The scientific tourist #267 — the F-100 “Super Sabre”

On display at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, it’s the F-100 “Super Sabre” (mislabeled as a “Super Saber” on-site):

F-100 "Super Saber"

Created as essentially an evolutionary step forward from the F-86 Sabre, the F-100 Super Sabre was the first of the “century series” fighters that reshaped the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War.  Fast for its time, but with tricky handling characteristics, it never really lived up to its hoped-for role in air-to-air-combat.  So it was only temporarily (as an expedient) used as a fighter, subsequently being used as a ground attack aircraft, its numbers then largely being converted to drones for target practice.

From the placard at the site:

The F-100 was the USAF’s first operational aircraft capable of flying faster than the speed of sound in level flight. It made its first operational flight on May 25, 1953 and the first production aircraft was completed in October, 1953. North American built 2,294 F-100s before production ended in 1959.

Originally designed to destroy enemy aircraft in aerial combat, the F-100 later became a fighter-bomber. It made its combat debut during the Vietnam conflict where it was assigned the task of attacking such targets as bridges, river barges, road junctions, and areas used by infiltrating enemy soldiers.

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