Lope's Hope the 3rd | P-51C Mustang

Lope’s Hope the 3rd is one of two warbirds currently under restoration by AirCorps Aviation for the Texas Flying Legends Museum. AirCorps has been generous enough to provide the following images and research.

The original Lope’s Hope the 3rd flew in the 23rd Fighter Group, descendant of the famous Flying Tigers volunteer group, in the China-Burma-India Theater. Lt.Donald Lopez flew the P-51C in the 75th Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group of the 14th Air Force. Lt.Lopez had 5 victories in China and went on to become a test pilot during the jet age and deputy director of the Air and Space Museum. His work with the National Air and Space Museum was instrumental.

The history of this P-51C-5-NT serial number 42-103585 was difficult to track down as the standard serial number, found on the tail of every aircraft, was marked differently due to the use of the plane in China. In the 23rd Fighter Group each squadron was given a block number 150-199 (200 depending on source) to identify their aircraft. Donald Lopez used 194 on his P-40N’s and the P-51C, Lope’s Hope the 3rd. His granddaughter, Laura Lopez had her grandpa’s logbooks which provided the pivotal information to track down the history of the plane.

The air frame used for this restoration belonged to a P-51C-10NT, serial number 43-24907, that never saw combat but instead remained in the United States for training purposes. Those behind the restoration of this beautiful aircraft wanted to honor Donald Lopez for all of his contributions to aviation.

As the restoration goes on more information and images will be put up here on the museum’s site. Be sure to go to the AirCorps Aviation project page on Lope’s Hope the 3rd to see what’s already happened in the restoration of this great piece of history.

The photo of Donald Lopez was made public courtesy of Laura Lopez and the Lopez family collection.

April/May update on Lope’s Hope the 3rd

The folks at Aircorps Aviation celebrated as the wings for Lope's Hope the 3rd rolled of the semi trailer and into the shop. Having just been delivered from Odegaard Wings, the wings are now ready for the landing gear and other assembly before being fitted onto the...

Spring Update on Lope’s Hope the 3rd

Progress on the P-51C Mustang, Lope's Hope the 3rd at AirCorps Aviation, is going along great! The wings are nearing completion at Odegaard Aviation and wiring is underway in the cockpit. Great effort has been made to use the same period style wiring as was used in...

Winter Update on the P-51C

Lope's Hope the 3rd, currently under restoration by AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, MN, is getting closer and closer to restoration. While some parts are still being worked on, recent work on the recovery of original parts was made. Included is an image of the 1944...

July/August Update of the P-51C Mustang Restoration

TFLM's P-51C Mustang, Lope's Hope the 3rd, currently being restored by AirCorps Aviation is getting nearer and nearer completion with many of the smaller details being looked at now. August saw fabrication of some of the final pieces. Click here to read the full...

March/April Update to the P-51C Lope’s Hope the 3rd

Some really exciting progress has been made on the restoration of the P-51C Mustang, Lope's Hope the 3rd. Currently being restored by AirCorps Aviation, this P-51C has gone through an amazing restoration process and just got the Merlin Packard engine fitted in it's...
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