April 10, 2004


Yesterday we had the pleasure of having Paul MacCready give a presentation on his life, his works, and his passions. If you are not familiar with MacCready, he designed the Gossamer Condor in the Smithsonian (the first succesful human powered aircraft), the Gossamer Albatros (the first human powered vehicle to fly across the english channel, in the new smithsonian), the first solar powered aircraft, the solarraycer (the first vehicle to drive across australia on solar power alone, also in the smithsonian), a working flying terradactal (in the smithsonian), the pathfinder and helios aircract, which are solar powered flying wings, the helios set the solar powered altitude record at 90,000+ ft.

The man is incredible, he is just one of those people who are do'ers. He reminded me a lot of Burt Rutan, built the voyager which was the first plane to fly nonstop around the world. MacCready was $100,000 in debt, and he heard about the prize in England for the first human powered airplane. The prize money was 50,000 pounds, which at that time just happened to be $100,000 dollars, so he decided to win the prize. It was just that simple to him, it didn't matter how many people had tried and failed or that everyone said it wouldn't work, and he figured out what the wingspan should be by watching hawks soaring on thermals while on vacation with his wife and kids. Really cool stuff.

Posted by cmorton at April 10, 2004 11:34 AM | TrackBack