Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The early jets

American jet fighter aviation really got rolling with the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star. This two-seat trainer version, the T-33, was what many fighter pilots learned to fly in.

Here's the guardian at the gate--an RF-84F Thunderflash, made by Republic. This reconnaissance fighter flew with the Michigan Air Guard from 1958 until 1971, both from Selfridge and from Detroit Metro Airport.

And this F-84F Thunderstreak also flew out of Detroit Metro from 1958-1960. It's hard to envision nuclear-capable jet fighters like these flying out of that place today, but it was a different world back then.

Finally, we have the North American F-86A Sabre Jet, a personal favorite of mine. This is the jet that dominated the skies over Korea and helped keep a lid on much of Europe.


  1. I Love the 86! It is a great looking aircraft!

  2. The Sabre 65 has the exact same wing as the F86. I hear it rolls nicely, but that is only a rumor as aerobatics are not allowed in it by type certficiate. :-)

  3. Wouldn't you say the main advantage in F86 vs. Mig-15 is the pilot?

  4. I just stumbled across this via a link at Lagniappes Lair. I grew up fascinated by that generation of jets. In 1969, at the age of fifteen, I was at Selfridge for a Civil Air Patrol cadet summer encampment. It was an F-106 base at the time. They had a daily drawing for the big prize. One day I was one of the three or four winners.

    The prize was a ride in a T-33 Trainer.

    Who knows? Maybe even the one you have pictured. I doubt that regulations would allow them to do that today.