Who were the F86 Sabre Pilots Association?



"One of the most successful jet fighters of all time was the North American F-86 Sabre, the scourge of MiG pilots in the Korean War and the first swept wing fighter to fly for America. The day fighter and all weather versions of the aircraft were used in almost all Western countries, remaining in front line service for almost 20 years. Under license, it was built in Canada, Australia, Japan and Italy. The first prototype flew on Oct. 1, 1947 but it had been under development since 1944. The Sabre was an immediate success and went into service in February, 1949. When the Sabres arrived in Korea to meet the MiG threat, the bandits never knew what hit them."

Sabre drivers were proud of their steed and in 1981 formed a "Fighter Jocks" organization called, not surprisingly, the "F-86 Sabre Pilots Association." Membership was limited to those jocks who have flown the F-86 aircraft. All F-86 Wings of the Korean war are heavily represented as were the units in CONUS, Europe, Far East, ANG and Reserves.

This membership in its prime hit over 1,700 members world wide.

They were an international association with members representing 7 countries. Three of their members became Chief of Staff of the Air Force for their respected countries.

It was a 'Jock's Club' so they made no effort to cater to the elite. They acknowledged and congratulated all on their achievements but retain the camaraderie shared by airmen. Without a doubt, it was a premier retired fighter pilots organization.

Their stated goals of the association at that time was to perpetuate the history of the F-86 Sabre, the units to which she belonged and the pilots who flew her. A second goal was to link old Sabre jocks with their buddies. The third goal was to perpetuate an accurate, patriotic portrayal of our national history and heritage. They conducted numerous projects to achieve these goals.

They would publish three issues of their magazine "Sabre Jet Classics" each year.

They had reunions in Las Vegas approximately every 2 years. In 1997, about 1,000 people participated at the reunion.
They showed all that they knew how to party.



F-86 Sabre Veterans Deactivate 35-Year Association

To view the source article, click here: F-86 Sabre Veterans


By Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum, 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs / Published May 05, 2017

Throughout the storied past of Army Air Corps and the U.S. Air Force, many aircraft have laid the foundation for today’s fleet of air power.

The F-86 Sabre, or SabreJet, is one of the cornerstones upon which the modern Air Force was built since its inaugural flight on Oct. 1, 1947.

The F-86 Sabre Association met on April 24 on the flightline here to pay homage to this retired jet and the Airmen who flew it for the last time.

"The first forming of the association took place in 1981, when three of our pilots got together and realized we needed to have a reunion and an organization," said retired Lt. Col. J.R. Alley, F-86 Sabre Association president. "It started to grow and grow into the mid-90s and it became more organized. We grew in personnel from that small amount in the mid-90s to almost 2,000 worldwide."

The F-86 Sabre was originally designed as a high-altitude fighter, making it highly valued during the Korean War. Subsequently, it was redesigned as an all-weather interceptor and fighter bomber.

"In that era, (the Air Force) had 300 F-86s at that time," said Alley. "It was a different mindset of flying, very aggressive, and you had to do everything better, tighter and faster than the other guy."

The first Sabre arrived at Nellis for testing and training in 1949 and was assigned to the 3525th Aircraft Gunnery Squadron. By late 1950, an average of 27 F-86s were on base.

In early January 1952, after being sent back to the factory for modifications, the F-86 was fully implemented into the Combat Crew Training School. The Nellis training mission grew and implemented pilots from the Royal Air Force, becoming the pride of Air Training Command until the aircraft was removed from Nellis in June 1966.

Soon after the end of the F-86 at Nellis, production halted on the jet in December 1966.

The organization's members travelled to Nellis to have one last reunion before disbanding after 35 years.

"The average age of the group is now around 86 to 87 (years old), the World War II guys who flew in Korea are up in their 90s, and the ones who actually flew in the Korean War are in their late 80s," said Alley. "So this will be our last reunion, and we are going to stand down. It’s been tremendous to come out and have Nellis put this on for us."

While the F-86's operational days came to an end, the jet has found its home with the Air Force Heritage Flight, performing at air shows around the country.

"We always like to look back at our heritage," said Alley. "What we were and how we have come along the way. If you forget that then you start losing things."



Web Page Categories

Sabre Jet Classics Magazines

SPA Prose and Poetry

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Sabre Photos from SPA.ORG



Folded Wings


Archived SPA Notes/Comments


F-86 Video Links



F-86 Art


F-86 Reference Book Media


F-86 Reference Online Media


Click on the image above the text to view that webpage. Note: SPA stands for Sabre Pilots Association


Website Notes


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F-86 Saber Jet at the 2001 Westfield International Air Show


Westfield International Air Show 2001
Celebration of Freedom-Barnes Municipal Airport

North American F-86 Saber Jet
Owned by Ed Shipley
Previously Owned by Colonel Frank Borman



Sabre Ace Down - Korea Combat and Capture



Flight Journal February 2018





David Grasmick - 334th - Historical Photos

Click on the photo or here to see David Grasmicks' fathers historical photos from the Korean War. He was a part of the 334th. If anyone recognizes any of the other people or places, please email me. Thanks.



Marlyn Acker Collection - 334th - Historical Photos

Click on the photo or here to see Marlyn Acker's historical photos from the early 50's. He was a part of the 334th. His son David, shared them with us. If anyone recognizes any of the other people or places, please email me. Thanks.



"The Mig Hunters" Art (Aero Classics)


Aircraft Portrait by Jack Young

"The Mig Hunters is a painting from my private collection. This painting is of Captain Bob Love and captain Cliff Jolley, aces and friends flying their F-86 Sabres in Mig Alley Korea.

Bob furnished me with the aircraft marking details for this painting. When it was finished, I met him in his hangar where he kept his P-51 at the Livermore, California airport. There I presented him with some 8 x 10 photos and set the painting up for his viewing. He looked at it very quietly, and then with a show of emotion, told me, "you have brought back a lot of memories". This was in the early 1980's. His response was and always will be a pleasant memory for me."

Link: http://aeroclassics.us/hunters.html



1949 National Air Race (Cleveland, OH)

The Thompson Trophy Race
"J" Division

Four Air Force F-86A Sabers were entered in the "J" Division of the Thompson Trophy Race but one was unable to start due to engine trouble. The three flew the five mile course at such high speeds that it was estimated that they actually flew 25 miles each lap. During the second lap Captain Vernon Henderson pulled out of the race after a high "G" turn broke the bolts holding the seat in place. Captain Vernon was able to control the jet while in a crouching position to make a safe landing. Captain Johansen also had a problem when a 10 x 16 inch inspection door flew open on the left wing causing considerable drag, Johansen had just taken the lead when a check of his fuel supply required him to throttle back thereby losing his lead. When he landed he did not have enough fuel left to taxi to the hangars. Captain Cunningham was doing well until he made the last high speed turn, that's when most of his elevator was torn off causing him to consider ejecting the aircraft.

Tail of Capt. Cunningham's F-86A

1st Place: Capt. Bruce Cunningham

2nd Place: Capt. Martin Johansen

3rd Place: Capt. Vern Henderson

Captain Bruce Cunningham

Source: http://www.airrace.com/1949 NAR .htm




F-86E Thrust Augmentation Evaluation


Augmentation Evaluation

Thanks to Isobel Dozier "I had seen an article in Volume 14, Number 3 (Sabre Jet Classics) referring to tests which were conducted by North American Aviation, Inc. with an Aerodyne rocket installation.

The article mentioned that not much was known about the 1956 testing. I was able to find the following DTIC file which gives more details regarding this unique NAA project –“

March 1957




The F-86 Sabre Jet and Pilots


A Sabre Pilots Association exclusive!

The F-86 Sabre Jet and Pilots

Turner Publishing Co 1997




Folded Wings Update: In Memory of Gene Fentress


Gene Fentress October 24, 2017

Click on his name to view larger pictures of Gene, and a wonderful family video of him.



Korean War Scrapbook by Ward Hitt, Jr.


Eight pages of photos from Ward "Spider" Hitt, Jr. recorded at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Air and Space Museum link



"Five Men, Fifty-Five Migs" by Nixon Galloway

Kimpo Airfield, Seoul Korea

Link to larger version: here

National Archives Catalog



Latest SabreJets Classics Magazine (Vol. 24, No. 2)


To view the final SabreJet Classics (Volume 24, Number 2), click on the above photo.



F-86 Sunset Flight Demonstration

Published on Jul 22, 2016

The Planes of Fame Air Show 2016 featured a sunset solo aerobatics performance by Tommy Williams in the Planes of Fame Air Museum F-86F during the Friday performance.

Planes of Fame Air Museum
Where Warbirds Fly



Heritage Flight

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Chris Massey
Sabres FU-756 FU-834 FU-666

Three F-86 Sabres and an F-22 Raptor fly in formation during the Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

Steve Hinton, Ed Shipley and Dan Friedkin leading the F-22 Raptor.



Canadian CL-13 MK-5



F-86 Sabre Historical Web Ring Guide
Click the photo below to visit that web region

Sabre Pilots Association

Duncan's Sabre Website

Every Man A Tiger

S/N 52-4539 Website

Sabre Website Links

User Submitted Area



Contact Webmaster
All information is listed for historical and educational purposes. The F-86 Sabre Pilots Association will stand down after being organized 35 years ago.My mission is to return this website to preserve the history of the F86 Sabre jet and the men who flew them for current and future generations.

To contact the webmaster, or to post comments / links / memorials on this website; email me at: eric@yocumusa.com

Website created: September 14, 2017