Walter Soplata, a carpenter who saved numerous World War II aircraft and engines from the cutting torch and amassed a legendary collection on his Ohio property,
died on Friday, November 5
, at age 87. His son, Wally,
wrote about his father
in the November 2007 issue of
Air & Space
. Today, he writes: "Like Orville and Wilbur inventing the airplane, Jimmy Doolittle leading B-25s off the deck of the
, or Burt Rutan sending a homebuilt into space, Dad's vision was full of risks and involved thinking far outside the box. Who else would haul an F7U Cutlass by stuffing it in an old school bus, or use the family Suburban to bring home a pair of B-25s? I sometimes see Dad as a poor man's version of Howard Hughes: a visionary, yet also a man chained down by an obsession. Unusual in many ways, it was Dad's fearlessness of being different that enabled him to save the many historic aircraft that he did."