958 a total of over 9500 of all models were constructed, including licence production in Australia, Canada and Italy. In addition, 300 F-86F Sabres were assembled in Japan by Mitsubishi in 1956-1961.

On 28 August 2018, the North American F.86K Sabre s/n 207-33 was seen as Q-305 in RNethAF 700 sqdn colors on display at the ramp of the NMM (Nationaal Militair Museum) at the former AFB Soesterberg. However coded as Q-305 this aircraft was never flown by the Royal Netherlands Air Force. This North American F-86K Sabre is the ex Italian AF MM53-6217 that was flown to the Netherlands on 12 June 1973 to be repainted in RNethAF colors for preservation, representing Q-305. North American F.86K Sabre s/n 207-33 was assembled by Fiat of Italy with NAA-built components and entered service with the Italian AF as MM6217. In service with 51st Stormo codes 51-23 and 51-67 were used. In the last period with 51st Stormo, the Sabre served at Rimini AFB as a target towing aircraft. After the North American F.86K Sabre was struck of charge by the Italian Air Force it was flown to Deelen AFB in the Netherlands for a second life as museum aircraft. At Deelen AFB the Sabre received the RNethAF Q-305 colors, just in time to be presented at the Air Force's 60th anniversary celebrations at Deelen AFB on 30 June 1973. After it was showed at the static of the Airshow at Deelen AFB, the Sabre was added to the collection of the MLM at Soesterberg. On 1 July 2013, the MLM (Militaire Luchtvaart Museum) was closed and the collection, including the North American F.86K Q-305 went the new build NMM that opened on 11 December 2014.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force received 57 North American-built F-86Ks between October 1955 and April 1956. In 1957, an addition followed with six aircraft built by Fiat. All these aircraft were owned by the USA and leased to the Netherlands under MDAP terms. In service with the RNethAF, the F-86K was wellknown as 'Kaasjager'. In July 1964, the last F-86Ks were withdrawn from use by the RNethAF. As the Royal Netherlands Air Force was not the owner of the aircraft they had to be returnded to the USAF. They decided that some would go to the Italian Air Force; two airframes were donated to a playground and all remaining F-86Ks were scrapped in 1964.
The original North American F-86K-19 Sabre Q-305 was built by North American in the USA with serialnumber 54-1305 (s/n 213-75) and arrived on 12 January 1956 on board of the 'Corregidor' in Rotterdam harbour. On 23 July 1956, the 'Q-305' entered service with the RNethAF 700sqdn with squadroncode 6A-10. On 3 July 1964, the aircraft was returned to the USAF and scrapped at Soesterberg in October 1964.

page last updated: 01-03-2021
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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