August 10, 2006
The Remarkable Mr. Soplata and his Marvelous Machines

Whilst on my daily lunchtime browse through the good ol' Wikipedia, I was staggered to learn that one of four surviving B-36s is a pre-production prototype that is in private hands. On a farm. In Ohio. To a warbird nut, this is akin to learning there was once a fourth great pyramid that was disassembled in Giza and now sits in a rice field somewhere outside Dumas, Arkansas.

Further research led me to discover the story of Mr. Walter Soplata. For something so, well, weird, there's surprisingly little information out there about him. According to this four-year-old usenet entry, he's an eccentric old farmer who over the years has collected dozens of extremely rare warbirds. As you can see by this even older collection of on-site photos, they're all mostly junk, but they're his junk and he seems quite adamant that they remain his and in that condition for as long as he lives.

If you have Google Earth installed, this link provides the exact co-ordinates to the place. Using that, I was able to find it on Google's maps, but can't figure out how to use that to provide a link. Sure enough, it looks like a gigantic pile of airplane junk, up in northern Ohio.

The things you learn by browsing...

Posted by scott at August 10, 2006 01:26 PM

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