Best of 2014: An Ohio Scrap Yard Owner Bought A Bunch Of WWII Era Planes In The Late 1940s To “Save” Them – They’re Now All Rotting In The Woods – Amazing Photos

Best of 2014: An Ohio Scrap Yard Owner Bought A Bunch Of WWII Era Planes In The Late 1940s To “Save” Them – They’re Now All Rotting In The Woods – Amazing Photos

Walter Soplata must have been an interesting dude. After all, the guy went on a pretty amazing buying spree in the late 1940s, buying old warplanes that had participated in WWII in an effort to preserve and save some of them from being chopped up for scrap and otherwise torn to shreds. Ironically, the very planes he sought to preserve decades ago now sit in the woods of Ohio, right where Soplata left them and there doesn’t appear to be any plans to have them saved or restored in any way.

Don’t get us wrong, we applaud the fact that Soplata did what he did and the photos taken by 24- year old snapper Jonny Joo are both haunting and beautiful but what is going to happen to these things now? There’s a B-25 and a host of other craft in there which are slowly returning to nature among the trees. Apparently the family has kept the location of the stash secret since Walter’s passing to keep scrap seekers and the gawking public away. Now that the town of Newbury, Ohio has been revealed as the specific location as to where this stuff is, we’re not sure what that means for the “collection”.

It would seem to us that Soplata’s original mission of preservation could still be upheld, even if it meant using some of the planes as donors for the restoration of others. Think of a couple of these birds as “parts cars” for the fixing of other, more intact craft. The wiring and all of the associated systems have to have degraded to a horrid state at this point and we have no idea what the state of the airframes or other structure would be. Can these even be moved from where they sit?

The photos and story behind this stash is awesome. Click the image below to see all the photos and learn all the background!



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9 thoughts on “Best of 2014: An Ohio Scrap Yard Owner Bought A Bunch Of WWII Era Planes In The Late 1940s To “Save” Them – They’re Now All Rotting In The Woods – Amazing Photos

  1. Gary Smrtic

    Fact is, Soplata did save them. yeah, there were corrosion issues, and some he moved by cutting the wings off rather than taking them apart properly. However, he’s had several aircraft of which no other examples exist anywhere in the world, and he’s sold them, and they are flying agian because of this guy.
    Sometimes junk collectors save the day, even though it doesn’t appear that way outwardly.
    Jim Maloney was another example, and because of the bad press he got, he was also able to attract the right investors to make his collection one of the best in the world (Planes of Fame Museum).


    Today ,12/24/43 :
    Truman appoints Gen. Dwight Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces.

    Back home,Eisenhower knew how to deal with “illegal immigration”.
    He coined the term “wetbacks” to refer to those INTERNATIONAL CRIMINALS that were wading and swimming their way across the Rio Grande into AMERICA.
    He knew how to deal with this problem.
    He found that on the local and county level,there was a little to a lot of blind-eye going on as it pertained to these INTERNATIONAL CRIMINALS.

    So, Ike did it this way:
    He had the Feds watch the state police officers.
    He had the state police officers watch the county police.
    The county sheriffs watched the local police.


    BangShift ,thanks for always respecting and remembering those that served (and are giving) and those that gave their lives for a better United States and a better WORLD.

  3. Blue'67CamaroRS

    “Sorry we can not find the page you’re looking for” is what I got when I clicked the link – a bunch of tabloid b.s. (not Bang Shift)

  4. Keith MacDonald

    What’s up with that link, Brian? It’s basically a 404.
    I wanna see the warbirds!
    Are there enough to see using Google Earth?

    American Car Classics Radio
    Vero Beach

  5. 75Duster

    I hope that someone will be able to restore those aircraft, and use the parts from the aircraft that aren’t restorable on other WWII planes.

  6. Darrin meroniuk

    The b25 has been restored as while as a very rare twin mustang that is nearing the finish point. To my knowlage more than two planes that have come from his save

  7. Tom P

    I found it on Google Earth. Doesn’t look like much until you select a previous year where the leaves aren’t on the trees.
    Go to Newbury OH, set it to show the roads. What it shows as Newbury is west of there, go east and north a mile or so. Follow Route/County Rd/Highway 87 east and it bends between a bunch of lakes. There is a cluster if streets with just numbers, 420-443. See the cool ones….427,428 and 429 (Ford guy!) at 429 look east across the woods to the corner of Owens and Main.

    Go to the 4/7/2012 picture (timeclock button)

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