The 1952 North American F-86H, on display courtesy of the EAA Aviation Museum, represents the legendary Sabre jet fighter that entered service in 1949 and gained air superiority over the skies of Korea. The F-86H model was produced from 1953-1955, and was the standard air defense fighter and tactical bomber for the defense of Europe until the century series fighters took over these roles. The aircraft is named for Gene Kranz, former NASA Flight Director who flew the F-86 on a tour patrolling the Korean DMZ.
The Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter, represented here by a civilian-owned 1968 RF-5A manufactured for export to the Royal Norwegian Air Force, was an outgrowth of the T-38 Talon supersonic trainer. It became the light-weight export fighter that was also co-produced in Canada and Spain. The F-5A was succeeded by the F-5E Tiger II in U.S. and allied services, currently known for becoming an adversary simulator for the Soviet MiG-21.
Two Soviet-designed MiG-17F fighters are represented here on display in the Warbirds Area and flying in the airshows. No. 1611, a Polish-manufactured LIM-5 flown by Randy Ball of FIghter Jets, Inc. and featured in many of our previous airshow stories, flew in military service from 1960-1990. This type was known for its tight turning ability and powerful gun armament that took a toll on U.S. fighters during the Vietnam War. No. 1713, another LIM-5 variant owned and operated by Bill Culberson of Red Star Aero Services in Mobile, AL, flew in dramatic formation maneuvers with Randy Ball's jet.