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Joseph L Cato
Pioneer West Coast Plane Builder - Pilot - Aviation Engineer


Joseph L. Cato was born at North Yakima, Washington February 18,1889.  Later his parents moved to Vancouver, Washington where he attended private Schools.  The family then moved to Stockton, Cal. where Cato continued his schooling.  Being mechanically inclined he started to work in a machine shop after school to help with his education.

Naturally interested in engineering and scientific subjects Cato first became intrigued with aeronautics when he discovered some articles on gliders and gliding in Scientific American Magazine in the local library in 1903.  Cato became so absorbed that he read everything he could find on the subject, including the gliding experiments of the Wright Brothers.  This resulted in his building some model wing sections which he towed in the wind to determine the centers of lift and pressure.  After making these experiments he started the design and construction of a 28 foot glider, with which he succeeded in making one good hop before a smashup ended the project.  Later Cato moved to San Francisco where he took a night school course in Engineering.

In February, 1908 Cato submitted plans and specifications for a powered aircraft to the War Department, Washington, D. C. where he understood bids  

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