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The B-25 in the Backyard

My Father's Historic Airplane Sanctuary

Wally Soplata (author)

ISBN: 9781476680668

Publication Date: Aug 2020

Format: Paperback

Only in America could Walter Soplata, the son of penniless Czech immigrants, accomplish so much by single-handedly saving historic aircraft from World War II and other periods. The story of a workaholic father and his aviation obsessed son, this book records the accomplishments of a rare and unique bird, just like the many airplanes he saved.
£36.95

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  • Full Description
  • More Information
  • Table of Contents
  • Author Biography
  • Customer Reviews
Only in America could Walter A. Soplata, the son of penniless Czech immigrants, accomplish so much by single-handedly saving historic aircraft from World War II and other periods. After a childhood spent dreaming about having his own airfield, Soplata worked in scrapyards taking apart hundreds of WWII aircraft. Shocked to see rare or unusual pieces on their way to the recycling furnace rather than a museum, Soplata began collecting, saving and restoring whatever he could afford.

Walter eventually collected nearly 20 complete aircraft and countless pieces of others, and one of his Corsair fighter planes included the experimental F2G Corsair #74 that won the Cleveland National Air Races in 1947. Among the other priceless aircraft he rescued was an experimental XP-82 Twin Mustang, an F-82E Twin Mustang, an X-prototype Skyraider, a stainless steel BT-12 and an F7U Cutlass jet fighter plane. Once, in an extreme case of doing whatever it took, Soplata's limited income necessitated him hauling the Cutlass fuselage by stuffing it inside a junked school bus for its 600-mile journey home. The story of a workaholic father and his aviation obsessed son, this book records the accomplishments of a rare and unique bird, just like the many airplanes he saved.
Illustrations 90 photos
Pages 236
Dimensions 254 x 178 x 12
Date Published 30 Aug 2020
Publisher McFarland
Subject/s Aircraft: general interest   Biography & True Stories  
  • Preface
  • 1. No Place Like Home
  • 2. Airplane Siblings
  • 3. Sky King
  • 4. Scraping By
  • 5. The Banana Bus
  • 6. Walter the Conqueror
  • 7. Heavy Metal
  • 8. The Mother-In-Law
  • 9. Wild Cargo
  • 10. The Flying Zoo
  • 11. The Little Six That Could
  • 12. Wings of the Night
  • 13. Treasure Hunting
  • 14. On the Outside Looking Up
  • 15. Chicago Clone
  • 16. Plane Crazy
  • 17. Delusions of Flight
  • 18. Plane Folks
  • 19. Along for the Ride
  • 20. High Hopes
  • 21. Carrying a Load Not Measured in Pounds
  • 22. A Hollywood Part
  • 23. As Is, Where Is–The Fate of the Hunted
  • 24. "Your Place"
  • 25. In the Grip of Obsession
  • 26. Mother Load
  • 27. Chasing the Dream
  • Epilogue: Live and Let Fly
  • Appendix I: Walter Soplata's Airplanes: Where Are They Now?
  • Appendix II: Aviatrix Marge Hurlburt's Hidden Treasure: Air Race Corsair Lucky Gallon
  • Appendix III: The Global Reach of Walter Soplata's Airplanes: Lockheed Neptune #40436
  • Sources
  • Bibliography
  • Aircraft Make and Model Index
  • General Index
Wally Soplata spent the majority of his Air Force flying career as an Instructor Pilot (IP) teaching in T-37s, T-38s and C-141s. Following his Air Force retirement as a lieutenant colonel, he enjoyed a second flying career with a major airline flying the Boeing 727, 757, 767, 777 as well as the Douglas DC-10 and Airbus A300/A310. After retiring from airline flying as a Boeing 767 Captain, he continues flying a variety of General Aviation aircraft as a flight instructor. He lives in Collierville, Tennessee.

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