Popular Mechanics Glider
Carl Sterling Bates of Clear Lake - 1898
standing in front of the first man-carrying glider in Iowa
from Iowa Department of Transportation

Popular Mechanics Glider
Popular Mechanics Glider
Designed by Carl S. Bates
Published in Popular Mechanics Magazine, 1909
Courtesy of Emilis Prelgauskas, 6-8-06

The Popular Mechanics Glider
via email from Emilis Prelgauskas, 6-8-06
      A refurbished-for-display Popular Mechanics glider is in the Sailplaners Museum at Monarto, South Australia
      The airframe is believed to have been built in 1924 in Loxton South Australia by Karl Hoffmann for an air scout troop. It may have been one of 2 built.
      The remains were housed by the Waikerie Gliding Club for many years; then taken over by the Adelaide hills Soaring Group for refurbishment & display.
      The Adelaide Hills Soaring Group and the museum are 'mine' insofar as it is my airfield and infrastructure and personal motivation to do stuff beyond routine flying.
      The two photographs are of the restored glider in the museum.
      Recent interest comes from a conversation underway between Ann Woolf of the Waikerie Gliding Club and Ernie, Karl's son who was born and lives in the US.
Popular Mechanics Glider
Popular Mechanics Glider
On display in the Museum
Courtesy of Emilis Prelgauskas, 6-8-06

Waterman Glider
From Early Bird's CHIRP
January 1973
     Those who attended the reunion in Dayton saw moving pictures of Waldo's flights made at Palomar, California. The plane which he built and flew was a reproduction of Cal Roger's VIN FIZ, the first airplane to fly coast to coast, in 1911. After a number of successful flights with this plane it was donated to the San Diego Aerospace Museum.
     Many Early Birds were first airborne in what became known as the Popular Mechanics Glider. Do-it-yourself drawings were published by that magazine in April, 1909, from a design by Early Bird Carl Bates of Chicago. Hundreds of these machines were built thereafter, one of them by Waldo Waterman. Six years ago he built two more, one now hanging in the Smithsonian Institution and the other in the San Diego Aerospace Museum. They were capable of making very short flights down 30 degree slopes into 8 mile winds, but were not easily controllable.
     Waldo has always felt that, by using modern know-how in a redesign, a resonably good hang glider, retaining all the simplicity of the original, could be built. Consequently, he has built just such a glider which has been flown by Stephen Ballas, age 21, who helped to build it.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP
January 1973, Number 79

     If you search for "Carl Bates" +Gliders using Google, (6-15-06), you will find about 14 links. Several of the most valuable are the following:

The Popular Mechanics Glider
     "In 1909 Carl S. Bates wrote an article entitled "How to Build a Glider. The article was published in POPULAR MECHANICS that year, so we're getting pretty close to the beginning of our Century of Flight. The craft became known simply as "the Popular Mechanics Glider" and hundreds were built."
     This copy of the first paragraph from the article introduces a fascinating story of early glider construction. The original article from the magazine is reproduced in its entirety and will be found to be very complete and written in great detail. It includes numerous illustrations which were drawn by Carl to assist the amateur builder. To access the site, click on the title above.

Famous Pioneers in Iowa's Transportation History
     This article, which is found on the Iowa DOT'S website for young Iowans, has a very nice summary of his life and career and includes a little picture of him with his glider, the one which you find at the top of this page.. To access the site, click on the title above.

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