Carl H. Duede


- Carl Duede 70, of Stuart, first pilot to fly airmail in Iowa, died Tuesday at his home. Also the first Iowan to make a successful motorless glider flight. Duede made his last flight as a pilot in 1919. (AP Wirephoto)
Newsclipping Courtesy of Harold Duede

Carl H. Duede


     The skeleton of this ancient airplane, built by a pioneer Iowa flier in 1915, became public property recently.
     Covered with muslin, equipped with an engine and filled with gasoline, this strange contraption actually flew when it was in use back in 1915. It was presented to the Iowa Department of history and archives by Evert (Hud) Weeks (left), Des Moines collector, and Mrs. Carl Duede, Stuart, widow of the man who built the plane and who was one of the nation's first pilots. Accepting it for the state was Claude Cook, department curator.
      Weeks, an ardent collector and student of antique aircraft, said that is was "the oldest remaining, original, Iowa-built aircraft." Weeks learned of the Duede plane last fall when a Des Moines car collector told him "I think there are some parts of an old airplane in a barn near Stuart."
     Mrs. Duede knew of the dismantled plane, but had not seen it for many years. Weeks corresponded with her and last May he came to Stuart and rummaged through a wrecked shed. The roof had collapsed. In the wreckage he found the airplane.      Not long after Duede had built the plane in 1915, he hit a fence and smashed the propeller. He dismantled the craft and stored it in buildings on the farm where he did much of his flying. The engine had been sold, but Weeks learned that much of the original work had been done in a Stuart machine shop. The shop had also fallen in disrepair. But in the wreckage of this building he found the gas tank and throttle controls of the plane. In another old shed on the Duede farm he found the steering wheel and the landing gear.
     Carl Dued died last September. One of the country's first fliers. He built a working glider in 1907 and made his first powered airplane in 1912. With the outbreak of World War I, he volunteered as a civilian instructor for army pilots. He was one of about 150 experienced fliers available. He later flew Iowa's first air mail, carrying 100 copies of the old Des Moines Capitol newspaper from Des Moines to Guthrie Center on June 9, 1919.
     Duede was an "Early Bird', one of an exclusive group of pilots who soloed before December 17, 1916.
Newsclipping Courtesy of Harold Duede


This extensive article from the Stuart Herald
was submitted by Harold Duede.
You may read it, in it's entirety, by clicking on"
Carl Duede, Stuart's Pioneer Aviator.

(Scott is Carl's great-great grandnephew.)
     I have some old family geneology files on Carl Duede you might find helpful. First, is a story from when Carl was very young. He and some of his friends constructed an apparatus to which they tied a lantern. They then flew this over the neighborhood. This was during the First Great War, and terrified all their neighbors, who feared it was an enemy airship.
     His first efforts at controlled flight were at the age of 12, when he tried to build a bicycle-powered hot air balloon. His mom sewed him a giant bag of muslin fabric, which was to be the balloon itself. He tied his bicycle to a low tree branch, and removed it's wheels to add a propellor assembly. He found that by pedalling furiously, he could generate thrust. This would have worked beautifully had the bag not burst into flames in the process of drying linseed oil on it over a campfire.
     Carl was fourteen when he built his first powered aircraft. He bought the radiator and engine of a model T from a junkyard and installed them into his fabric-covered frame. He was actually able to fly this contraption, though at heights of around 30 feet, which terrified the cows on neighboring farms. Carl crashed this plane into a fence, breaking the propellor, and rendering the craft useless. After this, he stored the plane in his shed. This was dug up by a collector, who displayed it for a short time. I don't know where it is now.
     After these flights, he apparently delivered a small amount of mail, but stopped flying in 1919. He died at the age of 70.
     All the above comes from articles printed in the Stuart Herald, a newspaper from Davenport, Iowa. The issues are from Wednesday, September 12, 1956, Thursday, December 5, 1957, and the last article is from the Des Moines Tribune Friday, May 11, 1928. The kite story came from an older clipping that I can't find right now, but if I do, I'll site it for you.
Hope that helps!!
-Scott Duede

There is a nice reference to Carl
on the AeroFiles website.
You can visit that reference by clicking on:
Carl Duede
and using the "Find" function on "Duede"
Plan to spend some time on this wonderful site.


Some of Duede's Early Planes and Gliders

Carl H. Duede
       Center--Carl H. Duede, of Stuart, Iowa's pioneer bird man, who made and operated gliders and motored planes nearly twenty years ago.
     Upper left--Crash of home-made airplane equipped with old Velia automobile engine and Ford radiator. Duede was uninijured but it took weeks of saving to get funds to purchase a
new propeller.
     Lower left--Tow flight machine built by Duede, "Bill" Crouch and Olney Wilde. This glider was pulled by a horse and buggy, and soared as high as seventy-five feet from the ground.
     Upper right--Tow flight machine with Duede seated at controls. It had a landing gear made of three bicycle wheels.
     Lower right--Same machine which was later converted into a successful glider by removal of landing gear. Duede is the figure in white overalls. Wilde is at his left.

       Carl H. Duede passed away, September 11, 1956 at his home in which he was born August 9, 1886, in Stuart, Iowa. And so was taken from our midst a fine brave man who gave much of his energy, knowledge, inventiveness and good will to the service of our nation. He worked hard, but with little reward, never asking anything of anyone.
     On the day of his burial in North Oak Grove cemetery, a squadron of National Guard Jet Fighter planes, at the speed of 700 miles an hour, streaked across the sky over Carl's last resting place, dipping their wings in final salute to this great pioneer of the air. And following them, came his old friend and flight buddy, Evert (Hud) Weeks of Des Moines, in an ancient two-seated biplane, paying farewell tribute to Stuart's one and only "Early Bird". Because of men like Carl H. Duede, we soon may visit the moon, and someday travel even the limitless universe beyond.
From A News Clipping, Courtesy of Harold Duede

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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