Yates honored by state for IYK flight

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Yates honored by state for IYK flight Flight of the Century CEO and Founder Chip Yates was honored in Sacramento last week for his accomplishments in pushing the envelope in electric flight and breaking the world record for speed at Inyokern Airport.

“We are very big fans of our guest today — William Chip Yates,” said State Sen. Jean Fuller in introducing Yates to California legislators.

“He is an electric vehicle pioneer and 11-time world record holder known worldwide for risk taking, boundary pushing and green technology advancement.”

Fuller told her colleagues that Yates designed and built the world’s most powerful electric aircraft at IYK — in two months and on a budget of less than $100,000.

“So I am very excited about having a person like this in my district — because that is great innovation.”

Yates modified a Burt Rutan Long EZ — redubbed the Long ESA for “Electric Speed and Altitude” — with his team at IYK Hanger 3.

Only days after earning his pilot’s license, and on his second trip in the experimental aircraft, he surpassed the official world record for speed in an electric aircraft.

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, who toured IYK later that day, invited Yates up to Sacramento to receive a resolution for his accomplishment.

In a press release she praised Yates for being instrumental in “ushering in a new era of clean, high-performance electric flight.

“Inyokern has been at the forefront of aircraft innovation for decades, and it’s only fitting that Chip would choose this location for such an historic event.”

In her resolution, Grove said she joins Californians and Americans “in applauding the accomplishments of Chip Yates, who has distinguished himself as a pioneer in the field of aviation and who possesses the qualities necessary to face the challenges of the unknown.”

Yates’ prior accomplishments include a similarly whirlwind domination in the electric motorcycle circuit.

Over a period of several months he captured 11 records before retiring and moving on to electric flight. His story has been featured on the cover of such magazines as Popular Science.

Yates’ team is still hard at work in executing Flight of the Century’s longterm goal of building a craft to fly along Charles Lindberg’s transatlantic flight.

“I believe that California has not only the resources and talent, but also the obligation to lead the world in advancing electric vehicle development and implementation,” said Yates.

Grove and Fuller wished him luck and safe passage.

Fuller, wife of an avid pilot, said she hopes to be able to personally witness that occasion. “We are truly grateful to Chip. He is a great Californian.”

Story First Published: 2012-09-05