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Sabre Flies Again
October 21, 2015 - On Wednesday, October 7th, North American F-86A 48-178 took to the skies over Rockford, Illinois. Previously registered as G-SABR in the U.K., it is now registered as N48178 in the U.S., and is believed to be not only the sole currently flying F-86A, but also the oldest operational jet of any kind in the world. The well-known aircraft, previously owned by the Golden Apple Trust was sold in June of 2014 by Courtesy Aircraft Sales to Dr. John Swartz of Heritage Air, LLC, Grove, Oklahoma. The aircraft was shipped to Heritage Aero, Inc. in Rockford, Illinois for reassembly, inspection, and FAA certification.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. local time, Paul Wood of Warbird Heritage Foundation, Waukegan, Illinois departed runway 1 at KRFD for the Sabre’s first flight in the U.S. since leaving back in 1991 for the U.K. Multiple flights were performed that day and the aircraft performed without issues. Paul Keppeler flew chase for the second flight in his Canadair CT-133 T-Bird. The owner, Dr. John Swartz, currently operates two Lockheed T-33s and will be flying 178 himself soon.
Here’s hoping we see this beautiful warbird here in Oshkosh next summer.