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Custom Commissioned Giant-Scale

F-86 Sabres

This awesome giant-scale F-86 was custom commissioned by Shailesh Patel, who hired master builder Joe Grice to build seven of these airframes. This Sabre weighs 52 pounds dry and has a length and wingspan of 96 inches (8 feet square). The design was created by Shailesh over several years. We caught up to David and Jason Shulman at Top Gun in 2007, where David recounted the history of this giant-scale turbine jet.

A project of this scale requires specialized teams to work on different aspects of the airplane. As it happened, David Shulman put the various teams into contact with one another. Builder Joe Grice of NorthField, MN, coordinated much of the project.

Power is provided by an AMT Netherlands Olympus HP turbine that generates 52 pounds of thrust. This particular bird, owned by Jim Jensen, is controlled by a JR 10X radio and includes a Duralite Powerbox with redundant batteries. The kit alone costs $20,000, David notes, and the turbine package costs upward of $7,000. The building cost is also a significant factor. As we went to press, Joe Grice had built all 7 that had been commissioned, and had finished four of them. The Kramers used Alsa Corp. automotive paint, 98-percent Chrome color. Vern applied black base paint and then the chrome, and he used PPG Concept paints for the colors. Markings and rivets were supplied by Promark Graphics. It took several weeks just to paint the airplane and put on the rivets. Extra features include speed brakes, scale flaps and an operational opening canopy. The landing gear is completely scalea work of art; all CNC-machined. David notes that it.




The North American F-86 Sabre was the U.S. Air Forces first sweptwing jet fighter, its last true dogfighter and one of the most successful warbirds in military aviation history.It first flew in 1947 and became operational with the Air Force in 1948, and by the time its last squadron was retired in Portugal in 1980, almost 10,000 aircraft in 20 variants had been produced, and it had flown in the air forces of 24 countries.

       The F-86 benefited from German World War II jet fighter development. The Sabre incorporated many technological and design innovations. It was the first jet to have a sweptwing configuration. It was the first to feature a flying tail that enables it to maneuver at high altitudes. It also incorporated full-span leading-edge slats to prevent pitch-up. The F-86s identifying feature was its nose: an open nose inlet that delivered air to the turbojet engine behind the pilot.Standard armament was six .50-caliber machine guns, three on each side of the fuselage near the nose. Variants allowed it to carry two 1,000-pound bombs, 16 5-inch rockets, or 24 2.75-inch rockets. It had a maximum sea-level speed of 687mph, a service ceiling of 49,600 feet and a rate of climb of 8,100 feet per minute (again, at sea level).The Sabre was the jet that defined air-to-air combat in the Korean War. Air Force Gen. William Momyer called it … our best fighter. The F-86 was superior to the enemys best fighter, the MiG-15, in level flight below 30,000 feet and definitely superior at diving speeds greater than mach .95. Sabre pilot Maj. George A. Davis Jr., who racked up 14 victories, was awarded the Medal of Honor when, in 1952, he and his wingman flew to the defense of a group of fighter-bombers being attacked by 12 MiG- 15s. Capt. Joseph McConnell, with 16 victories, became the worlds first jet triple ace. And Americas top ace in the European Theater of Operations in World War II, Col. Francis S. Gabby Gabreski, scored six and a half victories in the F-86 during the Korean War.       Brigadier Gen. Chuck Yeager, USAF (Ret.), a World War II ace and test pilot who was the first to break the sound barrier, said of the F-86, I dearly loved the Sabre, almost as much as I enjoyed the P- 51 from World War II days. It was a terrific plane to fly. Dwight Jon Zimmerman

flies like a dream and is fairly simple to fly. It has a lot of wing area but is also somewhat heavy. You have to land with some throttle. Flying off even an 800-foot paved runway is challenging, Dave notes, because the jet is so big that it really eats up a lot of sky. It is very responsive in flight. It flies comfortably at about 1/3 to 1/2 power, but takeoffs and verticals require full power. With the landing gear deployed, you need to keep about 60 percent throttle to maintain flight. If any readers are in the market for one of these fine airplanes, please contact Joe Grice at grice@myclearwave.net. But note that David advises that fully accessorized, one of these Sabres can cost you as much as $40,000 to $45,000!