Restored P-51C “Lope’s Hope 3rd” Performs First Engine Test [Video]

On Thursday, AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, MN performed the first post-restoration engine test for Texas Flying Legends Museum’s P-51C-10NT S/N 43-24907.

The airframe, which never saw combat and was used for training during and after WW2, now wears the colors of 42-103585 “Lope’s Hope 3rd” flown by Lt. Donald Lopez of 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 75th Squadron. Lopez scored 5 victories in WW2’s China-Burma-India theater before becoming a test pilot and finally deputy director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, a position that he held until his passing in 2008.

Thursday’s engine runs “went beautifully” and saw the Merlin V-1650 fire up after only a few revolutions. A total of three tests were conducted: the first two, which lasted for 30 seconds and around two minutes, respectively, were reportedly performed as part of the process of getting all the air out of the coolant system. The third test saw the machine taxi out to a taxiway so it could be run at higher RPMs.

Click below to check out photos and a brief video of the first test.

Mark hooks up the tow bar.

Posted by AirCorps Aviation on Monday, October 9, 2017

 

The Mustang is checked over very carefully to be certain it is ready to run.

Posted by AirCorps Aviation on Monday, October 9, 2017

 

Mark let it run for 30 seconds then shut it down. Three runs were made, the second one was for just under 2 minutes….

Posted by AirCorps Aviation on Monday, October 9, 2017

 

The sound, sight, and smell of a Merlin running is truly a visceral experience – especially for everyone who loves warbirds. We can’t wait for the test flight!

Posted by AirCorps Aviation on Monday, October 9, 2017

 

What an exciting day for all involved! P-51C Lope's Hope 3rd first engine run video! Texas Flying Legends Museum Vintage V12's

Posted by AirCorps Aviation on Monday, October 9, 2017

 
(via AirCorps Aviation)