The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, is the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the world. The Museum’s Great Gallery displays several jet fighters of the 1950s.
Following World War II, the Soviet Union developed the MiG-15. It was first flown in 1947 and went into service in 1949. According to the display:
“The appearance of MiG-15s—flown by North Korean, Soviet, and Chinese pilots—put a stop to daylight bombing raids by U.S. Air Force bombers during the Korean War. MiG-15s were also involved in the first jet-versus-jet dogfight, when four MiGs encountered four Lockheed F-80s over Korea on November 1, 1950. Soon after, American F-86 Sabre jet fighters were deployed in Korea.”
The Museum’s MiG-15 was acquired from China and carries the markings of the communist Chinese air force.
The MiG-15 has a top speed of 688 mph, a range of 1,156 miles with external tanks, and a service ceiling of 50,853 feet.
Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mark VI
Built by North American, the F-86 Sabre is known for its combat performance during the Korean War. Development of the F-86 began during World War II as a straight-wing Navy plane called the FJ-1 Fury. However, captured German research showed that the swept-wing concept allowed higher speeds. According to the display:
“Starting in December of 1950, the Russia-made MiG-15 and the F-86 met in combat over Korea. With superior training, experience, and aircraft performance, Sabre pilots posted a ten-to-one victory over the similar MiG-15.”
Canadair built 1,815 F-86s which were designated as CL-13B.
The F-86 has a top speed of 606 mph, a cruising speed of 489 mph, a range of 850 miles, and a service ceiling of 54,000 feet.
Vought XF8U-1 Crusader
The Vought F-8 Crusader was a carrier-based, supersonic jet fighter designed for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Known as “The Last of the Gunfighers” because it was the last American fighter designed with guns as its primary weapon. The Museum’s Crusader, built in 1955, was one of two prototypes.
The Crusader had a top speed of 1,013 mph (Mach 1.7), a cruising speed of 568 mph, a ceiling of 42,300 feet, and a range of 1,280 miles.
Lockheed F-104C Starfighter
The F-104 was America’s first operational Mach 2 fighter. It entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 1958 and saw service in the Vietnam War. A total of 2,578 Starfighters were built.
The Starfighter has a top speed of 1,320 mph (Mach 2), a cruising speed of 575 mph, a ceiling of 58,000 feet, and a range with external tanks of 1,250 miles.
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