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John A. Weeks III
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Aviation History And Aircraft Photography
YB-36 Peacemaker
Walter Soplata Collection
Newbury, OH


B-36

The second B-36 produced started as a YB-36. The first two B-36 featured a single tire main landing gear. Those tires were too large for airport runways of that day, so this aircraft was retrofit with a set of 4 tire main gear. This was the first B-36 with the dome style cockpit. This YB-36 was later converted into a production RB-36E, and used in the strategic recon role. It was retired to the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio, in the spring of 1957.

The USAF Museum moved to a new location in 1971. Rather than moving the B-36, a bomber variant B-36 was flown into Dayton to be displayed in the new museum. In fact, the museum building was constructed around that giant airplane. The USAF surplused the B-36 that was at the original museum. While the B-36 was slated to be scrapped, a farmer from near Cleveland named Walter Soplata purchased the B-36, and hauled to his farm. The cut-up B-36 has been sitting outside in the elements laying on the ground since that time. Mr. Soplata is very private, and rarely allows visitors or photos. As a result, the best photo I can get today is an aerial photo from Virtual Earth.

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