F-86L Restoration in West Virginia

51-6078, an F-86D-30 was delivered to the USAF on 17 September 1953 and assigned to 83rd FIS at Paine AFB, Washington. On 11 August 1954 it was sent to McClellan AFB for 'Pullout' conversion (to D-45 spec) and re-emerged as an F-86D-31. Next assignment was to 31st FIS at Larson AFB, Washington on 28 November 1954, reassigning to 322nd FIS on 18 August 1955. On 6 September 1955 the aircraft was again returned to McClellan AFB for storage and then it was put into F-86L conversion. On 7 August 1957 the aircraft was assigned to 3550th Combat Crew Training Wg at Moody AFB, Georgia (photo right). Upon retirement it flew to Wright Patterson AFB on 1 November 1960 and was donated to the town of Milton, West Virginia on 28 December 1960 for display.

In the intervening years, 51-6078 was mounted on a pole in Milton and eventually received a totally inaccurate camouflage paint scheme. Thankfully in 2002 it was decided to repaint the aircraft. The following colour photographs come from Joe Ciccarelli and show the state of the aircraft in July 2002.


Due to display of the aircraft outdoors, silver paint finish is being applied, rather than natural metal. Once work began progress was swift.

Loaned cherry picker enabled restoration team to reach those 'hard to get at' places without the need to take '078 from its pedestal.

Restoration assistance is being given by local W Va ANG volunteers.

Almost there........

The hard part finished. Just markings to apply. I'll bring you photos of that as soon as it's done.




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