The Soplata Airplane Sanctuary

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Njaco, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
    Staff Member Moderator

    Feb 19, 2007
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    Animal Control Officer
    Southern New Jersey
    There was a thread on this from a few years ago but the links have gone dead. So we'll repost with new links and pics. This stuff is amazing!

    2010 - 12/10 - Aircraft Collector Remembered for Heroic Quest to Save Aircraft

    The Soplata Airplane Sanctuary | History of Flight | Air Space Magazine

    DESPITE HIS HUMBLE BEGINNINGS as the penniless son of Czech immigrants, Walter Soplata, amassed an extraordinary collection of warbirds. Walter Soplata rarely paid more than a few hundred bucks for an airplane. In the early 1960s, a warbird’s price was usually determined by whatever its weight would bring at the scrapyard. Regardless of his dismal financial situation, when Mr. Soplata pined for a particular treasure, it was likely he would get one.

    Rare among the rare, one of the Corsairs was the F2G, race No. 74, which took first place in Cleveland’s 1947 Thompson Trophy Race with Navy war hero Cook Cleland bending the throttle. Another stock FG-1D is possibly the only surviving Corsair to have flown in combat in WWII. As rare as F-82 Twin Mustangs are, Mr. Soplata had two. His AD Skyraider is an X-prototype. His P2V is the only surviving ski-configured Neptune from a famed Navy expedition to explore Antarctica in the mid 1950s. The list goes on.

    Currently, Jerry Yagen has returned one of Mr. Soplata's B-25s, Wild Cargo, to the sky and it recently flew in a large formation of B-25s honoring the last surviving Doolittle Raiders. Like the B-25, two Corsairs and both Twin Mustangs are actively being restored for flight. Despite Mr. Soplata's success in saving such aircraft, he endured decades of criticism for keeping his aircraft outdoors. People realize now that the planes would not even exist without his visionary efforts to save them from the fate of the scrap man’s torch.

    Walter A. Soplata, known for his rare and unusual airplane collection, died November 5, 2010 at age 87.

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  2. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

    Oct 12, 2011
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    Aircraft Engineer
    Fascinating Chris, never heard of the guy. Good on him for at least saving them from being scrapped. What has happened to his aircraft since he died?

    This reminds me of a fella here in my country who did the same here, having rescued a Hudson, P-40, Mosquito and a heap of other stuff from scrap yards and still has most of it stored on his property in a rustic shed. People have been hounding him for years to give his collection up, especially the Mosquito, but his response is usually a polite but firm "F*ck Off!"

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