A big day in the restoration process for the P-51C-10NT, Lope’s Hope 3rd, occurred on October 5, 2017. The Merlin was run for the first time in the airframe and things went beautifully. Mark Tisler turned it over and it only took a couple revolutions before the V-1650 fired up and smoothed out.
The guys prepare everything for the first test run inside the hangar.
Mark hooks up the tow bar.
Lope’s Hope is on the apron ready to unhook and test start.
The Mustang is checked over very carefully to be certain it is ready to run.
Here you can see the Army Air Force tail number 2103585 that was painted on before the black squadron paint was applied to the tail section.
Mark climbs in as Erik walks by in front.
Mark let it run for 30 seconds then shut it down. Three runs were made, the second one was forjust under 2 minutes. Both of those were part of the process of getting all the air out of the coolant system. On the third longer run, Mark taxied out to taxiway Bravo to run the Merlin up to higher RPMs.
Denzil is helping burp the coolant system after the second run.
Denzil climbs down after adding coolant.
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!
The team in front of Lope’s Hope 3rd on a great day!