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In 1898 at was the first to build& fly a man carrying glider in Iowa: Carl Bates (1884-1956)

Carl Bates (1884-1956)
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Carl Sterling Bateswas born in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1884. At age fourteen, he built and flew the first gilder to be flown in Iowa. This was accomplished by having the glider towed by a horse.

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.

Carl attended the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago where he continued his work with gliders under the tutelage of pioneer aviator Octave Chanute. He set up a workshop to build airplanes. When an engine was not available he built one himself, designing a lighter, two-cylinder, 10 to 12 horsepower motor with a smaller, faster propeller.

Improving on the designs of the Wright brothers and Chanute, he devised a single rear vertical rudder and a single horizontal rudder in front and used a tricycle landing gear with a swivel front wheel that made taxiing easier. The new design allowed aircraft, for the first time, to be able to take off from any surface without using a railroad-type track. In 1908 he took one of his new aircraft to Daytona Beach, Florida where he won by default the first ever airplane race, and on the same day lost the first ever race between a car and an airplane.

Later inventions included various planes and also helicopters, and he is credited with inventing numerous other things outside the aeronautical field. His entire life was devoted to creative work.

Bates wrote many articles for Popular Mechanics and aviation magazines. After World War I he initiated a business called Creative Engineering and designed and built several innovative products for industry, home and pleasure. Carl Bates died in August, 1956. In 2002 he was inducted into IA Aviation Museum Hall of Fame.

With great honor we recognize Carl Bates as a Hero of Industry and Technology. Accepting the award on behalf of the Bates family is nephew Ken Miller of Fort Collins, Colorado. 

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