MacCready, Paul Beattie, 1925–2007, American engineer and inventor known for his achievements in human-powered flight, b. New Haven, Conn., Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1952. In 1997 he led the team that created and flew the Gossamer Condor, the first plane to achieve sustained, controlled flight under human power; the similar Gossamer Albatross crossed the English Channel in 1979. His Gossamer Penguin became the first successful solar-powered airplane in 1980, and the Solar Challenger flew 163 mi (262 km) from France to England the following year. In 1987 MacCready led a team that developed and raced a solar-powered car to victory in a trans-Australia contest, and he later worked with General Motors on an electric-car prototype. A champion glider pilot who developed sailplane techniques and instrumentation, he also founded (1951) Meteorology Research, Inc., which focused on weather modification and atmospheric research, and (1971) AeroVironment, Inc., which produced remote-controlled electric planes and also focused on wind energy and environmental issues.
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