The F-86 Sabre, built by North American, is best known for its outstanding combat performance during the Korean War. First flown in 1947, the Sabre was the United States' first fighter to fly supersonic -- in a dive. Starting in December of 1950, the Russian-made MiG-15 and the F-86 met in combat over Korea. With superior training, experience, and aircraft performance, Sabre pilots posted a ten-to-one victory ratio over the similar MiG-15. The last U.S. Sabre was retired from the Air National Guard in 1965.
F-86s were built under license in Japan, Italy, Canada, and Australia. The Museum's example, called a CL-13B, is one of 1,815 Sabres built by Canadair. It flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force until 1974, and served The Boeing Company as a chase plane for their flight test division until donated in 1991.
In 1956, Canadian Sabre pilots set out to break the cross-Canada speed record held by a Royal Canadian Navy T-33. R.J. "Chick" Childerhose and Ralph Annis refueled halfway, in Gimli, Manitoba. The 1,400-mile (2,240 km) second leg from Gimli to Halifax stretched the Sabre's range to the limit. While test-flying that leg, Annis landed in Halifax with eight gallons of fuel. Childerhose had five. Yet the official cross-Canada dash went off without a hitch. The Sabres, flying on fumes, arrived in Halifax five hours after takeoff from Vancouver, shattering the old record by an hour and twenty minutes.