Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Carl Sterling BATES was born January 1, 1884.
BATES, one of Iowa's earliest pilots, was the first person in Iowa, to fly a heavier-than-air aircraft, he also built, flew and sold several aircraft and plans. Foundations of the modern hang gliding movement are traced in part to the popular Chanute style bi-plane that he spread with his articles to the public, as well as providing plans for homebuilders to build the biplane hang glider.
In 1898 at age 14, BATES built and flew a hang glider. In April 1909 he authored a Popular Science how-to article on hang glider construction. He designed an built a monoplane with an engine of his own design in 1911.
BATES is credited with having designed and flown gliders in 1899, and in 1906 he designed and perfected what was said to be the world's first safe-type gasoline-powered airplane equipped with elevator, three-point landing gear, an air-cooled motor, metal propeller and wing rudders, the basic essentials found in airplanes today. He devoted much effort in his early flying days to inventions which promoted stabilized flight. Later inventions included various planes and more recently, helicopters, and he is credited with inventing numerous other things outside the aeronautical field. His entire life was devoted to creative work.
BATES tested and flew his designs at Cicero Field before the airport officially opened. His monoplane demonstrated, and crashed on the same day when the field opened on 4 July, 1911. The aircraft was later rebuilt with a 3-cylinder Poyer engine by HEATH. An example of a 1912 BATES monoplane is in the EAA Airventure Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It was purchased in 1918 and stored in a barn until it's restoration in 1957.
In 1912, BATES sold his company, the BATES Aeroplane Company, to Edward Bayard HEATH. His company, the E. B. HEATH Aerial Vehicle Co produced the popular Heath Parasol aircraft. After changing ownership several times, the company switched products to the emerging kit electronics market, becoming Heathkit.
For many years BATES resided in Chicago and circa 1955-56 went to live with relatives in Clear Lake, Iowa. died August 29, 1956, in an Iowa City hospital after an operation which followed a long illness. He was interred at Clear Lake Cemetery.
In 2002 Carl S. BATES was inducted in the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame.
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