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 Carl Stephen Bates

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Carl Stephen Bates

Birth
Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, USA
Death 27 Aug 1956 (aged 72)
Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa, USA
Burial Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, USA
Memorial ID 111289170 View Source
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Aviator, inventor. Carl S. Bates became interested in aviation as a young boy. In 1898 at the age of only fourteen, Bates designed, built, and (with the help of a tow from a horse) flew a single-person glider; it was the first recorded instance of a heavier-than-air passenger craft being flown in the state of Iowa. After graduating from Clear Lake High School in 1903, he studied at the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago under the guidance of aviation pioneer Octave Chanute.

Bates continued designing motorless aircraft and wrote an article entitled "How to Make a Glider", which was published in the April 1909 issue of Popular Mechanics. The article was subsequently reprinted in the first volume of The Boy Mechanic: 700 Things for Boys to Do. The illustrated tutorial proved so popular with readers that hundreds of examples of the "Popular Mechanics Glider" were built, some of which survive in air and space museums to this day. Bates went on to contribute several more how-to articles to Popular Mechanics and various aviation magazines over the next five decades.

Bates also designed and built powered aircraft, founding the Chicago-based Bates Aero Works in 1907. When no suitably lightweight engine could be found to power his brainchild, an experimental monoplane, he devised a two-cylinder, 10 to 12 horsepower air-cooled motor with a small metal propeller. He combined this with a tricycle landing gear, swivel front wheel, horizontal front rudder, and vertical rear rudder -- a design which allowed the craft to take off from any surface without the use of a long track. He took a prototype of this plane, christened the "Bates I", to Daytona Beach, where he pitted it against a Buick racer in one of the earliest documented automobile versus airplane races. (The plane lost.) Bates sold his company to aircraft engineer Edward Bayard Heath in 1912.

After World War I, Bates established Creative Engineering, a laboratory that specialized in new product design. Among the lab's inventions were motorized vehicles, toys, power tools, and kitchen gadgets. At the time of his death in 1956, Bates was working on the development of a small helicopter.

In 2002, Carl S. Bates was inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame.


Inscription

DESIGNER AND CONSTRUCTOR OF
FLYING MACHINES
AEROPLANES, HELICOPTERS, PROPELLERS, LIGHT MOTORS

INVENTOR

BUILT & FLEW THE FIRST GLIDER IN IOWA - 1898

Gravesite Details

Several internet sources erroneously list his middle name as "Sterling", but he signed his World War I draft registration card "Carl Stephen Bates".


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