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Human Powered Flying Machine with Paul MacCready

Paul MacCready invented the first successful human powered flying machine


In August of 1977, the first flying machine powered solely by a human made a significant and successful flight. The flying machine called the Gossamer Condor was invented and built by Paul MacCready, who was inspired by the flight of hawks.

Gossamer Condor - Flying Machine

The Gossamer Condor was a single propellor flying machine, the propellor was powered by the pilot pedalling. The pilot steered by twisting the wing-tips. The Gossamer Condor was built from balsa wood, cardboard, Mylar plastic, and piano wire. It had a 96-foot wingspan and weighed only 70 pounds.

Paul MacCready won the $95,000 award offered by British industrialist Henry Kremer for the first sustained (a one mile long figure eight route) and controlled human-powered flight.

Paul MacCready - Other Flying Machines

In 1978, Paul MacCready's human powered flying machine, the Gossamer Albatross flew across the English Channel. Paul MacCready later designed the first successful solar-powered flying machines, including the Gossamer Penguin and the Solar Challenger. Recently, MacCready headed the team that developed the solar-powered Impact car for General Motors.

Paul MacCready - Biography

Doctor Paul MacCready was born in New Haven, Connecticut. As a youth he built model airplanes. In 1947, he received his B.S. in physics from Yale. In 1948, he received a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology. He earned a second Ph.D. in aeronautics at Caltech in 1952. Paul MacCready is the founder and Chairman of AeroVironment, Inc.

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