Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
SharePoint
 

AAF Pilot, Smithsonian Deputy Lopez Dies: Donald S. Lopez, an Army Air Forces pilot of World War II, engineer, test pilot, author, historian, and a longtime leader of the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum, died March 3 after suffering a heart attack. He was 84. After winning his wings, Lopez was sent to China to join the 23rd Fighter Group, formed from the Flying Tigers, flying P-40s and later P-51s. He later wrote of his experiences in the war in a critically-acclaimed memoir, Into the Teeth of the Tiger. Lopez also flew early jet fighters as a test pilot at Eglin Field, Fla., and the F-86 in combat during the Korean War. He retired from the Air Force in 1964 and went on to work as an engineer for Bell Labs on the Apollo and Skylab manned space programs. In 1972 he joined the staff of the National Air & Space Museum, serving as deputy director from 1983 to1990 and continuing as a senior advisor and advisor emeritus until 1996 when the museum installed Lopez as deputy director again, following the Enola Gay exhibit controversy.