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Paul MacCready

AeroVironment Chairman Paul MacCready shows a cross section of the AeroVironment/NASA Helios Prototype wing spar.
Personal information
Nationality American
Birth date September 25, 1925
Birth place New Haven
Date of death August 28, 2007
Education Caltech
Work
Significant projects AeroVironment

Paul B. MacCready, Jr. (September 25, 1925 - August 28, 2007) was an American aeronautical engineer. He was the founder of AeroVironment and the inventor of the first practical flying machine powered by a human being. He devoted his life to developing more efficient transportation vehicles that could "Do more with less".

Contents

Biography

Born in New Haven to a medical family, MacCready was an inventor from an early age and won a national contest building a model flying machine at the age of 15.

MacCready graduated from Hopkins School in 1943, received his BS in physics from Yale University in 1947, a MS in physics from Caltech in 1948, and a PhD in aeronautics from Caltech in 1952. He trained as a US Navy pilot at the end of World War II. In 1951 MacCready founded his first company, Meteorology Research Inc, to do atmospheric research. Some of MacCready's work as a graduate student involved cloud seeding.

He started gliding after World War II and was a three-time winner (1948, 1949, 1953) of the Richard C. du Pont Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the U.S. National Open Class Soaring Champion. In 1956 he became the first American pilot to become the World Soaring Champion. He devised the MacCready Theory on the correct speed to fly a glider depending on conditions and based on the glider's rate of sink at different air-speeds. Glider pilots still use the "MacCready speed ring".

With Dr. Peter B.S. Lissaman he created the first practical human-powered aircraft, the Gossamer Condor, and thereby won the Kremer prize in 1977. The award-winning plane was built out of piano wire, bicycle parts, and mylar. In 1979, he built its successor, the Gossamer Albatross, which won the second Kremer prize for successfully flying from England to France.

He later created solar powered aircraft such as the Gossamer Penguin and the Solar Challenger. He was involved in the development of NASA's solar-powered flying wings such as the Helios, which surpassed the SR-71's altitude records and could theoretically fly on Mars (where the atmosphere is thin and has little oxygen). MacCready also collaborated with General Motors on the design of the Sunraycer, a solar powered car, and then on the EV-1 electric car.

In 1985 he was commissioned to build a life-size, flying replica of a pterodactyl for the Smithsonian Institution. The completed remote-controlled flying reptile was filmed over Death Valley, California in 1986 for the Smithsonian's IMAX film On the Wing.

MacCready helped to sponsor the Nissan Dempsey/MacCready Prize which has helped to motivate developments in racing-bicycle technology, applying aerodynamics and new materials to allow for faster human-powered vehicles.

He was the founder (in 1971) and Chairman of AeroVironment Inc., a public company (AVAV) that develops unmanned surveillance aircraft and advance power systems. AV recently flew a prototype of the first airplane to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the Global Observer.

MacCready died on August 28, 2007 from brain cancer[1].

Awards and honors

Quotes

Anyone who's not interested in model airplanes must have a screw loose somewhere
Paul MacCready
I'm more interested in a world that works than what sells
Paul MacCready
Doing more with less
Paul MacCready

References

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Paul B. MacCready, Jr. (September 25, 1925August 28, 2007) was an American aeronautical engineer. He was the founder of AeroVironment and the inventor of the first practical flying machine powered by a human being. He devoted his life to developing more efficient transportation vehicles that could "Do more with less".

Sourced

  • If you want to move mountains, you just go move mountains. If you don't have a big enough shovel, you get some friends to help you. If you have the enthusiasm to charge ahead, you can do all sorts of things. Some things you can't do. You can't invent a perpetual motion machine. You've got to select your targets. But people can do so much more than they realize.

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