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Lope's Hope 3rd

By Kayla Floyd

  • Lopes Hope 3rd
    Photo by Scott Slocum

July 11, 2019 - Donald Lopez was born in 1923, and when Pearl Harbor was attacked, he immediately enlisted. Flying 101 missions, he downed five Japanese airplanes, four in a P-40 (Lope's Hope) and one in a P-51 (Lope's Hope 3rd). Lope's Hope 3rd was a P-51C that flew in 1944 as part of the 23rd Fighter Group, which descended from the American Volunteer Group. AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota recently restored a P-51C as a tribute to Lopez, painting it in the markings of the original Lope's Hope 3rd. Many of the parts for the restoration, such as the windscreen glass, had to be custom made. The restored airplane took to the air on October 17, 2017. Lope's Hope 3rd will be presented by the Don Lopez family and Smithsonian representatives at Warbirds in Review on Thursday, July 25, 2019, at AirVenture and will be found in the Warbirds area all week.

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