The F-86D Sabre Dog

In the late 1940s, the US government along with the USAF, began a massive effort to develop an effective defense of US airspace to counter a growing Soviet threat. In support of this, the USAF chose the Convair “1954 Interceptor” project as their primary aircraft for this role, and the Northrop F-89 Scorpion as an interim. According to McChord Air Museum, after many delays in the F-89 development program, the Air Force looked at two aircraft as alternatives to the Scorpion, a modified Lockheed TF-80C which evolved into the F-94 Starfire, and a highly modified all-weather interceptor version of the F-86A Sabre, the F-95A (F-86D).

As the YF-95, the Sabre Dog completed a successful first flight on Dec. 22, 1949, later on Jul. 24, 1950, the designation was changed to YF-86D. The Sabre Dog differed greatly from its cousin, while externally similar to the F-86A there was only 25% commonality between the two aircraft. The F-86D was also the first USAF aircraft to carry an all missile armament, and was the first all-weather interceptor to be operated by one pilot, operating the radar and flight controls.

The Sabre Dog was also equipped with an afterburning engine (in the form of a General Electric J47-GE-17 turbojet provided with an electronically- controlled fuel scheduling system which was designed to relieve the pilot of the tedious task of having to watch the engine behavior constantly).

The F-86D that the Afterburner in the Hangar to Take Off during a Scramble

David Ross, former F-86D Sabre Dog fighter pilot in the US Air Force, recalls on Quora.

“In the late fifties, while flying an F-86D, on cross-countries I would land at an intermediate base for fuel. As soon as the fuel truck left I would preflight the plane, start the engine and leave. As for letting the engine ‘warm-up’ there is no need for that.

“To illustrate this our alert hangars had doors front and back and on the floor was an iron ring to tie the aux-power cable to. This design was to enable a faster scramble time.

“One day I told my crew chief to tie the start cable to this ring and get the loose stuff cleared out of the hanger, because if we got a scramble I was going straight to afterburner on start.

“We did get a scramble and I started the engine and went to full throttle and afterburner right in the hangar.

“I was airborne just about the time I got to the runway, everything worked as it was designed to do. There was one problem though, the crew chief said I blew stuff out the back of the hangar, with the afterburner, that people didn’t even know was in the hangar.”

Ross concludes;

“We never tried that that kind of scramble again.”

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

USAF F-86D Pilot recalls when He Lit his Sabre Dog’s Afterburner in the Hangar to Take Off during a Scramble. And tells why He Never did it Again.