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In 1944, North American began a design study for a high performance fighter jet. The design was submitted to the Army Air Force in 1945, where the design was approved and a contract for three XP-86 aircraft was written.

After test flights, the XP-86 could not meet the 600 mph top speed requirement set by the Army Air Force. Engineers from North American studied the swept wings that appeared on German aircraft and discovered the configuration showed a definite advantage and a marked increase in top speed. This change ultimately created one of the greatest weapons in aerial combat history – the F-86 Sabre. The Sabre was used by 31 Air Forces around the world and evolved into 11 major variants.

Canada became the first country to take out a license to build the F-86, and ended up building around 20 percent of the world’s Sabres. Canadair manufactured the jets in 1951, which served with the Royal Canadian Air Force and were exported to other countries. In 1968, the Royal Canadian Air Force officially retired the Sabre, after the jet had served with thirteen front-line squadrons and six auxiliary units. Many operators considered the Canadair variant of the F-86 to be the best of the line, and great demand for Sabre spares remained long after the Royal Canadian Air Force retired the jet.

The Combat Jet Flying Museum donated the F-86 to the EAA AirVenture Museum as part of a collection of historic jets.

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