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F-86 Sabre

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F-86A Sabre
(Photo courtesy of Duncan Curtis)  This is a picture of 48-160, one of the aircraft involved in the fatal midair collision, f-86 sabre midair collision, f-86 crash, yuma, arizona
Actual plane - one of the Sabres involved in the midair collision. (Photo courtesy of Duncan Curtis)

F-86A-7NA s/n 49-1221:
On March 17, 1956, four aircraft took off at approximately 1pm on a local aerial gunnery mission . . . only two returned.

F-86A Sabre, of 115th FIS CA (Van Nuys) ANG, was lost after a mid-air collision with fellow F-86A, s/n 48-160.  The accident occurred on the bombing range a few miles south of Colfred, AZ, during an aerial gunnery training mission (attacks on a towed target) from Yuma AFB.  The pilots of both fighters were killed;  1/Lt William Clark Modes (aircraft 49-1221) and Capt. William O’Wesney (aircraft 48-160). 

Report excerpt: “Both aircraft exploded at the time of the collision and wreckage was scattered over approximately ten square miles.”

Note:  We found this crash site by complete accident while on our way to find a TF-104G Starfighter on the Yuma Bombing Range.  We found the nose and cockpit only on that day.  This site was entirely untouched, except for a young rattlesnake who had made the Sabre his home.  In wreckchasing, you can't possibly ask for better luck than stumbling across this beautiful treasure.   


The nose character of the F-86 is very recognizable here.  Intake and fifty-caliber gun ports.  F-86 Sabre crash site, bombing range, arizona.
Unmistakable! Sabre nose, jet intake and machine gun ports
This was a virgin site - nobody had disturbed anything, f-86 crash site, sabre crash near yuma, bombing range midair collision, f-86 midair collision
This was a virgin site - nobody had disturbed anything
F-86 Sabe crash, This picture shows the number 49 stopping abruptly -- adding to the mystery
Partial serial, 49-???. We now know, thanks to Duncan Curtis, the identity of this aircraft.

A very special thanks to Duncan Curtis for helping us identify this accident within just a few days of finding it.  Duncan's Sabre Site is a must-see on the internet! 


F-86A 48-0160 destroyed in the collision. (photo-Craig Fuller)
Another beautiful photo of F-86A 48-0160, involved in this tragic mid-air. (photo-Craig Fuller)
f-86 crash site, sabre crash near yuma, bombing range midair collision, f-86 midair collision, arizona
50 caliber breech and barrel
f-86 crash site, sabre crash near yuma, bombing range midair collision, f-86 midair collision, arizona
Rudder pedal
f-86 crash site, sabre crash near yuma, bombing range midair collision, f-86 midair collision, arizona
Serial with canopy
Data plate
F-86 data plate
Duncan Curtis identified this as the Class A 1500v-amp, single-phase electrical inverter
Another F-86 Data Plate
Lift a part up from the desert and stare straight into a viper's face - this image will truly stop your heart, F-86 Sabre
Careful now!! This Sabre part had a young rattle snake underneath
This feisty trouble-maker was ready to ruin our day, just another misfit sitting under a piece of big aluminum waiting to stike!   We always leave them alone, because it's their neirborhood, not our's
A slithery fellow living in a Sabre
F-86 Sabre, Barry Goldwater Range
A fascinating site!
This is .serious wreckage right in front of you, F-8t6 Sabre Jet
Sabre wreckage
48-160 in the foreground, Van Nuys ANG, destroyed in midair collision with 49-1221 at 15,000 feet, March 17, 1956.  (photo courtesy of Mark Reynosa and the Air Nat'l Guard, USAF)
Another shot of one of the actual Sabres involved in the midair collision
F-86 Sabre wreckage, Data Plate - F-86  mangled avionics, F-86 crash, yuma f-86 sabre crash, midair collision between two f-86 sabre jets
Data Plate - F-86 mangled avionics
A Sabre jet with her full ammo load - .50 caliber shells
Fifty-cal shells, she was armed when she went down.
F-86 SABRE, CRASH,
Data plates can help you identify a wreck more than anything.
F-86 Sabre - the business end of a fighter jet - toggle switches for rockets other weapons, F-86 crash, yuma f-86 sabre crash, midair collision between two f-86 sabre jets
Weapons station - toggle switches for rockets, etc.

More F-86 pics available.   Click the Sabre image below for Page Two of our crash photos.


Click here for Page Two of the F-86 Sabre Photos
Click here for Page Two of the F-86 Sabre Photos