• Review: F-86 Sabre From Milviz

    F-86's Performance

    For my flight tests, I used Port Columbus International Airport (KCMH) near Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. because it is where F-86 Sabres were built. When the U.S. became involved in World War II, Port Columbus was one 31 airfields in the country and the only one in Ohio that could handle military aircraft, according to the Port Columbus Airport Authority. It has been modernized several times since then. Airport elevation is 815 feet (249 meters), and its longest runway is 10,125 feet (3,086 meters). As always, I used standard atmosphere, which is 59F (15C) and 29.92 inches (1,013 millibars), and I used the developer's default gross weight of 15,042 pounds, which is about 75 percent of the aircraft's specified maximum gross take-off weight.

    Starting: A five-step startup procedure described in the manual must be followed in the prescribed sequence. The usual keyboard command CTRL/E doesn't start this aircraft.

    Taxiing: The manual doesn't say anything about taxiing. The F-86 began taxiing with 60-percent power, and it taxied at 20 knots with 70-percent power. It turned corners around ramps and taxiways easily, much like a Learjet.

    Taking Off: The take-off checklist calls for holding the toe brakes while deflecting flaps fully and advancing the throttle to 96 percent power, then releasing the toe brakes. Holding the toe brakes in FSX would simply be holding down the period key on the keyboard or applying the parking brake. Rotation should occur between 120 knots and 138 knots "considering various factors," the manual says. Although the manual doesn't specify, airport elevation, aircraft weight, and headwinds are common variables. The Sabre rotated quickly before reaching 120 knots.

    Climbing: The take-off checklist calls for a 10-degree pitch during initial climbout and for retracting gear and flaps after 160 knots and before 185 knots. The higher speed in this range is emphasized with boldface type. I retracted the landing gear shortly after liftoff while the aircraft was doing 130 to 140 knots. They don't seem necessary when there isn't enough runway for landing anymore. I pulled up the flaps at 160 knots. Pitch is difficult to know because the attitude indicator doesn't show degrees of pitch up or down. The manual says "shallow climb" and "steep climb." I relied on what appeared to be about 10 degrees on the instrument and supplemented with my view of the horizon out my left window. At 96-percent power and 10-degree pitch, this aircraft climbed faster than 300 knots and about 3,000 feet per minute. It climbed at a speed more suitable for civilian airspace (such as slower than 250 knots while below 10,000 feet) with 78-percent power. Later I increased power to maximum and watched the aircraft climb at 6,000 feet per minute.

    At 20,000 feet, it was climbing at 235 knots indicated airspeed, which roughly computes to 278 knots true airspeed. The mach meter showed 0.5 mach. At 30,000 feet, it was climbing at 262 KIAS, which roughly computes to 322 KTAS, and 3,000 feet per minute. The mach meter read 0.7. At 40,000 feet, it was climbing at 281 KIAS, or 361 KTAS, and the mach meter showed 0.9. It reached 52,000 feet but with loss of airspeed and stability. Specified ceiling is 45,000 feet.

    Cruising: Between 10,000 and 20,000 feet, the Sabre cruised at 350 KIAS, 380 KTAS, with 95-percent power. At 45,000 feet, it cruised at 297 KIAS, which roughly computes to 377 KTAS, and 0.95 mach. The only time I attained supersonic speed was during a high-speed dive. For realism, supersonic flight over the United States and some other countries would be avoided. Combat simulations would be excepted, of course.

    Turning: This aircraft banks and turns quickly, and it recovers as quickly. I never had a problem maintaining control even during sharp turns.

    Aggressive Maneuvers: In addition to banking and turning easily, the Sabre rolls over and over like a hot dog on greased griddle. It dives, recovers, and loops like an amusement-park ride. It climbed straight up standing on its tail, and it banked sideways on its wing tips. But it never went out of control during any of these aggressive maneuvers. When I forced a high-altitude stall, it wobbled, yawed, and made rumbling noises at 135 knots.

    Descending: This aircraft glides almost forever at zero power. It losses altitude, but it doesn't pitch down or stall. I forced a stall by pitching up during a zero-power glide, and it stalled at 120 knots.

    Approaching: I didn't find a checklist or other specific guidance for final approach and landing, and the official manual says "Refer to landing distance charts in Appendix I for final approach and touchdown speeds at various gross weights and wing leading edge configuration." So I relied on my experiences with similar jets. With full flaps and landing gear, it seemed to want at least 120 KIAS. It doesn't give up airspeed willingly, but its engine spooling seems more pronounced than on the Learjet 45, being slower to respond to throttle advances. When I fell below 120 KIAS on the first approach, the aircraft quickly sank into the woods short of the runway. On subsequent approaches, I was careful to maintain at least 130 KIAS with better success.

    Landing: With a sharp throttle cut over the runway, it comfortably touched down at 115 KIAS, then it slowed quickly and stopped well within Columbus' 10,125-foot runway with spoilers and full flaps. It has no reverse thrusters.

    Overall: Milviz's F-86 Sabre handled like a jet fighter in most respects. While it usually seemed as nimble as modern fighter jets, it seemed obstinate at other times. This powerful aircraft was designed when the aviation industry was still learning about the abilities and limits of jet aircraft. Many design features that are taken for granted today were learned from early fighter jets such as the F-86 Sabre. Without an autopilot, it requires constant grip on the stick. Adding and removing auxiliary fuel tanks and weapons affects its weight and performance, too.

    Without radio-navigation instruments or today's GPS, Sabre pilots were on their own to find their destinations. I'm glad I was paying attention to my surroundings and headings during my test flights, or I might never have found my way back home.

    Because I have never flown a real-world F-86, I cannot attest to the accuracy of Milviz's flight modeling, but I believe it handles as can be expected of fighter jet of the period.

    F-86 by Milviz
    F-86 by Milviz
    F-86 by Milviz
    F-86 by Milviz
    F-86 by Milviz
    F-86 by Milviz
    F-86 by Milviz
    F-86 by Milviz
    F-86 by Milviz

    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Tags: f-86, f86, milviz, sabre

    1. naruto kun's Avatar
      naruto kun -
      Tech support is actually supposed to be via Milviz forums...
    1. n4gix's Avatar
      n4gix -
      The knob on the lower left corner of the gyro compass will rotate the card to whatever magnetic heading you wish to place at the top of the instrument. It is not "fixed" to the N position.

      This comes in handy whenever wishing to set and follow a specific heading with an easier reference point.
    1. usb777's Avatar
      usb777 -
      Where do I get this guy?
    1. Nels_Anderson's Avatar
      Nels_Anderson -
      Quote Originally Posted by usb777 View Post
      Where do I get this guy?
      If you read to the end of the article there is a link to where you can purchase it. All our articles are done this way.
    1. usb777's Avatar
      usb777 -
      Well I found it. Followed the installation to the letter. When I tied to switch to another aircraft this model or another in my library it locked up my program. What did I miss? Now I feel like I wasted my money. I have hundreds of other aircraft that have functioned perfect dating back to 2004 FS9 and recently FSX. I know FSX is tricky in windows 7 but I have everything else working the only thing I did not get was the EZCA. Anything about that? I would just as soon play with the aircraft since now I own it.
    1. naruto kun's Avatar
      naruto kun -
      Read my first reply....I made some fixes which i posted in the support forums after i was done with the Service Pack.
    1. usb777's Avatar
      usb777 -
      Quote Originally Posted by naruto kun View Post
      Tech support is actually supposed to be via Milviz forums...
      At $35.00 a shot Why would I have to recofg. anything anyway? Can I get my mony back? Ya, good luck.
    1. bdliddicoa's Avatar
      bdliddicoa -
      Thanks, Bill. I really appreciate your "test pilot reports" on how to fly the planes. Very helpful to me.
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