Inventing Modern America: From the microwave to the mouse buy the book about the book links and resources about the Lemelson-MIT program games
Did you know? Perseverance - Paul MacCreadyPrinter-Friendly Format
Doug Engelbart
Thomas Fogarty
Ashok Gadgil
Stephanie Kwolek
Paul MacCready
Paul MacCready Biography Paul MacCready's second human-powered airplane, the Gossamer Albatross, flew across the English Channel in June 1979, pedaled and piloted by Bryan Allen. Patents MacCready with the Sunraycer, a solar-powered car designed by him and General Motors. It won the first World Solar Challenge Race in 1987. In 1986, MacCready built and flew a lifelike model of a pterodactyl, complete with beak, 18-foot wingspan, and a light coat of fur. Videos The Helios, a solar-powered flying wing, has a wingspan of 247 feet. It can reach extremely high altitudes and stay aloft for months at a time.
When the <i>Gossamer Condor</i> made a figure-eight above a California airstrip, it marked the fulfillment of an age-old quest for human-powered flight.

When the Gossamer Condor made a figure-eight above a California airstrip, it marked the fulfillment of an age-old quest for human-powered flight.
Men have dreamed of flying under their own power for thousands of years. For Paul MacCready, an aerospace engineer with an independent streak, building a human-powered airplane took only a year, but required all his 51 years of experience. "With my particular skills, strengths, and weaknesses, it was almost as though the [challenge] was designed for me," he says. "Nobody seemed to be quite as motivated for the new and strange as I was." On August 23, 1977, MacCready's plane, the 55-pound Gossamer Condor, took flight above a California air strip, powered by a human bicyclist.

Flying like a bird
One inspiration for MacCready was watching hawks soar in the wind. He realized that if you made a bird-like wing bigger, it required less power to keep it aloft. If you made it a lot bigger, it required a lot less power. And if you made it just big enough—96 feet wide, for example—a good bicyclist could create enough power to make it fly. "With the basic idea of large and light, the problem was solved," MacCready says.
Read More

Doug Engelbart Thomas Fogarty Ashok Gadgil Stephanie Kwolek Paul MacCready
Buy the book About the Book Links & Resources About The Lemelson-MIT Program Play the Games
  ©2001 MIT. Photo Credits