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Showing posts from June, 2006

Amazing Collection

In the good old USA we see a variety of aircraft collections displayed in various settings. Big or small these collections may be in spotless hangars with painted floors in big cities or grass airfields with dirt floored hangars out in the middle of the country. One well known collection, but not highly published, is Walter Soplata's collection in Ohio. A recent forum thread about his collection was posted on the WIX forum. Reprinted here is an article from my friend Randy who visited the collection. Enjoy this unique story about the quiet and private collector from Ohio.

Walter Soplata Collection Visit Report
Randall Haskin - July 2002

I had a chance to visit the Walt Soplata farm this past week...a very interesting experience.
For those who don't know about the Soplata Farm, Mr. Soplata is a junk collector who also happens to share an affinity for airplanes. The results of his 50-years of saving airplanes from the scrap heap and smelter are resting next to his house in Newbury…

Feel the power...

Well.... not quite.... one more picture taken by Ross.... Fun shot of the powerfull end of the 170.

Just a normal Saturday?

My Saturday started out looking like a good morning to fly. As I arrived at the airport several RVs and a Swift were launching off for some formation flying. A couple other friends were just about to take off too. So I pulled the 170 out to fly. As I headed west I noticed a low layer of clouds off in the distance. Come to find out the formation decided to return to the airport as well as my other friends! The cloud layer was moving toward the airport. I crossed over the top of the airport to enter the landing pattern and decided to let the other traffic land and flew out east a few miles. Still hazy but clear to the east. I landed and parked at Geezer HQ. After visiting with some friends for about an hour we launched off again. I chased my friend Phil in his Champ... well.... the chase didn't last long since he was flying at 80 MPH! I put in twenty degrees of flaps to stay in formation with him! When I broke off the formation to head back toward the airport I noticed the grey outl…

Luscombe on boats

This great picture came in from Kelly of his Luscombe on floats. Based in Idaho this 90hp Luscombe was built up as a floatplane but just recently was mounted on floats. Looks like they are being put to good use!

Breakfast Flight

Dad and I flew up to Gainesville (40 miles North) to the Texas Antique Airplane Assoc. Flyin for breakfast Saturday morning. We usually spend the weekend up in Gainesville but I decided since I just spend the weekend before out in the heat I would only fly up for breakfast. When we left mid-morning there were about 130 airplanes in attendance. I hope to post a photo gallery soon. Above is a shot of my 170 next to a 1952 model 170 that lives in Denton. It was a nice flight up and back... and just enough time to walk the flightline and visit with a few friends.

Give me an A

News is out that Gerry Beck's Tri-State Aviation has flown their new build A model P-51! As progress was being made over the past few years pieces of the airframe have been displayed at Oshkosh. This year it should stand out in the crowd of D models at Oshkosh.

CA Trip Pictures

I took some time this evening to sort some of my pictures from the trip. Click here to see pictures from my visit to the Sonoma area. As I mentioned in another post I made a stop by the Castle Air Museum. Click here for those pictures. Hope to have the Merced gallery up in the next day or two. If you have any comments on the pictures feel free to click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this post.

CA trip - day three

On Saturday morning I set my alarm so that I could make it to the airport early to shoot some pictures in the morning sun. Sounds different to be on vacation and setting my alarm but, it is all about the airplanes! There were about 50-60 airplanes on the field as of Friday. It sounds like in years past there were as many as 1000 airplanes in attendance! Not all were antique airplanes but a good many of them were. The steady stream of incoming airplanes made for many opportunities to shoot pictures of the arrivals. My quick count of airplanes on Saturday was about 150-160 that flew in.
California has many climates that seem to exist within just one part of the state. Merced is south and east of the San Francisco area. The local area is very flat but off to the east the Siearra Nevada Mountains show off their snowy peaks. The sun heated up the event and by mid-day is was up into the 90's. Just Thursday I was in the Sonoma area enjoying the temps in the 70's and 80's! The Mer…

CA Trip - Day Two

Friday was a nice drive from Sonoma to Merced. It was cool enough to drive with the windows down most of the time as I drove by all the vinyards. The temps climbed quickly as I made it down toward the flat valley down near Merced.
Nearing Merced I noticed a sign to the Castle Air Museum. Couldn't pass up an aviation museum! This outdoor museum is in a clean, nicely groomed grass field and on display are most of the military bombers and transports from World War Two to the Cold war. Watch for a link to these pictures in a future post.
At merced the antique airplanes trickled in as I walked around the warm ramp... parked on the ramp were a very nice Curtiss Robin, Monocoupe, 450 Stearman, C3 Stearman. The Mustang painted as Hell-Er Bust came in early afternoon.
About 3:00 I went and checked into the hotel to cleaned up for the evening dinner. There were about 50-60 people that ate the "early bird" dinner. As the sun set the groups gathered under the airplanes and watch som…

CA Trip - Day One

One of my goals this year was to attend an airshow/flyin that was new to me. The Merced Antique Airplane Flyin was my pick. I launched off early Thursday morning for my planned trip to California. The United Airlines flight I was on was direct from DFW to SFO. The flight being over three hours long included an inflight movie. King Kong was the show for the flight and
since I had already seen it I was taking naps inbetween some of the scenes I liked. At one point I was awakened to loud exclaimations of four letter words! The elderly couple behind me was obviously surprized by one of the startling scenes in the movie. Then it happend again! What I realized next was it was not the old man... it was the old women who had the colorful mouth! After a few minutes of her colorful language I had to work hard to ignore her. As we started our decent info SFO the flight attendant announced that when we arrived to please stay in our seats for there was a medical emergancey! Most of the airplane wai…