Aug/Sept Lope’s Hope 3rd Update 2017

Texas Flying Legends’
By Chuck Cravens
Texas Flying Legends Museum

View the PDF version here…

The fuselage is lowered onto the wing.

Painting the Wing

Photo from Building the P-51 Mustang – Michael O’Leary – pg 56

North American Aviation ordered camouflage paint deleted from Mustangs and all subsequent fighters and bombers in an order dated January 1, 1944. Part of the order read:

“The wing leading edge of the Mustang will be smoothed and surfaced as outlined in the P-51 B and P-51C Series Repair Manual Report No NA5741, with exception that the camouflage coats will be deleted and aluminized lacquer will be applied over the surfaces. The deletion of the camouflage will eliminate approximately 42 pounds of finish from the B-25 series Airplanes and 16 pounds of finish from the P-51 Series Airplanes. It is anticipated that the removal of the camouflage will also result in materially increased speed.”

Wing Assemblies

This image shows a particularly critical part on Mustangs. The pivot shaft casting is a part that is both difficult to make from scratch and a part that tends to need replacement in service. The small diameter cable attached to the gear leg is the landing gear door timing link cable. It connects the gear strut to a valve that times the sequence of the gear fairing doors throughout the retraction cycle.

Fuselage Work

The Fuselage is Mounted on the Wing

For the final time here in the restoration shop, the wing and fuselage were joined.  They will come apart to truck out to our hangar at the airport once all connections and fillets are fitted.  At that location, Lope’s Hope 3rd ‘s wings and fuselage will be mated permanently, everything will be connected and installed at the hangar, and it will be flight test time!

(or stamps, water slides, placards, stripes and other markings)

ANA is also North American Aviation, but is shown in the arrangement that it appears in their official corporate logo:

A rubber stamp was used to mark the part number on this tubing, identifying it as “ line assembly-combat- fuel pressure system right”.  104 is a part number prefix identifying a part first used on a “B” model. 103 would be “C” model, but because B and C model Mustangs for the most part differed only in which location they were built, many parts were used on both. 109-47896 is the part number of the tube assembly, front crankcase breather.

Normally we see a 109 prefix on a part number for an earlyD model.  There was Tech Order TO 01-60JD-37 for C models produced before 43-24902 mandating a change in oil breather systems.  43-24902 and subsequent serial numbers (like our restoration airframe 43-24907, 5 airplanes later) got the new version on the assembly line. That explains the part number puzzle.  Late Cs and early D models were often on the factory floor at the same time in 1944.  It also explains why our restoration doesn’t have an oil breather hole on the right side as the original Lope’s Hope 3rd had. The TO changed from two outlets to one.

Here is a clip from TO 01-60JD-37 that shows the reason for the change and the serial numbers it applies to.

Squadron Markings and Insignia


The airspeed indicator shows the red line for the never exceed velocity, the yellow arc is the cautionary range and the green line is the upper end of the normal operating range for this airplane.

The upper gauge is the tachometer with the rpm redline and green normal operating range. The lower gauge is a three in one affair with oil temperature across the top and oil pressure on the bottom left, fuel pressure bottom right.


The Big Move to the Hangar

Finally it was time to move Lope’s Hope 3rd out to our hangar for her final assembly.  This is a great sign that the test flight isn’t too far off.

The wing is now also safe on the hangar floor.

Both major parts of Lope’s Hope 3rd are reunited and ready to be assembled for the final time.

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