Iowa City Municipal Airport
Iowa City, Iowa

North American F-86D-55-NA Sabre
USAF S/N 53-0750 (F-86L)


The North American F-86 Sabre, sometimes called the Sabrejet, is a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as the United States' first swept wing fighter that could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high-speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War (19501953). Considered one of the best and most important fighter aircraft in that war, the F-86 is also rated highly in comparison with fighters of other eras. Although it was developed in the late 1940s and was outdated by the end of the '50s, the Sabre proved versatile and adaptable, and continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces until the last active operational examples were retired by the Bolivian Air Force in 1994.

The North American F-86D Sabre (sometimes called the "Sabre Dog") was a transonic jet all-weather interceptor of the United States Air Force and others. Based on North American's F-86 Sabre day fighter, the F-86D had only 25 percent commonality with other Sabre variants, with a larger fuselage, larger afterburner engine, and a distinctive nose radome. The F-86L like Upgrade conversion of F-86D with new electronics, extended wingtips and wing leading edges, revised cockpit layout, and uprated engine; 981 converted

Service History:

1953: Constructed as a F-86D-55-NA by North American at Inglewood, CA
1956: Converted to F-86L
1958: Transferred to Iowa ANG 124th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (132nd Tactical Fighter Group), Iowa ANG, Des Moines, IA
1963: Struck from the U.S. Air Force
1963: Transferred to University of Iowa for display
1972: Restored. Aircraft displayed at Iowa City Airport, dedicated to Vietnam POW and MIA's on 14 Oct 1972.
1977: The aircraft had deteriorated and was moved to a salvage yard in Coralville, IA, with wings and tail sawed off. On Apr 21, 1977 veterans groups challenged the Airport Commissions decision, and the Commission agreed to let the aircraft be refurbished and be placed at the Airport as part of a memorial for all wars.
1977: Restored by All Iowa Body of Cedar Rapids.
1978: Placed on display at Iowa City Airport on 24 April 1978.
1978: Damaged on 10 May 1978. Aircraft was vandalized by anti-military person, with paint spatter. On Aug 31, 1978 the judgment against the vandal led to questioning the ownership and responsibility of the plane. The AFROTC, airport commission, the city, and even the University had been responsible at one time or another. No decision was made at that time as to ownership.
1978: Damaged. Another vandal spattered the plane with several cans of paint and broke the canopy.
1980: Repaired. Aircraft was given a new paint job and the canopy repaired. Markings applied 30750.
1992: National Museum of the Air Force Loan Program assigned to Iowa City Airport Commission.
1996: The Iowa City Airport Commission proposed moving the aircraft about 15 miles NW to Greencastle Airport, apparently desiring to get out of the responsibility for the aircraft. Johnson County veterans groups at this time took responsibility for the aircraft upkeep, and the aircraft was then moved to its current location, mounted at the airport entrance.
2015: Restored.

Photos by Aviana Aircraft Detailing

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