Holy MacCready life

Paul MacCready (1925-2007)

Paul MacCready is an American aeronautical engineer and creator of numerous inventions such as the first functional human-powered airplanes in the 1970s.

From an early age, Paul MacCready was an enthusiastic builder of model airplanes and gliders. He began flying in his teens and received formal flight training in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he earned a physics degree at Yale University and a PhD in aeronautical engineering from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. At the same time, he took up soaring — that is, flying sailplanes or gliders, as they are often called, he set altitude records and won championships.
In 1977, MacCready’s Gossamer Condor made history, when it flew a figure-eight course over a distance of 1.15 miles and became the first human-powered vehicle to achieve sustained, maneuverable flight. He won the Kremer Prize for being the first to design and create a human-powered flying machine. In 1979, his Gossamer Albatross, became the first human-powered plane to cross the English Channel in 2 hours and 49 minutes.

After muscle-powered flight, he became interested in solar-powered flight: he created the Gossamer Penguin, the world’s first successful totally solar-powered airplane, and the Solar Challenger. Unlike MacCready’s previous creations, the Solar Challenger was not designed to win a competition, but to awaken the public to the possibilities of solar energy. In 1981, the Challenger flew from Paris, France to Canterbury, England, a distance of 163 miles, rising to an altitude of 11,000 feet.

Paul MacCready’s contributions to flight technology (among his various inventions) were recognized formally in 1991 when he was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame, but MacCready and his collaborators at AeroVironment (he founded in 1971) had not yet exhausted their ingenuity.

Paleo-energy also works on low-carbon flights (in air and space) in a dedicated project called Aero.Paleo where such inventors are highlighted.

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