In the late 1940's a man named Walter Soplata began collecting warplanes on some land in Newbury, Ohio, just east of Cleveland. Today, about 30 engines and 50 aircrafts currently lie in the "plane sanctuary." In the 60's and 70's Soplata hosted anywhere from 20-30 visitors every Sunday for a tour of his collection. The collection has been kept relatively secret since Soplata's passing in 2010.
Soplata was a son of Czech immigrants who supported his penchant for collecting by working in a junkyard in Cleveland and, after that, as a carpenter. He managed to amass an impressive collection of rare aircrafts: a prototype North American XP-82 Twin Mustang, an F-82E Twin Mustang with Allison engines, an early Jet Age Chance-Vought F7U Cutlass, and a prototype of the Douglas AD Skyraider series, to name a few.
Soplata never paid more than a few hundred dollars for a plane. One of Soplata's most prized warbirds was a B-25 bomber that he recovered from Lunken Airport in Cincinnati called "WILD CARGO." A man from Louisiana had been using the bomber to fly exotic animals from city to city, and was forced to make a belly-landing in the airport when the landing gear became inoperative.
Check out these eerie photos of the old planes courtesy of Jayson Shenk, Flickr CC
Hat tip to Air and Space Magazine for the info.
By Xan Schwartz