[ Baden Soellingen ]

The Sabre

F rom its conception in 1945 by North American Aviation, and its almost simultaneous development by Canadair, until its death in late 1968, the Sabre was loved and cherished by all who flew it.

Several prototypes were designed and flown in the US prior to 1949, when both the RCAF and the USAF ordered F-86 Sabres from Canadair. Test pilot A.J. Lily flew the first Canadian Sabre F-86-A in August 1949, and was the first to exceed Mach Unity on this machine. In December 1951, the RCAF requested Canadair to incorporate the Canadian built Orenda engine into the Sabre design. Several modifications of the engine over the ensuing years produced the MK-60renda 14 engine with the resultant increased thrust such that an altitude of 40,000 feet could be reached in six minutes.

The arrival of the Sabres represented the military support behind the political decision taken by the Canadian government to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

They landed in sections of three or four in the last stage of exercise Leap Frog IV exactly 48, 46.6 N by 8 53 E in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg West Germany, near the small village of Soellingen. Three weeks later before a crowd of NATO dignitaries, their low formation fly-past marked the official opening of No 4 Wing. The Base became RCAF Baden-Soellingen, the home of 4(F) Wing, equipped with three Squadrons ofF-86 Sabres (414,422, and 444 Squadrons) and later a complement of T-33 jet trainers.

There were ten years of Sabres flying high into the wild blue yonder. Since American Sabres were tied up in Korea, Canada's 300 first line aircraft made up one of the strongest contributions to NATO.

Each of Canada's four wings had three squadrons of Sabres until 1957 when the decision was made to replace one squadron in each wing with the CF- 100 all weather fighter. This was intended to boost the all-weather defensive role. 414 Sabre Squadron history was brought to a close in July 1957 as the Squadron was disbanded to make room for 419 (AW) Squadron. On February 28, 1963 at 23:59 hours, W/C Roussell as the last O.C. of 444 (F) Squadron, relinquished command. This ended the Squadron's Sabre era.

S/L P.J. Higgs became 422's commander in March 1963, just prior to the end of the Sabre era. The last operational flight was executed on April 11,1963. One week later the F-86's were ferried to Prestwick, Scotland, for disposal

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