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The F-86 Sabre was a great airplane and I have never heard anyone speak badly of it. Originating at North American Aviation's Inglewood, California plant, the first design even had straight wings. Fortunately, going over the data sheets from some captured German wind tunnel research, it was shown that swept wings offered a big improvement in performance. The Germans had incorporated this into the design of the Messerschmitt 262 as well as automatic slats. The F-86 wings were quickly redesigned with a 35 degree sweep and the first prototype flew on October 1, 1947. It was powered by a Chevrolet built General Electric TG 180 (J35) of 4000 lbs. thrust. The first production model flew on May 20, 1948 powered by a General Electric TG 190 (J47) engine of 5200 lbs. thrust. Canadair was chosen as the Canadian manufacturer and, after assembling an F-86A from parts sent up from North American, flew it in August 1950. This was the first and only Mark 1. The Mark 2 production began immediately with the first one flying on January 31, 1951.

All along, thought had been given to installing the new Canadian designed and built Orenda 3 engine in place of the General Electric J47. Because of the production demands of the Korean War, the American produced J47 engines fell well behind schedule and what was needed. Some thought was briefly given to using the Rolls-Royce Avon engine. It had a little more thrust but would require major modification to the fuselage because of its size. The Orenda 3 was rated at 6000 lbs. thrust and nearly equivalent to the Avon. Mr. C.D. Howe, the minister of everything eventually stepped in and managed to procure funding to jump start Orenda production.


Dr. Lewis Hong Chow and collegue standing next to Orenda 3 engine and F-86 Sabre

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