F-86D “Sabre Dog” Arrives At AHTC
The Aviation History and Technology Center (AHTC) welcomed a new exhibit at the museum in October 2021 with the arrival of a North American F-86D Sabre Dog.
A crew of museum volunteers, along with staff from the Museum of Aviation at the Warner Robins Air Force Base, carefully and successfully delivered the disassembled F-86D to its new home. Following its short “flight” from the Warner Robins museum, work began almost immediately to reassemble the aircraft.
The original F-86 jet-powered fighter made its combat debut in the Korean War (1950-1953). The D-model became an extensive reworking of the production A-model airframe in an effort to produce an effective all-weather, radar-equipped interceptor to rapidly counter a growing Soviet bomber threat. The result was an aircraft that shared no more than 25% with its sisters as the Sabre Dog integrated a nose cone (shrouding its radar fit) as well as an dimensionally larger fuselage with new, more powerful afterburning turbojet engine and enlarged tail surfaces. All this made for an aircraft with a broadened mission scope possessing excellent anti-bomber firepower, more internal volume, better performance, and improved handling.
Boone Barnes, AHTC board member and long-time volunteer at the Marietta-based museum, was one of several individuals who worked to bring the F-86D to the museum. “I’ve always been a big fan of the F-86 aircraft and I was thrilled to help get it here, especially since it fits with the museum’s mission to educate and engage our local community in our shared aviation history.” Barnes noted that this particular aircraft served at a number of locations in the U.S. before its final assignment with the Georgia Air National Guard at Moody Air Force base in Georgia.
The aircraft now on display, serial number 52-3651, was delivered to the United States Air Force in February 1954 and was first assigned to the 54th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. The aircraft was eventually retired in July 1959.
Restoration work on the aircraft is ongoing. Volunteers plan to completely strip the old Air National Guard paint scheme from the Sabre Dog and return the ship to its original polished metal look when it was first delivered for service in 1954.
If you are interested in seeing the aircraft as a work-in-progress or to serve as a volunteer and help us bring the Sabre Dog back to its original Georgia Air National Guard glory, click here to contact us!