Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Paul MacCready


Innovator & Record Breaker

Born: September 29, 1925 in New Haven, Connecticut
Death: August 28, 2007
Enshrined: 1991

Received a bachelor of science degree in physics from Yale in 1947 and held master’s and doctorate degrees from the California Institute of Technology.

Won three National Soaring Championships – 1948, 1949 and 1953.

Attained international recognition in the soaring community when, in France, he won the 1956 world championship. MacCready was the first American to win this coveted honor.

Founded AeroVironment, Inc. in 1971, a company that provided air quality and hazardous waste services and consulting, developed alternative energy sources, designed and manufactured products for atmospheric monitoring, and created efficient vehicles for land, sea and air.

Made the first sustained controlled human-powered flight in 1977, staying aloft for seven minutes, flying a figure eight course and winning the $100,000 award offered by British industrialist Henry Kremer.

Won the $200,000 Kremet Award in the Gossamer Albatross for a human-powered flight from England to France and received the Collier Trophy for this feat.

Won two speed prizes sponsored by Kramer flying the Bionic Bat, a human-powered airplane, in 1984.

Built the GM Sunraycer in 1987 with General Motors which won the solar race across Australia.

Served as chairman and chief executive officer of AeroVironment.

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