MacCready's Flying Circus

The father of human-powered flight sends imaginations soaring with gigantic solar-powered planes that fly forever and micro air vehicles that silently spy over the horizon

By Mark WheelerSep 1, 1999 5:00 AM


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Striding into his office at AeroVironment Inc. in Monrovia, California, on a June afternoon, a slightly rumpled-looking Paul MacCready juggles an armful of folders with a bag of take-out Thai and apologizes for his tardiness. "I was up until 3 a.m. the past few nights working on some projects," he explains, fidgeting with his glasses as he drops the folders, his lunch, and then himself, on the couch. What sort of projects? The gray-haired 74-year-old company founder hesitates. "There are patent and proprietary concerns. . . . " he says. But then his enthusiasm gets the better of him.

Full text of this article appears in Discover magazine.

Paul MacCready's Home PageAeroVironmentThe Gossamer Condor at the Air and Space MuseumNASA’s Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology Program

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