Biographical / Historical
Paul B. MacCready Jr. (1925 – 2007) was an American aeronautical engineer known especially for his work with human-powered and solar-powered aircraft. After his high school graduation in 1943, MacCready trained as a U. S. Navy pilot. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Yale University in 1947, a Master of Science degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1948, and a doctorate in aeronautics from Caltech in 1952. MacCready was a champion glider pilot; he was the 1948, 1949 and 1953 winner of the Richard C. du Pont Memorial Trophy, (awarded annually to the U. S. National Open Class Soaring Champion) and in 1956 he became the first American pilot to become the World Soaring Champion. During the 1970s, MacCready started his work with human-powered and solar-powered aircraft. In 1977 he won the first Kremer prize for human-powered flight with the Gossamer Condor and in 1979, he built the Condor's successor, the Gossamer Albatross, winning the second Kremer prize, successfully flying from England to France. MacCready also received the Collier Trophy, which is awarded annually for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics, for his design and construction of the Albatross. MacCready later created solar-powered aircraft such as the Gossamer Penguin and the Solar Challenger. In 1985, he was commissioned to build a half-scale working replica of the pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus for the Smithsonian Institution. MacCready was the founder and Chairman of AeroVironment Inc., a company that develops unmanned surveillance aircraft and advanced power systems. MacCready was the recipient of the 1982 Lindbergh Award, the 1980 Engineer of the Century Gold Medal, and was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Donald Monroe photographed much of Dr. Paul MacCready's work with human-powered flight and solar-powered flight in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the: Gossamer Condor, Gossamer Albatross, Gossamer Penguin, Solar Challenger, and Bionic Bat.