Frank Stites

Southern California Aviator Will
Be Attraction at Olivedale
Tract Tomorrow
     Frank Stites, the daring young aviator, a product of Southern California, who first achieved prominence and narrowly escaped with his life at the Dominguez field in June, 1912, is to essay the dificult loop-the-loop stunts in Los Angeles tomorrow afternoon.
     The exhibition will be given at Olivedale tract, at Sunset boulevard and Coronado streets, under the auspices of the G. D. Robertson Company. The attraction has been scheduled for the entertainment of the crowds expected to attend the informal opening o the new residence tract.
     While in the air and directly over the heads of the people, Stites will drop a shower of coins and certificates amounting in the aggregate, it is said, to $200. There will be two exhibitions at (Olivedale tract tomorrow, the first at 1 o'clock and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
     .......................................................this city, Stites............
Newsclipping from collection of Eugene Dixon, 12-22-03

Frank Stites In Aerial Stunts---
Certificates Showered From the Sl......
Company Making Motion Pictures......
the Crowds from 1 to 3 o'clock
     Let nothing prevent you attending this great pre-opening sale ......of the city, or even to distant sections withing the city. It going out Sunset Boulevard, and there is a car every 3 m.........point en route. Olivedale is one block off Sunset Bouleveard, a.........service--the tunnels already in operation--and others in pros....magnificence of the view, all tend to create a value here th..........letters for all who buy now.
Newsclipping from collection of Eugene Dixon, 12-22-03

from the Early Birds of Aviation
June, 1937 - Number 20
     This is an extract from the complete article. It is one of the few references to Frank I can find. If you want to read the whole story month by month, click on the title above.
     Glenn Curtiss made his first flight in a flying boat at North Island, the 50 horse Curtiss engine in the bow of a flat-bottomed hull driving two tractor screws by clutch and chain. (Casey Jones, note). Third Los Angeles meet, with Lincoln Beachey, Parmalee, Glenn Martin, Turpin, Fish, Gill, Cooke; and the local aviators Stevens, Harvey Crawford, Frank M. Stites and Carlstrom. Frank Boland introduced the first air speed meter seen here, a hand crank was installed on Burgess-Wright planes and the Elbridge Company announced a self-starter.
Via email from Eugene F. Dixon, 12-22-03
     I ran across your mail on the computer, and decided to check my records, as I knew I had a great uncle that flew the old planes before WW1.
     From what I could find out from all the clippings my grandfather kept on him, (his brother), he was making a movie of World War 1. As part of the story, a bomb was set to go off and his plane happened to be too close and it caused his plane to crash. As I understand it, this happened in the Dominguez Hills, but I am positive. At about the height of 50 feet, he jumped from his plane and was killed.
     I do have the newspaper clipping on if you would care to have a copy.
     I have been trying to find a clipping of when he was in Seattle WA. and they built a ramp from a tall building and his plane took off down the ramp out over the bay.
Eugene F Dixon

     If you search for "Frank Stites +aviation using the Google search engine, (9-12-03), you will find just seven links. Only the top two are relevant.
George E. Barnhart
     This webpage on Carrol Gray's Early Birds website offers several references to Frank in the Barnhart biography. It is one of the very few sites which refers to the career of Frank Stites. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.
     This page on the AeroFiles website offers the details of a silent movie produced by Famous Players in 1915. You can learn more about this movie by going to the The Internet Movie Database website. Frank is not mentioned, but Glenn L. Martin appears among the cast as "Pilot." You can access the page on the AeroFiles website by clicking on the title.

Frank Stites
Frank Stites
Frank Stites over Long Beach
Frank Stites Preparing to Land
Dear Sir:
      I'm trying to find some relatives of Frank Stites because I have three 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 size black & white photos of him flying one of his planes over Long Beach, California in 1908. I found them in some old family photos - our family was not related to him but someone in the family did take these photos. Maybe his family would like to have these photos. Any information will be appreciated.
Mary Gore
Editor's Note: If you can help Mary in her quest, please contact me and I will forward your message to her. Thank you.
Frank Stites
Frank Stites Landed on the Beach
Collection of Mary Gore, 2-14-07

       Frank Stites died on March 15, 1915 in Universal City, California in a plane crash.
from IMDb
courtesy of Gregory Powers, 2-14-047

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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