BZ's 2009 Chino - Korean Jets

Photo Gallery

Just realized that the title is a misnomer. It should of course, be Korean War Jets! The advent of the jet age quickly obsoleted even the most advanced piston engined fighters. Even though jets began to be used towards the end of WWII, it was the Korean war that ushered in the modern jet age, and where jet vs. jet was the norm.
Nikon D200 w/ 70-300mm VR lens - Bernard Zee


Most famous jet on the U.S. side was the North American Aviation F-86 sabre. Here's the Sabre gassing up prior to its flight.


The classic air battle in the Korean war pitted the F-86 Sabre against the Soviet Mig-15. Even though the planes were evenly matched, the F-86 achieved a much better kill ratio likely due to the better trained and more experienced U.S. pilots.



When Mig-15s was first introduced in the Korean war, it came as a rude surprise to the Americans - who initially suffered heavy fighter and bomber losses. It was not until the introduction of the swept wing F-86 that the situation turned around. It was not known at that time, that the Migs were actually flown by Russian pilots. This fact was not acknowledged by Russia till many decades later.


This is a T-33 Shooting Star - which is a 2 seater trainer derived from the Lockheed P-80. The Shooting Star was the first jet fighter used by the United States, and saw extensive combat in the Korean war.


The P-80s were no match for the Mig-15 though, and were replaced by F-86s when they became available. Migs were very quick with excellent acceleration. Top speed was 668mph. It had a heavy punch for such a small plane - carrying two 23mm cannons, and a 37mm cannon. The cannons were devastating when used against the B-29 bombers.


By the end of the war, Shooting Stars/F-80 were relegated to photo reconnaissance.


The T-33 continued to be used as an advanced trainers for many years.


Here's an F-86 taking off. Gotta try to catch them between the parked airplanes!


As can be seen here, the Mig is a smaller jet than the F-86. Mig-15 had a higher ceiling than the F-86, and accelerated and climbed faster due to a better thrust to weight ratio. The Mig could also turn better above 33,000 ft, and had much heavier hitting weapons than the Sabre. On the other hand, the F-86 Sabrejet was faster at lower altitude, and was more accurate (being a more stable platform, with better radar ranging sights) with its' machine guns. Below 26,000 ft, the F-86 also turned better than the Mig.

In a fight, the Mig could always escape by climbing above the Sabre's reach. If the Mig choose to engage at lower altitudes though, they were at a disadvantage.

The Mig-15 and F-86 were to face off again in 1958 in the little known Taiwan Strait Crisis. The twist here was that F-86s were secretly fitted to carry the then new sidewinder missile. The Mig's ability to stay high above the Sabre unmolested was erased, as the sidewinder proved to be devsatatingly effective against the Migs.


This T-33 looks like it's painted in colors suitable for target towing. Some T-33s retained 2 machine guns for gunnery training, while other countries actually used them as combat aircraft. 'Worf' from Star Trek actually owns and flies of these!


BZ Chino 2009 Gallery Index