Like a meteor in the sky, this Air Force F-86D fighter interceptor streaks across the night sky leaving a trail of flame against the darkened horizon while its pilot, a modern "watchman," keeps vigil above the sleeping town below. These North American F-86D interceptors form an integral part of the USAF's defense ring around the country. Powered by a General Electric J47-17 turbojet engine with an afterburner, which provides the aircraft with over 30 percent more power for quick climb to intercept an enemy, this plane is capable of getting to combat altitudes in less than 10 minutes from "alert" hangers at USAF bases all over the country. The plane is designed to take off at night or in any kind of weather to seek out and destroy an enemy bomber. Cutting in the afterburner adds additional fuel in the aft section, which result in the exhaust flame seen at the tail of the plane. This afterburner, often called a blowtorch with a brain, is an electrically controlled device which automatically operates to obtain maximum performance under varying flight and operating conditions. Sudden acceleration, caused by use of the afterburner, caused the blurred effect in the photo which was taken from a jet trainer four miles up over New Jersey.
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