Sabre Reborn – Classic Fighters of America F-86F – Restoration Update

North American F-86F Sabre 52-5112, pictured here in the hangar at Classic Fighters of America in Titusville, Florida, is getting very close to its first post-restoration fight. (Photos via Classic Fighters)
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Back in July, we reported HERE on progress with the restoration of North American F-86F Sabre 52-5112 at Classic Fighters of America in Titusville, Florida. A lot has happened in the interim, and we thought our readers would be interested to see what the restoration team has been up to…

Sabre Reborn – First flight of “Beauteous Butch” scheduled for January 2020

The ten-year restoration of North American F-86F Sabre 52-5112 continues at Classic Fighters of America in Titusville Florida. Steady progress has taken place through the course of the past year, so much so that the restoration team anticipates a first flight milestone in January of 2020. Major items accomplished as of late 2019 include the following:

  • Completion of the canopy as a unit by refurbishing the frame and mechanism for opening/closing, plexiglass and rebuilding of the air pressure outflow regulator.
  • Exterior lighting on wingtips and tail above the exhaust are now equipped with lighter strobe units that have no moving parts and consume less power.
  • The engine to be installed has less than 17 hours run-time since overhaul. All associated accessory units have been removed, rebuilt and re-installed.
  • A totally revamped hydraulic system: New lines throughout, three pumps and accessories such as actuators all rebuilt or replaced.
  • A brand-new fuselage centerline internal fuel tank has been manufactured, installed and tested.
  • A new exhaust smoke oil system has been designed and installed.
  • The overhauled electrical system is capable of operating new avionics enhancements such as GPS, ADS-B and the Garmin G3X Touch cockpit display system.
  • The landing gear has been totally overhauled, with testing of operational lowering and raising both mains and nosewheel units accomplished.
  • Both wings now have their leading edges and slats installed following a thorough inspection and maintenance process.
  • The pilot breathing oxygen system has been improved, with four cylinders installed on a rack that allows for quick servicing access and compact storage within the fuselage. Each cylinder holds 22.36 cubic feet of Oxygen at a maximum pressure of 1,800 pounds-per-square inch (PSI). The filling of these bottles can be accomplished almost anywhere by means of a corporate servicing fitting.
  • In the cockpit, a new Martin Baker Mk.10 rocket-style ejection seat has replaced the previous seat in the aircraft. As an extra benefit, the distance between the seat and instrument panel has increased, providing the pilot with an ergonomic improvement. A digital autopilot, GPS panel, ADS-B In+Out, WAAS and a Fuel-Low-Level warning system has been provided, as well as an Annunciator Warning Light panel.
  • The 120 and 200-US Gallon pairs of external fuel drop tanks have been refurbished and finish-painted.
  • 3,500 wire ends have been terminated and functionally checked.
  • The test pilot for the first flight will be the Sabre’s owner, Doug Matthews.

Many, many thanks indeed to John Gourley for the photographs and bringing us this story!

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