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In Memory of Dr. Paul MacCready

The founder and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of AeroVironment, Inc., Paul MacCready was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1925, and passed away on August 28, 2007 as a result of advanced melanoma. A public memorial to honor Dr. MacCready was held on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at the California Institute of Technology. Hundreds of people gathered to remember his life and numerous contributions.

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Archived Comments:

  We are continuing a corner of your good works via
High Altitude Wind Power (HAWP).  We recall your attendance
at what might have been the first modern conference on
high altitude wind power for airborne wind energy (AWE) in 2005.
We recall your many inputs to the Low & Slow and hang glider worlds,
and your confirmation achievements in the human-powered flight HPF
realms. Especially thank you for your patient possibility thinking
even pinned with quality engineering.  I know you are watching.
Lift to you and yours always,

By Joe Faust, Los Angeles, CA, USA, on Nov 30, 2009

For those of us who have ever cut and glued balsa wood in our youth…studied and practiced the grace of birds in motorless gliders…and watched in awe the achievements of pioneers named Wright, MacCready, et al…we are enriched beyond fortune, and blessed beyond experience.  Thank you, Dr. Paul.

~ Sean O’

By Sean O'Malley, Jacksonville FL, on Nov 27, 2009

Remembering Paul Maccready

I first met Paul about 15 years ago, maybe longer, when we were both members of the Adventurers’ Club in Los Angeles.  Paul was always willing to talk about the things he was interested in and a very approachable guy.

Thanks for being a person I could admire.

Bill Murrell

By Bill Murrell, on Jan 18, 2008

I will always remember the AV work experience

To Paul and all the past employees Ivar, Peter, Sara, Doug, Pat and others for my time at AV were outstanding under the leadership of Paul McCready.  My brief stay at AeroVironment was one of my most insightful times into true scientific minds of our time. Although I didn’t work as close as others did to Paul, what was astounding is a conversation about almost anything was never concluded. Paul would come back a day, week or year later and pick up the conversation right where he left off.  An amazing time in my life and I often wonder what it would have been like to still be working for my first great company. Paul thank you for seeing my creativity in a way others did not. Paul your creativity and individuality will always be remembered, I will miss your innovation, Casey, employee number 40.

By Casey Carter (Employee #40), Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems, on Jan 16, 2008

A brilliant and inspirational man

I worked for AeroVironment in the early 80’s and remember the company, the creativity, Dr. MacCready and my co-workers with a fondness that has been surpassed by no other.  My condolences to his family, friends and associates.

By Colette Broadway, Thales, on Dec 28, 2007

Inspirational Daydreamer

Paul devoted his life to developing more efficient transportation vehicles that could Do more with less ~ I will always remember him for his radio-controlled replica of a prehistoric pterodactyl, the largest creature that ever took to the air.

To an Inspirational Daydreamer
Death is not the end.
Death can never be the end.
Death is the road.
Life is the traveler.
The soul is the guide.

God Speed Paul.

By John McCutchan, Symmetry Electronics, on Nov 26, 2007

Thank you for the inspiration!

I was fortunate enough to share some time with Dr. MacCready, his love of flight was truly contagious.

By Patrick Egan, RCAPA, on Oct 31, 2007

He was an example for us all

He was an inspiration for me and many others around the world. A big loss for the world he tried to improve!

By Martijn Deibel, on Oct 30, 2007


Paul, when I was near giving up on publishing a paper on renewable energy, you reached out and provided me, a stranger to you, with the inspiration to continue.  I can not imagine how many others that you motivated in a similar way.  Your spirit lives on.

By Stephen Eaves, on Oct 25, 2007

With greatest respect

Sad to learn of Paul’s passing.  I have so enjoyed his creations and inspiring creativity over the years.
Thank you Paul.

By Scott Nelson, on Oct 25, 2007

Heartfelt Condolences

We were not aware of Paul’s passing last August; what a shock! Though our companies are competitors in the UAV industry, we are all joined together in the pursuit of furthering aviation and flight. Our deepest condolences to the MacCready family for your loss. May Paul’s legacy live on through you and through Aerovironment.

By Shawn Theiss, Theiss Aviation, Inc., on Oct 17, 2007


I first heard of AeroVironment through articles on human-powered machines, and was instantly drawn to it.  It was a dream come true to be able to work with Paul’s company on the GM Dept of Energy Hybrid Vehicle project, and see the team in action.  Whenever I tried to use the copy machine at the Monrovia facility, it was always in sleep mode.  The engineers weren’t pushing paper, they were back in the lab experimenting.  What an environment he created.

By Kevin Dutcher, on Oct 08, 2007

God Speed Paul B. MacCready

Hello all. Skip Barber has been a very serious racing organization for over 30 years. At every race weekend, we dedicate a race to somebody famous who has moved on. I supervise these races as an aviator and named the weekend memorial race after Paul B. MacCready. I entered the race and won it from last place 20th. and I wanted to dedicate this race to this wonderful man. God Bless you Paul, Keith R. Watts

By Keith Ray Watts, Skip Barber Racing, on Oct 08, 2007

Our Heartfelt and deepest sympathies

Just to be able to say that you were in the same room or building with Paul put one
near one of the greatest, if not the greatest innovators of our time.
He wore it humbly and graciously.
We at Premium Power Systems, Inc. had the pleasure to work with Paul by extension of DARPA and DELPHI on Battery Capacity Insrumentations for a Fuel Gage on diffrent Electric Vehicles.
We would always say, Why don’t they (the powers that be, the not invented here powers that be), just listen to Paul and do it his way and it would be finished. We know now why not, but it was always a testiment to his knowledge that he could see the solution, before many knew that there was a problem.
TIME will catch up to his great wisdom someday and we can hear him finally say,
I told you so.
God’s Speed Paul, Soar!
The Directors and Employees of Premium Power, Systems, Inc.

By David Thompson, Premium Power Systems, Inc., on Oct 06, 2007

Paul as a cousin

In June I drove out to Pasadena and met with Paul and Judy and had a great conversation with them both.  Paul was so passionate in his concern about how so little progress was being made to improve automobiles in terms of emissions, efficiency, and aerodynamics.  It had been three years since the last time we had been able to meet and talk.  Paul shared with me his situation, but I had no idea how quickly it would finish.

My very best to Judy and the children.  The world has lost a person of great vision and passion, but they have lost a husband and a father.

By James Leonard, on Oct 02, 2007

My condolences to family and friends

My condolences to family and friends. I never had the privilege to meet him
personally, but I sincerely felt his loss as if he was a close friend of mine. His
work reassured mine in the field of Human Powered Flight. I lost any feelings
of being an outsider in aeronautical design. His statement that trying to produce
a human powered ‘aircraft’ has little to do with solving the problem of human
powered flight, hit the same nail I was pounding at. I was alone no more. He
clearly showed the harm of thinking inside a paradigm, no matter in which field
of knowledge. But you can’t grow under the shadow of a big tree, so, I went
ahead developing my own concept with the aim to produce a machine that
can be afforded and flown in an every day use by thousands and thousands of
people. How?, doing more with less. It’s not only the technical achievement
in itself that Paul taught us, but what does it serve for. Keep on looking after us,
beautiful soul.

By Alfred Perez, Pegasus HPA, on Oct 02, 2007

Thank You

Thank you, Paul, for teaching us how to fly higher, drive farther, and shine brighter.

By Q, on Oct 01, 2007


I have been using the story of the Gossamer Condor via Ben Shedd’s wonderful film to teach new teachers about the other kind of problem solving that focuses as much on the creative side of our thinking as the logical side for MANY years. The story is as incredible now as it was all those years ago. Imagination, creativity, persistence - a model for all of us.

The inspiration of Paul MacCready will continue . . .

By Geoff Day, on Oct 01, 2007

Golly, it was fun to meet him…

It was July, 1997, at the National Soaring Museum in Elmira, NY.  Quite a few folks interested in flying wings were gathered for a 3-day seminar and some good fellowship.  Paul was there, of course.  Out of a little cigar box lined with felt, he gently removed a beautifully made rubber band-powered ornithopter he’d crafted from delicate balsa wood sticks and thin mylar wing covering material.  I was thrilled whn he asked me to put 150 turns on the rubber band via a little built-in crank.  His right hand gently launched this human-made butterfly and it gracefully made a 360 turn in the meeting room, maintaining altitude, and returned to land gracefully in his hand.  Not once, but four times, in opposite directions…never touching a wall or a person in the room.  More with less.  MUCH more…  I was fascinated !  This man was (and remains) a true intellect.  I thank God for his life…and the chance to be able to spend time with him again in that great airfield we’re all yearning for.  God bless you Paul, and blessings, too, to his family in your loss.  Thanks for sharing him with us.

By Geoff Steele, EPA and NASM volunteer, Washington, DC, on Oct 01, 2007


As a young engineering project management student at the Air Force Academy in 1981, I sent a letter to Dr. MacCready with questions about human powered flight as we set out to build our own aircraft. Dr. MacCready replied immediately and his insight provided great inspiration to our project. He was truly a pioneer.

By Larry Ruggiero, US Air Force, on Sep 26, 2007

Not gone

As a 15-year old cyclist and aspiring engineer I was hugely moved by Gossamer Condor, which heavily influenced my decision to study engineering (albeit unsuccessfully!) at university. But Paul MacCready’s vision of technology allied with imagination as a force for good has stayed with me. He lives on.

By Dan Thisdell, Flight International, on Sep 26, 2007

On a gentle updraft

Paul MacCready was such an original thinker, and a champion of creativity. I heard him speak a number of times, and his words and works have always been an inspiration.

By Kevin Henderson, Girvin, on Sep 25, 2007

tyler and parker; I always thought your dad

In my 30’s met Paul at an AIEE conference on aircraft wakes and he told me that he is building a manpowered airplane and invited me to work with him.

Being an aeronautical engineer from MIT, I figured that he was another crazy guy from California but I was crazy enought to move to Pasadena to work with him and with Peter Lisaman.

Paul liked bikes and we would ride our bikes home from the AV Pasadena office.
Once I turned too fast and knocked him off his bike.

I felt terrible but Paul just picked himself up and tightened his helmet and said that it was his fault because her rode too close.

Best wishes to you and the family.


By Andy Zalay, Ewindfarm, Inc., on Sep 24, 2007

Unique Combinations

Paul became one of my greatest heroes after the Gossamer Condor flight, and I was very lucky to get to know him in the late 70s when we both wrote articles for World Book Encyclopedia. The man was even more impressive than his deeds—his integrity, curiosity, modesty, fairness, and persistence, coupled with an uncanny ability to see what really needed to be worked on, and how to approach it, made for a unique combination that was one of the shining lights of the world and was a wonderful force of nature that helped carry civilization forward. He will be remembered for his great romantic designs - and I will remember him that way also - but I will most remember how he would always respond to any educational opportunity, especially to help children learn how to think better and how to play in thinking.

By Alan Kay, Viewpoints Research Institute, on Sep 23, 2007

Farewell to a great man

It has been a pleasure and honor to work with and for such a kind and great man..

By Anglia Haramis, Aero Vironment, on Sep 23, 2007

We’ll miss you Paul

I was lucky to work with Paul for 9 years while at AeroVironment, and he was a great mentor and a friend.  He led by example - a disorganized, inspirational, possibly crazy, but always intellectually honest example.  He so passionately pursued what he believed in and followed his ideas wherever they led him.  He awakened in me the idea that there were no have tos in this world, only opportunities for change.  I learned an awful lot about youthful idealism from a man so many years my senior.  Paul believed in education and the power of ideas to inspire.  He was also very afraid that mankind’s ability to effect change far exceeded our collective understanding of the consequences.  All of us who wish to honor his legacy should continue to believe in the power of our own ideas - both big and small- and to resist the creeping cynicism that leads us to abandon what we believe is right for what we believe is possible.  We’ll miss you Paul.

By Catherine Mohr, Stanford, Intuitive Surgical and formerly of AV, on Sep 23, 2007

A great scientist and a great man

I met Dr. MacCready in the early part of my career, when I worked at AeroVironment in the late 1970’s.  He was surprisingly accessible and supportive, and mentored me in important ways. He kindled my interest in human powered flight with the Gossamer Condor and the Gossamer Albatross while I was at AV, and I continued to follow his exploits in this and other experimental ventures even after I left AV. It was both a privilege and an honor to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. MacCready.  I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family.

By Savithri Machiraju, on Sep 21, 2007

Fairwell, Leonardo of the 20th Century

Memories flood by. Your appointments with De Bono, your sketches for a solar version of Albatross being made on the Hovercraft on the way to Paris Air show presentation. Leaping into the sea from the Lady Ellen at Cap Gris Nez, one leg in plaster. Your appreciation for the wonderful team of deep thinking enthusiasts that you recruited and have since steered into a world of aeronautical adventure. Above all, your recollections of how it all started with model aeroplanes.

By Ron Moulton, Chairman, Kremer Rules Committee R.Ae.S, on Sep 21, 2007

Paul, I will miss you.

Thank you Paul, for teaching me how to design with elegance in mind, and that we can definitely do more with less.  You also provided me the opportunity to work on both the Condor and Albatross projects.  You proved that through dedication and team work we can accomplish what history had thought to be impossible.

I believe the value of a man can be shown by his works.  You have proven to be one of the best.

By Samuel N. Duran, Chevron, on Sep 21, 2007

A Man with a Mission

I first met Paul when he became a fellow member of the Los Angeles Adventurer’s Club where I had been a member for 16 years.  We were both Adventurer’s, but his mission was far beyond any of us other members.  He had set out to change the world and he did with his Gossamer Albatross, his Sunrayser, his Solar Challenger and his entrepreneurship and now his message has become how destructive too much CO2 is to our planet. 

Over the last few years I had the privilege of managing part of his finances as a stock broker.  He did well because of his faith and perception and decisiveness, all traits most of us strive for, but few have.  Paul’s modesty shouted at the world.  How can one so gifted know what really counts?  He did!  And those of us who have had the opportunity to meet and discuss life with him are the beneficiaries.  Thank you Paul from all of us worldwide.

By Noble Trenham, First Global Securities, on Sep 21, 2007

A great man to be missed

I worked at AV from 1986 through 2002 at the environmental department.  I had the honor of knowing Dr. MacCready personally and often saw him in his corner office envisioning new invention that will help human race.  Shortly I left AV, I took my 7 yrs old son Bryan to spend a memorable 30 minutes with Dr. Macready.  He was so kind to show Bryan his collection in his office and demonstrate the little flying models he collected.  He also signed autographs on some of the Aviation brochures for us.

I admired his vision and his pursuit of what he believed in.

Dr. MacCready, you’ll forever be missed as the greatest man and engineer of our decade!!!

Lydia Chu

By Lydia Chu, Former AV employee, on Sep 21, 2007

Thank you, Dr. MacCready

Thank you, Dr. Paul MacCready for igniting the imagination of millions through innovation and ingenuity in aerodynamic excellence.  Thank you for giving wings to our imaginations.

By RT Greene, retired, on Sep 20, 2007

pioneer of human powered flight

I last met Paul when we enjoyed watching the first female powered helicopter flight together. Before that, we, at the Society, would meet him every few years when he came across here to collect each of the several Kremer prizes for human powered flight that he won. Often he would present a lecture, always to a packed hall. But what I most remember was his smile. We have lost one of the greatest pioneers of human powered flight, but his smile will be with us forever.

By Chris Roper, Royal Aeronautical Society, on Sep 20, 2007

Imaging the impossible and then doing it!

Being around Paul MacCready and his ideas and projects, I saw and documented someone who changed everything about the world.  Before the Gossamer Condor airplane flew, human-powered flight was considered impossible in all of human history - and after the Gossamer Condor flew the challenging Kremer Prize course, human-powered flight was a reality.  Over the past three decades, I observed that Paul’s projects keep changing everything about the world, and I learned from Paul that we all change everything about the world - often not nearly as visible as Paul’s lifetime of work, but none the less real change - all the time, and that is very empowering to know. 

Even as Paul slipped away a few weeks ago, there are so many of his ideas and words and pictures to keep all of us thinking and doing and inspired for our whole lives.  I’ll miss the phone calls and visits, but I find Paul’s ideas and constant curiousity and thoughtful provocations are alive everywhere I look.

By Ben Shedd, Shedd Productions, Inc., on Sep 19, 2007

Condolences to the family

I first met Paul at Meteorology Research in the late 60’s, and have been honored at having worked for him there, and then again at AeroVironment in Pasadena many years later.
Paul was always a thoughtful and inventive fellow, inquisitive and fun to be around. To the family, my most sincere condolences at his passing.

By David Felt, on Sep 19, 2007

A great leader who inspired creativity

Having worked in the Aerospace industry for many years now, as did my father before me; Dr. Paul MacCready was a legend in our household as I grew up, and for many years thereafter.  His keen mind and entrepreneurial spirit was inspirational to many people, even to those like myself who never had the good fortune to meet him in person.  I can only imagine the void that must be felt by his absence at home and work, my family send our heartfelt condolences to those closest to Dr. MacCready, who were fortunate enough to have had him in their lives.


The Litton family

By Chris Litton, Septentrio, Inc., on Sep 19, 2007

The Best of Times

What a wonderful environment Paul and Ivar created.  Their desire to create AeroVironment gave them an outlet for their creative genius.  It was an honor to be part of it.

By Kent Field, on Sep 17, 2007

Brain Power at work 24-7

We had the honor and pleasure to work with Dr. MacCready in 1996 on a special project to demonstrate the use of new materials and engineering design in a human arm-powered vehicle call the CHAIRIOT. His scientific insight and stamina drove the entire team to exercise our creativity and energy in a collaborative environment to accomplish our goals in setting several world records in just four months.  Paul, enjoy riding your chariot in Heaven.

By Tai Chan, General Motors, on Sep 16, 2007

At Work & Play

I originally met Dr. MacCready when I worked at The MacNeal-Schwendler Corporation while he served on the Board of Directors.  Every time he walked into the Executive Suite he made it a point to say hello to all of the assistants so that we felt we were important to him.  Years later I became President of the Monrovia Day Association and decided to invite Dr. MacCready to be the Hometown Grand Marshall for the Monrovia Day Parade. He didn’t hesitate accepting the invitation and was so gracious on the day of the parade.  He told me how flattered he was to be honored by our invitation.  He was a great man!

By Donna Baker, Dickson Podley Realtors, on Sep 15, 2007

A Final Thermal

To the family of Paul MacCready…my deepest thoughts of caring and support…to you at this time.  Received a letter of support from Paul a year ago for the nomination of my modeling mentor, Warren Williams (93) who won the honor of the Academy of Model Aeronautic Hall of Fame in 2006.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Paul, but thru the stories of Warren Williams, and reading his bio…He was a true pioneer in aviation. He is an inspiration to all who have the passion for flight, real or model aviation.

I pray that God will bless all the members of his family and believe that his spirit has taken a final thermal ride….!

By Keith Varnau, Boeing Employees' Aerodynamic Modeling Society, on Sep 14, 2007

Sympathy - Tribute

It is truly a sad event losing Paul.  I personally count him as one of the most remarkable persons that I have met over an entire career of related R&D initiatives.  In particular, his interests in high density power utilization, the holy grail of aviation development, and architectural wind turbines paralleled mine very closely. Late last year I spoke with Paul for almost an hour regarding your lofting of the architectural turbine notion.  Later we discussed the work of Peter Van Blarrigan (hydrogen free piston engine studies at Sandia Labs). My company is involved in variable pitch control micro wind turbines and at that point we were investigating similar issues.That was my reason for contacting Paul. ....Enough about the linkage.

Our talk was much richer than that.  I will miss him very much.

I offer our condolences to his family and those associated with Paul.

Paul Stearns

By Paul Srearns, Alternate Power Technologies Inc., on Sep 14, 2007

A Remarkable Man

I had the privilege and pleasure to meet Dr. MacCready in Montreal some time in the seventies. We chat about numerous topics for so long a time that the crowd waiting for his appearance had to wait a good fifteen minutes! The exchange was extremely interesting: from his winning Gliding World Championship in 1956 at St-Yan - France, flying a loaned Breguet for the first time to his last inventions while not forgetting all the new developments of aviation in general. About twenty years later, being in California with a situation, I called him for help. He instantly remembered me and gave me the required answer! I am very sad.

By Albert Sorignet, on Sep 14, 2007


I have never met a person with so many successful achievements and so little desire to parade them in public. Perhaps it was just the humility and discretion of Paul’s character. But my guess is that Paul’s thoughts were always projected toward the future - the next project, the next challenge - instead of indulging in the comfort of previous accomplishments. My life changed dramatically because of Paul and his company - AeroVironment - and the research opportunities that were given to me. I have wonderful memories of the Pasadena-Monrovia era in the 1980s and AV’s unique working environment. I want to offer my sincere condolences to Paul’s family.

By Paolo Zannetti, EnviroComp Consulting, Inc., on Sep 13, 2007

A humble and great Man!

I’ve met Dr MacCready at the Sailplane Homebuilders Workshops in Tehachapi over the years. Always very inspiring talks and cool flying toys zipping around the hanger,
Fly High

By Bob Bartlett, on Sep 13, 2007

A gift that will last forever

Paul MacCready represented a preciously rare combination of an incredibly thoughtful mind, stellar character, generosity of spirit and profound humility.  The world will benefit forever from the insights he gave us.

By John King, King Schools, Inc., on Sep 13, 2007

Thank you Dr. MacCready

After reading about Paul and the Gossamer Albatross in 1979 I decided AV would be a great place to work. A year later I was offered a position on the environmental side of the company. I packed up and made the trek from FL to CA. Quickly I came to feel like I was back in graduate school - the atmosphere and camaraderie and ‘can do’ spirit actually made work fun. AV’s reputation brought people together from all over the world to work on all types of projects. I have many fond memories and wonderful friends from the AV days thanks to Paul?s vision. To Paul’s family I send my deepest condolences.

By Joe Griffiths, URS, on Sep 13, 2007

Still catching up with the vision Paul created

I felt like one of the luckiest and proudest engineers on the planet to have met Paul and worked for AV in the early 90’s when we were working on the Impact.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Almost twenty years later the world is still catching up with the vision he and AV created for clean transportation.  One of the quirky things I remember about conversations with Paul is that he spent a lot of time thinking between his statements.  More silence and contemplation than talk.  The whole team was like that.  He surrounded himself with smart visionaries who dared to imagine the impossible and do it.

By Ben Eiref, on Sep 12, 2007


In a time when it is easy to lose faith in the morals of men, Paul was one of the few who was able to inspire with his passion, interest and concern for others.

Although I never met Paul, I know the world will miss him.

By john Haren, on Sep 12, 2007

My Condolences to the Family

I’m a former employee of Aerovironment where I served as the Technical Recruitment Specialist for Monrovia and Simi Valley operations. I saw Paul as a very devoted caring individual and nurturer of many careers in his Company. I was fortunate to have him delegate to me, many applicant correspondences. I will always recall when Paul came out to our new SUAV facility , formerly located at 69 Moreland in Simi Valley and also the Moreland UAV facility,  and met with all the new employees (some 275 in one year)that had been hired to design, develop and manufacture Ravens, Dragons, Swift, Puma, HALE and MAV(Wasps), in a short period of time,  he shook hands and talked with individual employees for more then 3 hours. He also noted their individual names on his note pad too. That one gesture showed him to be a great man, a compassionate man, people friendly, mentor, and definitely a loved Family man, as well as being a truly giant of the Aerosoapce-Defense world.

Thank you MaCready family for sharing him with the employees, AV customers and the world. I know he is in a better place. May God Bless him and his family.
Tom Royston

By Tom Royston, BlueCubeGroup, on Sep 12, 2007

missing a friend

As a boy I was in awe of Paul MaCready and his accomplishments.  When I finally became a member of the Adventurers Club I could not believe he was not only a fellow member, but friendly, approachable, and ready to talk with me.

We had wonderful conversations about our mutual interests and I consider knowing him, however briefly, to be a bright light in the tunnel of life.

He made a difference in this world and will be missed dearly by those who appreciate him as a man and as a scientist.

By James Dorsey, on Sep 12, 2007

A qentle genius

Dr MacCready was on the board of the Lindbergh Foundation when I joined the board a few years ago.  Dr MacCready was and is truly one of the most brilliant individuals I have ever met.  He had quiet strength, wisdom and a capacity to listen.  Through the years his counsel and observations have inspired and encouraged.  His presence will be missed, but his wisdom and courage will continue to influence and guide me. My condolences to his family. 

By Carrie W Farmer, on Sep 12, 2007

Spirit of AV

One of the most important things someone can do is build a legacy to make the world a better place.  Paul inspired people and set up a passionate culture at AeroVironment.  His values and ideals are what drove many people to want to work at the company and contribute to some of the most amazing projects in energy and aerospace the world has ever seen. Many people can be grateful for having the chance to be a part of his dream.

By Aaron Fyke, AV Alumnus, on Sep 11, 2007


Paul was my granpa.  He was a very kind, intelligent person who always had cool things to do like a new paper airplane to make or a story to tell.  i think it’s amazing that he had all those accomplishments.  He really was a great man.
I know he is still out there flying above us, watching over me.

By JK, on Sep 11, 2007

Helios Inspiration for My company Phaethon

I am one of those people who never met Dr. MacCready but was touched by his vision and work.  I am the founder of Phaethon, Research of Clean Energy and Arethusa: Investing In Clean Water. 

In 2003,  I saw photographs of Helios on-line and read of its record-breaking flight.The saga of Helios brought me back to the days of my childhood in the 1960’s, the days of the Mercury and Gemini space programs and space age cartoons . As a small boy I used to slide under the thin space between my parents’ bed and floor, simulating and emulating astronauts, John Glenn, Wally Schirrra, and Neil Armstong as they wriggled into the tiny space capsules.

In those days, there days my favorite cartoon was Birdman.  Birdman derived his powers from sunrays. Dr. MacCready and Helios turned Birdman and Cartoon Science fiction into reality now and possibility for the future, For this possibility that I now pursue, I cannot thank Dr. MacCready enough. 

By Richard Williams, Phaethon, on Sep 10, 2007

His legacy lives on…

My sincere sympathies to his family and friends.  It is with great affection that I remember Paul from my time working for AV in the 80s.  Rest assured his legacy lives on, even here in Australia.  A science show on TV was just advertising its upcoming special on unmanned aircraft - and there was the AV logo proudly sailing by!

By Sarah Vincent (formerly Sarah Pruss), on Sep 09, 2007

Many years ago

on Easter Sunday in 1979, I had the wonderful opportunity to join the MacCready family for the holiday festivities at a party with all sorts of distinguished people. I was a classmate of Tyler’s in high school. I will never forget the atmosphere in their home, all the gadgets and the incredible conversations. Dr. MacCready had such an infectious curiosity and passion about life, which clearly he passed on to his children. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing and want to send my warmest thoughts to Mrs. MacCready, Parker, Tyler and Marshall. Whenever I think of Dr. MacCready I cannot help but smile. ~Lenny

By Marilen Pool, on Sep 09, 2007


I will always be grateful for having had the chance to meet Paul MacCready in our work with California Energy Commission’s Transportation Research Planning Group earlier this year.

He looked at the transportation challenges facing California and the world from a unique perspective built on over half a century of developing creative breakthrough solutions and doing what many said could not be done.  I hope his spirit will continue to challenge and guide us to build a cleaner and more secure future for ourselves and future generations.

On behalf of everyone associated with the Transportation Research Planning Group who benefitted from Dr. MacCready’s ideas, THANK YOU.

Warren Wang
Navigant Consulting, Inc.

By Warren L. Wang, Navigant Consulting, Inc., on Sep 08, 2007

Thank you

I only met Dr. MacCready once, in 2000 when he gave an unforgettable lecture for a capstone engineering course during my undergraduate studies.  His enthusiasm and natural curiosity were immensely contagious, and I left the lecture that day feeling like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.  I am still inspired by the kind of thinking he was famous for - not what could he make the most money with, but what made sense and what would inspire people to think about efficiency and the impact we have on the world. 

So thank you, Paul, and may the millions who you inspired be your biggest legacy. 

By M. Koepnick, on Sep 08, 2007

a life well lived

A wonderful congratulations, condolences to family

By neville ford, about to be formed, on Sep 07, 2007

Inspirational community teacher

I had the pleasure of inviting Dr. MacCready to give two presentations and lend objects to a small exhibit about his life in 2006 at the Pasadena Museum of History. The occasion was a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian called Doodles, Drafts, and Designs: Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian.  We wanted to spotlight local creativity in our Pasadena programming and thought Dr. MacCready was a fine example of a local original thinker.  He was extremely generous with his time and amazed everyone with his sharpness, continuing interest in the problems of the day, and ability to teach a general community audience about the principles of flight and energy. I loved the way he gave every person who asked a question his total focus.  Even little children who attended his public lecture were treated with respect and seriousness.  He also spoke to a teacher workshop.  We thought he would be a great presenter to educators because he had often wrote and spoke about the kind of learner he was, one who didn’t do all that well at in school learning.  He was a huge hit with the teachers who felt very honored that he had taken part of his day to address them.  We will sincerely miss him and always regard him as one of Pasadena’s Hometown Heroes.  Our condolences to his family and friends.

By Diane Siegel, Pasadena Museum of History, on Sep 07, 2007

A man with a Vision

My heart felt condolences to his family and all those who had a chance to be a part of Dr. MacCready’s life.  He was a man with great vision and inspiration for creativity of life.
I will always remember him sitting in this little whole in the wall chinese restraunt next to the Rite-Aid store reading a book and just enjoying his meal.  He looked up and said hello Elizabeth, although I didn’t correct him and say who I really was I just said hello back of course that happened a few times after within the company and I would just smile and say to myself why can’t he get my name right.  He will surely be missed

By Linda Binding, on Sep 07, 2007

A Preeminent Design Engineer

Paul MacCready was a preeminent design engineer who squeezed out extremely high, on the edge of the envelope performance from his ingenious creations by applying his unparalleled mastery of the complex interrelationships among the physical principles and economic constraints governing his creations.  I recall fondly the warm conversation I, my father, and MacCready had years ago, as MacCready stood on a Rose Parade float, about our relative, Lajos Rotter, who was a Hungarian aviation pioneer.  May your last flight be peaceful Paul!

By Stephen F. Felszeghy, Cal State Univ., Los Angeles, on Sep 07, 2007

Condolences and Thanks

I had the honor to meet Paul a number of times through my work at Apple Computer; he seemed to be on very good terms with my colleague Alan Kay.  On one occasion, he gave a dinner speech to a small group of educators in San Francisco and I was fortunate to sit next to him; on another, we met at Apple Hill Music Camp in New England.  On the latter occasion, we had the chance to play with, and to program, an early prototype of a Lego Mindstorms robot.  We were quickly able to make it follow a flashlight.  He was inspirational, ever-curious, and on this occasion, he asked me how we had been able to get it to work so quickly; my reply reflected on his work with Gossamer Condor and many other projects - fail as often and as cheaply as possible, learn as much as possible from each failure, persist and do it again.  Thanks for being in the world, for sharing, for your leadership, vision, and gifts to us all.  My condolences to all his family and friends.

By MPH, on Sep 07, 2007

Keep PM Spirit Alive

Paul McCready was unique. His mathematical mind enabled his socially responsible innovations to become a reality. His spirit has moved me to excel at integrating photovoltaics into this world. Thanks Paul, hope we can do your spirit justice.

By Joseph McCabe, on Sep 06, 2007

A kind and patient visionary

I first spoke with Paul MacCready by phone when I called Aerovironment for a long-forgotten energy statistic and was referred to Paul. He took the time to talk with me and to answer my question. Later, as I read his books I was inspired by his do more with less approach and his innovative solutions to insurmountable problems. The world will miss Paul MacCready as it heads into perilous times where wise and patient leaders will be sorely needed. Fortunately, he taught many and many are already at work.

By Bob Siebert, on Sep 06, 2007

A Better World with Innovative and practical envir

Thanks to Paul MacCready, the history about how to found his company Aerovironment, his develop of the Sunny Raccer trough Australia, the cross of the British Channel by the Gossamer the inspiration that bring him to Estephan Beiling of Foster and Partners Architectural firm and jane Kaplinski of Future Systems, the articles in The Time Magazine, Scientific American, Motor Trend all this facts motivated me to found Optimal Environment with the Goal to built a Environmental sustainable developments. I am sure here in Venezuela is the best and wright place to show all this advances, with the plenty of Sun trough the year and wind.
With a net working aroun the world as multidisciplinary fields working together we can materialized buildings, houses, vehicles energy eficiently, working as a whole in a sustainable Environment. We have to develop a Prize, a foundation to aply these standards in every place around the world. XXI Centuries is the time for this kind of pioneer and this environmental advance and now multipliyng these eforts the Life will be better with the continous costruction and advance in the field that he found

By Jaime Norman Velasco Uribe, Optimal Environment Ambiente Optimo, on Sep 06, 2007

Mr. MacCready was a role model to me….

Hello my name is Lorna R. Contreras. My father has been an employee of Aerovironment for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was young I have always been interested in my fathers work and the part his company plays in our world today. I was 14 when at Aerovironments 10th anniversary party came to be. There I got to meet Mr MacCready. It was at the air and space museum. I had asked about the Sunracer and was in wonder. Mr. MacCready explained a little bit about how it was designed and developed. In that year a depression had come over my life and I was acting out in school and not getting good grades like I had done in years before. That day that I talked to Mr. MacCready I asked him why he never gave up. He told me that he couldn’t, that I should never give up either. He couldn’t give up because God had better plans for him. Through out the years after that, what he said stuck with me. I have always wanted to thank him but never had the chance. So here it goes…. Thank You from the bottom of my heart. Your words and what you have done not only for me but for the world is much appreciated and you will be dearly missed.

By Lorna R. Contreras, on Sep 06, 2007

Remembering Dr. MacCready…

What a shock it is to learn of Dr. MacCready’s passing. I had the pleasure of working for him in the absence of his assistant on several occasions during my first 3 years at AV. To this day, there are times when I’ve thought of him and chuckled to myself about how much trouble he had using the phone system…it really seemed to puzzle him. Mostly, I got to see his brilliant mind at work while typing his white papers for him. And when I saw him sitting on the couch in his office, staring into space with a notepad on his lap and pen in hand, I knew he was thinking up something amazing. What a great loss this is for his family, AV, and the world at large. My condolences to all.

By Candace Pearson Ramirez, on Sep 06, 2007

In a memory of big Talent

May be the biggest pioneer in aerodynamics of our era.
Non-standard aproach to all in his activity, starting from his flights, when he was and a glider pilot. He was successful where others tried but could not do nothing….
It is a talent.

By Staff, ANEMOSPHERE, on Sep 06, 2007


In the brief time I was involved with the Gossasmer Condor project, there was not the slightest doubt in my mind that the team Paul had assembled would win the Kremer Prize.  Quiet efficiency are my memories of the man and his team.  Soar on.

By Michael Esdaile, Advantage Publishing, on Sep 05, 2007


In the brief time I was involved with the Gossamer Condor project, there was not the slightest doubt in my mind that the team Paul had assembled would win the Kremer Prize.  Quiet efficiency are my memories of the man and the Condor team.  Soar on.

By Michael Esdaile, Advantage Publishing, on Sep 05, 2007

A very sad day for the world

It is with a terribly heavy heart and very tear-filled eyes that I write this note of condolence. Paul was a great mentor to me. . .at so many levels. . . as a pilot. . .as a supreme visionary. . . as a person of eternal curiousity, unbridled zeal and amazing humbleness who had a childlike passion for exploring the extremes of design that made this world a better place. I met Paul through the Lindberg Foundation many years ago and we quickly became friends. He in turn introduced me to the TED conference for which I am forever grateful—in great part because I then had the chance to see him at least once a year and spend some quality time. I had the good fortune to even meet his very accomplished sons. Paul was such a force of life, I find it difficult to think of his passing. In truth, I think Paul will never pass away. He remains very much alive in the minds and hearts of the countless people he inspired, myself included. Thanks you Paul for everything you brought to this world.

By Tierney Thys, Sea Studios Foundation, on Sep 05, 2007

A Culture of Innovation

In addition to being a great innovator himself, Paul created a culture of innovation.  He attracted bright, talented people and collectively they did some truly remarkable things.  His all-encompassing way of thinking was an inspiration to everyone he touched.  A few years ago I had the fortunate opportunity to work with Paul on one of his crazy little projects.  One day, as we were leaving for home, I asked him if he would like one of the toys I had made to give as Christmas gifts. He replied, Of course. I love toys.

By Rich Zanteson, on Sep 05, 2007

Inspiring Creativity

Paul MacCready spoke to some 400 junior high science teachers at a workshop held at our prep school in San Marino a decade ago.  In his quiet, friendly voice, he asked the teachers to urge students to question their texts, the theories, the teachers’ pronouncements, then to test things out for themselves.  This brought many questions and comments from teachers not used to being challenged, teachers who began to catch on to what Paul was preaching.  Paul’s students began to think of creative scientists who had challenged the theories and gone on to test things out for themselves.  They asked Paul to rate the best - Einstein?  Newton?  daVinci?  Who were the creative geniuses of history,  and who are the top creators today?  Paul answered, I’d suggest the most creative minds today belong to the cartoonists who create the daily comic, who must come up with a funny quip every day! I’ve used Paul’s example many times with teachers and students, and I appreciate the thought as I appreciate all Paul MacCready taught our generation of creativity.

By Kenneth Veronda, Southwestern Academy, on Sep 05, 2007

Great Loss - Eternal Inspiration

It was a great privilege to work for Paul on the Gossamer Albatross-Penguin and later as an AV employee.  It didn’t take long to realize that one should never discount any of Paul’s ideas, even if they seemed bizarre, impractical or trivial at first reaction.  There was brilliance and vision in each idea - the cliche thinking-out-of-the box must have been inspired by Paul.  He was also a kind and humble person.

By John Volk, on Sep 04, 2007

One of your Legacies

Was to Sailplane pilots Worldwide, the MacCready speed to fly theory.
Universally used and appreciated.
Thank you Paul B. MacCready.

By Sailplane, on Sep 04, 2007

You inspired a whole generation, Paul..

I was 7 when I watched the Gossamer Condor crossing the Channel. The impact of Paul’s ingenious on me was uplifting. He expanded my mind beyond the horizons of imagination.  I owe him my endless passion of aeronautics. His words, quotes, work, and beliefs in the power of the human inspired generation after generation.

Farewell Paul MacCready

By Ahmed Esmat, Military Technical College, on Sep 04, 2007

Lunch with Paul

I’ll miss having lunch with Dr. Mac every couple weeks-never ceasing to wonder at the magnificent intelligence sitting across the table from me, and at how lucky I’ve been to know him. We would talk about everything from batteries for electric vehicles to world population. I joined AV in 1990 and have been richer because of my association with him. The world is richer because of him.

By Charlie Botsford, AV, on Sep 04, 2007

A Great Man

I first had the opportunity to meet Dr. MacCready during my internship at AV in 2002.  Paul always had his door open.  He was a man who lead by example and treated everybody as a somebody.  I appreciated his advice, inspiration and reflection.  He will be greatly missed.  My condolences and best wishes to his family, his company and the world for losing such a great man.

By Ed Lieberman, Bloom Energy, on Sep 03, 2007

Our thoughts

The Klemperer children and grandchildren are profoundly honored to have known Paul on a personal level.  Both Eleanor and I had more than one opportunity to have spent time in Paul’s presence.  All those brief times we will keep as cherished.

Judy, just know that our entire family are among the millions of people who will miss Paul.

Thank you,

Walter Klemperer, Ashlee, and Katherine WarnerEleanor Velarde and her son Greg Orloff
Eleanor’s e-mail <>

By Walter and Eleanor Klemperer, Children of Wolfgang, on Sep 03, 2007

Brilliant visionary, but it is the little things t

For the limited few who have never heard of Paul, even the briefest scan of his bio and comments from his countless and growing well-wishers would clearly give one a sense that he was truly a great man and had a tremendous impact on the world. However, having had the honor and pleasure over this past decade of working for his company, I must admit that it is the little things about him that I will miss most.

He took Doing More with Less to an extreme. He even removed the hood ornament from his beat-up old Buick sedan to improve the aerodynamics (a car he drove for years and still had at the time of his company’s IPO). Environmentalists need not be concernedhis primary commuter was a pure, battery-powered, Toyota RAV loaned to him because of his environmental efforts.  Even after the IPO, when he could have treated himself to a car stable filled with Ferraris, he opted instead for a single hybrid-electric Camry.  Paul was humble about both his achievements and fortunes and always had his eye on minimizing the impact to our Earth.

Paul also was a terrific speaker with a great sense of humor.  Several years ago during a thank you speech after receiving one of his many aviation awards, he talked about the importance of flexible goals. By analogy, he pointed out that it was easier to shoot an arrow first and draw a target around where it landed, than to establish the target first? It caught me so off guard that I guffawed at our table and was still chuckling at the end of the ceremony as we headed for the exit.  As funny as the statement was, he was right.  Who could have known in the beginning that work on human-powered aircraft and a flying replica of a winged-dinosaur would ultimately help enable AV’s current portfolio of unmanned aircraft used for communications and reconnaissance?

I never will forget my last day of work at AV in May-little did I know that it would be my last time seeing Paul.  He was in his office, where we would frequently see him at his desk or on his couch, files in hand, working on his latest ideas-inventions or preparing for an upcoming speaking engagement.  I was so late trying to wrap up my work and pick up the kids at school 30-miles away that I didn’t have time to say goodbye to anybody.  However, as I was about to leave, Paul came out of his office to personally say goodbye and wish me well.  We intended to talk again in a couple months.  If only I had known.

We’ll miss you, Paul.

Great man.  Great visionary.  Great human being.


Stu Hindle

By Stu Hindle, on Sep 03, 2007

Goodbye Dr. MacCready

While cruising the English Channel, I learned of Dr. MacCready’s passing.  So in his memory I went outside, closed my eyes and imagined the Gossamer Albatross crossing overhead.  Upon seeing it, I said a prayer for the MacCready family.  Dr. MacCready was a wonderful person that left a profound mark on this earth and he will be missed deeply.  My heart goes out to the MacCready family and also to the AV family.

By Dana Corliss (nee Jordan), The Corliss Group, on Sep 03, 2007

A Brilliant Creative Mind with a Generous Humble S

Paul gave me my first first job out of college at MRI and allowed me to work on a grant project that paved the way for my M.S. and Ph.D. I loved listening to him think creatively out loud about things that would be challenging and rewarding to try to accomplish to advance our understanding and make the world a better place. I thrilled to learn of his great accomplishments over the years and told others that I had the priviledge of working for him in the early days when he started to think and work on those ideas. Paul was a great example to me for his great strengths of character as well as his amazing accomplishments. I would like to express the condolences of our family to Judy and their sons and to his associates, and to express my hope that you will all carry on with his creative work and generous humble spirit.

By Brand Niemann, US EPA, on Sep 03, 2007

I wanted to compete with the best, now he’s gone

I went to an electric vehicle club meeting back in the Impact days, where I expected to cut Dr. Macready down to size from the back row at his speech. He took the wind out of my sails by voluteering my own blasphemy that present electrical cars probably produced more carbon dioxde than the gasoline cars they would replace. Later I pointed out the 50’s Nasa papers about ground effect and reflex airfoils that defined the sunracer without any of the advanced computing claimed. The crowd boo-ed me at that point. Dr. Macready was gracious and suggested we talk afterwards. The crowds surrounded him afterwards and with my shyness I did not talk to him. It was because he was the best that I looked for flaws and ways to do his work better than him. Of course, I am an idiot for not finding a way to work with him.

By Francis X. Gentile,, on Sep 02, 2007


Deep and loving thanks to Paul for all he’s done for the flight of our minds.

By Enrico, aeroclub Valle d'Aosta, on Sep 02, 2007

More with less is going on

I had the opportunity to met Paul MacCready several time: as glider pilot, steward in the Solar Challenge 1987 and together with Paul as stewards in the Sunrayce solarcar race in 1993. It was inspiring to see one of the greatest engineers. He inspired many fields form soaring to electric vehicles.
The Implementing Agreement Hybrid and electric vehicles of the International Energy Agency (IEA) nominated Paul MacCready for the personal award 2007 as an EV pioneer. We have to continue his work. - Thank you for the inspiration!

By Urs Muntwyler, International Energy Agency IA Hybrid and elektrtr, on Sep 02, 2007

He influenced whole world

I feel a personal loss. Who am I to say this ? I never even met him…
I first heard his name in 1979 when I was 27 living behind the iron curtain in USSR.
It was in the news about the first human powered flight across the LaMansh channel (this is how it is called in Russia) with Gossamer Albatross. IN the country where even basic flying was beyond the limits for me personally , such achievement was like bringing magic into the earthly life. I remember that day… I felt magic in the air…
From that day on I remembered the name Paul MacCready to the rest of my life. Later after I have learn more about his other implemented inventions, he became for me an example of the super human if such term has any place in real life. Envision the impossible, seek it’s implementation and overcome all the obsticle to show the people that it is possible - this takes more than just a tallent - it should take a POWER to make great idea into reality!
I will always feel unfortunate that I never had a chance to meet him personally, yet, - as a citizen from another side of the world I assure you, that HE INFLUENCED THE WORLD.
May God take his soul into the Highest of the Heavens. May his life be the encouragement to all to dream, to design, to create, to fly.

By Vlad Blanshey, on Sep 02, 2007

Farewell Dr. MacCready, and thanks…

for boldly pushing the envelope while nurturing a new generation of technologists. The world is a better place because of your vision and perspective. Godspeed.

By Jay Willmott, on Sep 01, 2007

My Condolences

I will deeply miss Paul MacCready; he was a true friend.  More than any one I know, he was aware of the dangers we all face due to environmental abuse, and he was aware of the possibilities for solving these problems.  It is my desire that people will remember him not just for his aeronautical accomplishments, but also for his environmental vision and achievements.  May others follow passionately in his footsteps.

By Wally E. Rippel, Tesla Motors, on Sep 01, 2007

An inspiration to do more.

I have had the honor of meeting Paul MacCready only once, but during the brief period of time that we discussed my projects and my small helicopters I knew with absolute certainty that I and my new ideas was the center of his universe. His ability to see beyond the normal limits will always inspire us all to Do more with less.

By Petter Muren, on Sep 01, 2007

Paul MacCready, Great Mentor

I am so fortunate to have known you.  You were, and always will be, a great mentor for me.  You listened to my ideas, you taught me, you inspired me.  Thank you for sharing with me and thank you for so many great memories.  I will charish these for the rest of my life.

By Pete Plumb, Wood Wing Specialty, on Sep 01, 2007

Memories of Paul

Paul & I became friends about 20 years ago and worked together and traveled together on projects relating to automotive powertrains, distributed generation, education of engineers and scientists and just having fun.  Fond memories include Ike and I watching Paul fly in an antique biplane in the Black Forest; watching Paul intensely study the flight technology of birds in the Deutsches Museum (yes, he and da Vinci studied the birds);  attending the US Hang Glider Association reunion at Dockweiler Beach and strolling past the many pilots in awe of Paul-the charter member; standing with him on the runway of the Santa Monica airport while ex-Navy fighter pilot David Price flies a P-51 Mustang with Tyler in the front seat doing barrel rolls up the beach; watching Paul address the Aeronautical Engineering school at Purdue University where he was introduced by President Martin Jischke-an Aero Engineer in awe of Paul; watching him address a group of severely handicapped children with Dr. Chuck Dietzen in the Energy Lab at IUPUI discussing the Gossamer Spirit project in which a paraplegic athlete would fly a replica of the Gossamer Condor around the Kremer prize course—a so far unrealized project; listening to him discuss with Dean Yurtseven the possibility of a Renaissance Conference at the IUPUI conference center to focus on major challenges to society.

A man whom the world was fortunate to have….will sorely miss…..and who will continue to motivate us to do more with less.

Barbara and I offer our sincerest condolences to Judy and to the AeroVironment family.

Bill Wylam
International Energy, LLC

By Bill Wylam, International Energy, LLC, on Sep 01, 2007

He Thought Out of the Box

In 1986 I was trying to start a project to build and enter a solar powered car in a transcontinental race across Australia.  A mutual friend told me that Paul was interested in the same event.  I made contact, and with his help and the resources at AeroVironment we were able to convince the Management at General Motors to sponsor the project.  Less than a year later, the Sunraycer, as we named the vehicle, won the race days ahead of the second place car, and now resides in the Smithsonian Museum.  Paul’s keen insight into many of the critical design factors were key elements of our victory.  This success led to the development of the prototype of the electric car that was produced as the General Motors EV-1.
    Farewell Paul, I know your wings will be the lightest, strongest, and most efficient of any they’ve ever seen.

By Howard Wilson, Huighes Aircraft and General Motors, on Sep 01, 2007

He gave wings to Angels!

Paul MacCready should be remembered as some one who wasn’t afraid to dream, and make dreams come true. What he has achieved is nothing less than a miracle carried out with human hands and inginuity. I had the pleasure of being one of his first test pilots in the Gossamer Condor, and now 30 years later it is one of my fondest memories, and greatest stories.

I like to kid people by telling them that I helped get the sport of cycling off the ground, but Paul gave me the wings.

Bless you Paul, I know you’re up there flying around some where,

Ron Skarin

By Ron Skarin, A Recycled Cyclist, on Aug 31, 2007

from Europe-Holland

Like so many young kids , I started gliding as a stepping stoneinto the real world of aviation.
Thanks to Paul , I learned in my early gliding days to better understand the concept of speed and how to optimally schieve speed during cross country gliding.
His name was- and is still and will remain attached to the Mc Cready ring on our variometer. But the greates achievement of Paul that really amazed me were his man-poweredflying devices !A great inspirator for many around the globe has left us on his final glide. My condoleances to his next of kin .
I hope it gives them some peace of mind to know that many , many people on this earth will always remember him and his inspiring achievements!

By Harold, on Aug 31, 2007

On the Shoulders of Giants

It was with a loss of words and a true feeling of great sadness that that I read of Paul MacCready’s passing.
He was trully a great engineer, scientist, inventor, flyer, visionary and environmentalist. History will certainly count MacCready in the numbered few amongst humanity on whose shoulders of giants others will stand on. His creative genius examples have allready and will further in the future, inspire others to take heed and do more with less.

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci

By A. Clausell, on Aug 31, 2007

Farewell Paul McCready

I posted the following message on another site and would like to copy them here:-

I met Paul McCready way back in the very early fifties when he landed away whilst competing in the (world?) gliding championships from Great Hucklow.

I was about ten or eleven at the time and remember his all-metal glider which was a Scweitzer 1-23 I think. Anyway, the hero was very happy to talk to a young aeroplane-mad lad whilst awaiting his recovery team, which is why I remember him and his glider so well from those far-off days.

Thank you Paul, you were a part of the inspiration I had to escape my humble beginnings into the world of flying. I have retired now after many years as a professional pilot and trainer but you are long remembered by me and, I am sure by so many others. A gentleman and a visionary.

Should his family ever read these notes, I would like to offer them my sincere condolances and sympathy in their loss.

As a footnote, if anyone can correlate dates and type, I would be most interested.

I now realize that I was 13 years old however, the sentiment remains. NB

By Norman Brewitt, on Aug 31, 2007

The legend will continue

On behalf of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, I extend our sincere condolences to the MacCready Family, including those who worked with and were touched by such an extraordinary innovator.  You have our assurance that his legacy will not only be preserved but will be proudly used by the Hall of Fame’s Learning Center and Project SkyReach education programs to inspire and catalyze future visionaries.

By Ronald J. Kaplan, National Aviation Hall of Fame, on Aug 31, 2007

God speed, Paul MacCready

You will always be my hero.

By Laddie Scott Odom, URL Labs, on Aug 31, 2007

Touched by a mind.

I think Paul lives on within everyone he touched.

I know that I picked up a little (not enough) of the thoughtful, analytical, balanced and dedicated mind of Dr. McCready. What a thrill to have known him. So sad his passing.


By PhilipEsdaile, Gossamer Condor, on Aug 31, 2007

A unique man

I had the opportunity to talk with Paul a number of times, and always left feeling awed and inspired.  I consider those short visits one of the treasures of my life.

By Norm Brayn, UC Davis Institute of Transportatin Studies, on Aug 31, 2007

Paul MacCready: One of my heros

I first learned about Dr. MacCready during the days of the Gossamer Condor. In a book about the project, I was inspiried to learn how he balanced a passion for aviation, a make-do spirit, the need to turn out a product, and a talent for bringing out the best in talented people.  I would have loved to have been a part of that team. Thank you, Paul MacCready, for showing the way.

By Michael Cantor, Ph. D., WayPoint Research, Inc., on Aug 30, 2007

Thanks from a soaring pilot

Goodbye Paul~
You will be greatly missed. Your tremendous contributions to the gliding community, the enviorment & the world can’t even be measured. You had & have today a great impact on the sailplane, hang gliding & paragliding community. As a pilot of all three types of craft I use instruments incorporating your ideas every day. Your sense of wonder & spirit of adventure is an inspiration to us all!

May your spirit forever soar!

Wally Anderson

By Wally Anderson, Merlin Flight School, on Aug 30, 2007

When No One Else Would Listen

Having corresponded with Paul a number of times on UAV and MAV concepts, it was amazing his generosity with his time and how he listened and gave guidance in my designs, ideas and concepts and steered me in the right direction. Often I found that others would not listen, yet he was so intrigued by original thought and ideas and even until the end seems to have been a sharp mind, most likely because he used it so well.

Paul MacCready was an inspiration to me and mentored me with several of my concepts, giving me advice and allowing my ideas to be passed on to his team members to help in the AeroEnvironment cause. Visionary comes to mind when I hear his name, but he was even more than that. He was a Creative Genius with perseverance and never knew the word never.

We all owe it to ourselves to follow his legacy as he always led by example and he never gave up. One of the most impressive people I have ever corresponded with, we need more like him, so let’s all try to be more like him and promise ourselves to take all this to the next step and continue the forward progression of mankind. - Lance

By Lance Winslow, Online Think Tank, on Aug 30, 2007


My condolences from a sincere admirer from Italy.

By Luca Mariotti, on Aug 30, 2007

Genius and humility

I was lucky enough to attend a conference at which Paul MacCready spoke, along with a representative of the local birds-of-prey society. A huge owl was silently gliding just above our heads as Paul made a comment in his quiet voice: Along the trailing edge of an owl’s wings are over a thousand individually operated control surfaces. We think ourselves so smart because the wings of our flying machines have two.

The conference was about 10 years ago. I can easily recall what he said his quiet voice.  May we all.

By David Parker, on Aug 30, 2007

A true Renaissance man !!

A Renaissance man looks at the world with great curiosity and feels confident that his education and mental tools will allow him to deal intelligently with any observation or discovery - for Paul MacCready, like Leonardo da Vinci, no field was uninteresting or ununderstandable, and in his mind there were no artificial barriers dividing abstract from practical thinking. Such men are a gift to humanity, and I sincerely hope that Paul’s country will find a way to remember and honor him accordingly.

By Alvaro de Orleans-Borbon, Federation Aeronautique Internationale, on Aug 30, 2007

Wow! What a Life and inspiration

I was privileged to hear Dr. MacCready talk several times and was able to actually able to speak to him twice. The last time was in Atlanta where he signed my EAA 100 years of flight book, which sits in a very visible place in my office.

The good Dr. always took the time to speak to each and everyone who wanted to ask questions and I saw him take time with children and to be a true ambassador for flight. I will always practice doing more with less due to his influence.

By Cliff Whitney,, on Aug 30, 2007

A Modern DaVinci

Paul was an inspiration to me and I believe to all in the Advisory Council of the Baylor Institute of Air Science, of which he was a member. He was a modest and quiet person,  who spoke sparingly but with depth. His cosmic awareness was revealing and inspiring to me. To me he was a modern DaVinci. He will be sorely missed and always remembered.

By Sergio C. Trindade, SE2T International, Ltd, on Aug 30, 2007

An inspiration for those who never met you

Dr. MacCready’s AeroVironment was a consistent participant in the Air and Waste Management Association annual exhibition, and I always looked forward to visiting the AV booth to learn what new and wonderful activities they were engaged in. When AV brought in the head of the Quezalcoatlus northropii one year, I was amazed at the stories of the development of the flying pterosaur, and the intent to have it fly around the Washington Monument during the bicentennial celebrations. From all of us who grew up with dinosaurs in our cribs and playpens, thank you, Dr. MacCready, for resurrecting this model of prehistoric flight, inspiring us to also use our skills to seek solutions to age-old problems.

By Ralph Froehlich, Helix Environmental, Inc., on Aug 30, 2007

To the McCready Family and AeroVironment Family

My condolences to you all.

By Dennis Dorsey, Era Helicopters LLC, on Aug 30, 2007

Farewell to a pioneer

I was never lucky enough to meet Paul, but through reading about his exploits, contact with his friends and colleagues, I understand what a pioneer he was.  Paul ushered in a new era of more with less that will be the guiding light in science and engineering for years to come.  His work inspired me to follow my dream to become an aeronautical engineer, and all I can say is… Thank You.

By Sean M. Frawley, on Aug 30, 2007

My sympathy on your loss…

I had the honor of meeting Dr. MacCready and the privledge of working with Marshall and the AeroVironment team when I worked at the NASA Dryden Flilght Research Center. As one has posted on the AV site, a modern DaVinci. He was an increidible man. When you heard his ideas, that brain constantly thinking of new ways to acheive achievement in the air, it was quite an inspiration. I love my airliners and my spacecraft, but he made me think in new ways about aviation.

When you all had the mobile control van mounted with what we endearingly called the cow catcher seats, I was your video cameraman documenting the flights from that angle. It was a lot of fun.

I worked with a number of contractor companies that teamed with our research in my ten years a DFRC, but it was the AeroVironment team that really caught my imagination. It was the AeroVironment team that worked with the highest professionalism and research acumen that I saw. I know that the AV team took their lead from the vision of Paul MacCready. I am glad to say my last day of flight support at Dryden in 1999 was a flight with one of their aircraft. My sympathy to his family and the AeroVironment family.


Tim Miller

By Tim Miller, former contractor-NASA TV producer at Dryden, on Aug 30, 2007

Always an Inspiration

I joined AeroVironment right out of college as a newly minted meteorologist.  AeroVironment was a magic place populated with talented, motivated people in an environment that encouraged the dreamer and imagination.  This environment was created by Paul, and it energized us all.  It is an honor to be one of many who had the opportunity to work with and be inspired by Paul.  My sincere condolences to the MacCready Family and to the people whose lives Paul touched.

By Alex Barnett, ENSR, on Aug 30, 2007

the record champion

Let us not forget that Paul MacCready in 1956 won the world soaring championships in France after seven contest days with a record lead of 1096 points over his nearest rival. No. 9 (the 1952 world champion!) was 1872 points behind. It was a revolution for the world of soaring. And this was only the beginning of his great contribution to aviation and indeed the world at large. Sincere condolences to his loved ones and his company. He will not be forgotten.

By Albert Hengelaar, on Aug 30, 2007

A Sign of a Truly Great Man

I have been involved in aviation for more than 35-years and began in soaring.  Throughout that entire time the name of Paul MacCready has been synonymous with brilliance, aviation genius, and an enduring entrepreneurial spirit.  His thoughts, analyses,  and studies, have affected almost every aspect of aviation as we know it today.

I met Paul on several occasions in my earlier days and remember fondly discussions with him near a campfire or over a restaurant dinner table.  As I read over these various thoughts left by the many people that knew Paul I am at once struck by the idea that he displayed a trait that is shared by very few people.  When Paul spoke to you, even if for only a few moments, you knew with absolute certainty that you were the center of his universe for that brief period of time.  This is a trait that I believe is shared by many of the greatest people to live and one that is nearly impossible to learn.  The ability to be compassionate and empathetic about anothers thoughts, motivations, ideas, and feelings possibly to the exclusion of your own. 

Paul truly was a great man, and very obliviously from the many entries on these web pages, he found a way to touch many thousands of lives, and make each person he came in contact with feel as though they had a close friend in Paul MacCready.  He will be missed by everyone whom he knew, and my sincere condolences go out to the many family members, friends, and associates for whom this loss creates an unfillable void.

By Dave, on Aug 30, 2007

An inspiration to a young graduate.

Went to work this morning and read the news. I worked at AV right out of college (BS in CS & Engineering). I had the honor of meeting Dr. MacCready during one of those AV lunch meetings. MacCready spoke of quiet airplanes and the future of UAVs. I remember talking to him after the presentation. He was definitely the pioneer that I imagined, a good business man, and a big inspiration to me. Each time I see or hear of an electric car or UAV, I will think of Dr. MacCready.

By Michael Ma, Former AV FTE, on Aug 30, 2007


Truly what Paul has done has inspired us. We are also humbled by it. What is really great is that it is not lost. We fly a MacCready speed to the next thermal, seeing his work everywhere. We are blessed.

By Dawid Pretorius, Just another glider pilot, on Aug 30, 2007




Our deepest condolences

I wanted to convey my deepest condolences on behalf of my family. I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. MacCready and his family during those amazing times.  Thanks for teaching us how to see the world in a different manner.

By JM Maisterra, on Aug 30, 2007

A Very Special Aviator

I never met Paul MacCready but as an aviation nut I have, for 40 years, thrilled at his mastery of innovative flight techniques. He was a giant of applied physics and hands-on aeronautics and his horizons always appeared to be beyond those of his peers. America should rightly be proud to have given us such a man.

By R.T.(Bob) Bowden, on Aug 30, 2007

A Privilege to Have Worked for Paul

Even though I didn’t interface that much with Paul, it was a great privilege to have worked for his company and to know him. For a man of such tremendous accomplishments, he was very modest and approachable. One of my fondest memories was when I tried to interest him in the aerodynamics of racing cars, which have always been my passion. Paul billed himself as Mr. Low and Slow, while I loved power and speed. What a combination! While we had a very interesting discussion on this subject, after looking into the competition in this area, he decided not to pursue it.

We have truly lost a great person.

By Dennis Fitz, University of California, on Aug 30, 2007

Remembering Paul B.MacCready

On behalf of California Bank & Trust , we wish to convey our deepest sympathy on the passing of Paul MacCready, a truly innovative and honorable man.  We were privileged to share a meaningful and enriching business relationship with Paul and Aerovironment for over five years.  Our thoughts are with the family and all of the Aerovironment employees as you mourn the loss and celebrate Paul’s remarkable life.  He will be missed by many.  Please accept our heartfelt condolences.


Scott Monson, Bill Gunnell and Joe Lim
California Bank & Trust

By Bill Gunnell, California Bank & Trust, on Aug 30, 2007

Honored to have had several meals with Dr. MacCrea

I was a classmate of Dr. MacCready’s sons Parker and Tyler at The Thacher School, in Ojai, CA, in the late seventies (when the Gossamer Condor Kramer Prize win was still relatively recent). Although his boys were a year or two older than I, Dr. Paul was a superb lunch or dinner companion whenever he visited campus (Thacher was a boarding school). I enjoyed his company enormously, and he greatly influenced my decision to go to Caltech for my undergraduate engineering degree education (which I did, graduating BSEE Caltech Class of 1985)

Rest in peace dear Doctor; you touched my life at a very impressionable age.

And to his sons Tyler and Parker, my heartfelt condolences to you, your mother, and your respective families on your loss. Best wishes to you all always.

—Charles Barrett
C. de P. 1981

By Charles Barrett, on Aug 30, 2007

All Glider Pilots Will Remember HIm….

...when several times each flight they will set or review the MacCready setting on their computers or instruments. All over the world, every hour of every day, somewhere there is a glider pilot in the air and he knows Paul MacCready….. what a legacy from just one of his inventions.

By Bob Lepp, on Aug 30, 2007

Thank you from SSP

Thank you, Dr. MacCready,  for the fond memories and your many contributions to the Summer Science Program in Ojai.

By Steve Pier, on Aug 30, 2007

a hugely talented man

paul maccready was a hugely talented man.  on behalf
of those at the du pont company who worked with him
on gossamer albatross, penguin, and solar challenger,
I salute him. he provided many unforgettable moments
in my professional life. my wife joanne joins in condolences
to judy and their sons.
dick woodward

By dick woodward, du pont, on Aug 30, 2007

A daring experimental physicist…

... who was one of the few scientists to fly a free balloon into thunderclouds in a stunningly dangerous research project in New Mexico,  I met him by chance on the airport bus a few years ago returning from the Soaring Society conference and asked him about this somewhat risky project.  He told me that he remembers most that it was cold and wet!

Perhaps true innovators have to be a little bit crazy!

By Michael Stringfellow, PowerCET Corporation, on Aug 29, 2007

A person of great consequence

I first heard of Paul through the hang gliding community in the early 1970s. Even in that narrow context it was obvious that he was an innovator and a visionary, yet with a solidly practical bent. I was extremely fortunate to get the chance to work with Paul in the later 1970s. He was an amazing person to work with, mostly since he was such a multi-threaded personality. He could seem to be a fairly mundane sort of family guy, and then the next moment would say or do something that showed he had depth and capabilities in areas entirely unexpected, at least by me. His solid and sometimes even ruthless business sense was interleaved with sparkles of joy in even the smallest things. To watch him takes notes in his thin scrawl, using a fine-tip Pilot marker in what seemed to be an ever-present science notebook, was always intriguing: what’s he working on this time? He was such an engaging mix of distance and warmth, brilliance and normalness, daringness and caution, studiousness and abandon. I’m sure I never came anywhere close to deeply understanding him. I hope and expect that many of the themes he promoted during his lifetime will become widely adopted and emulated. When Paul praised something, he would often invoke the word elegant, in the sense of precision, neatness, and simplicity. Though he was much more than just that, his scientific and perceptual elegance was a striking feature of his personality. My condolences go out to his family, as they have lost someone of great consequence.

By Bryan L. Allen, on Aug 29, 2007

A great man and a great boss

I worked at AV in the 80’s, and remember Paul’s verve and enthusiasm. He was a great supporter of Caltech as well. I’m honoured to have known him.

By John Bongiovanni, on Aug 29, 2007

Thank you Paul.

I had the great privilege to work for AV back in the 80’s and had the pleasure to meet Dr. MacCready on several occasions.  He was a delightful human being besides being an inspiration to us all.  AV was one of the few places where, even after I’d been away for several years, I could still call and get caught up on my former coworkers through the grapevine.  By far, AV was my favorite place to work for so many reasons.  The projects at AV were fascinating demonstrations of Mac’s innovative and creative thinking, and each one gave me a new set of goosebumps as I stood in awe. I now live and work in the Palm Springs area, and during my daily commute, I still proudly think of Mac and AV as I drive by the thousands of wind generators in the San Gorgonio Pass that were on the cutting edge of Green Technology 20 years ago, and have added so much to our world.

Thank you Paul, fly freely.

By Julia Countryman (Phillips), AV, on Aug 29, 2007

think out of the box

I had the opportunity to meet him in Aachen, Germany, where he held a lecture at the Fachhochschule about his projects. It was an important experience for me to feel how he kept himself open minded through all of his life, especially his enthusiasm for flying and flying objects, which I share with him. He and his life is an model for all of us!


By Andreas Friedrichs, FRIEDRICHS FILTERSYSTEME GMBH, on Aug 29, 2007


As a glider pilot, MacCready has been one of the first words I learnt. When, a few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Paul MacCready at a meeting in Milan, I felt deeply happy. His spirit was lighter than the lightest of his marvellous creations.

By Aldo Cernezzi, on Aug 29, 2007

Good bye Mr. MacCready

Thank you for all you have done for us.

From everybody at

By PostFrontal, on Aug 29, 2007

Career of inspiration

Having read of his exploits since childhood and finding inspration in all of his various activities, this is a time of sorrow and reflection on a life well lived.

By Daniel Walton, Hawker Beechcraft Corp., on Aug 29, 2007

thanks from a soaring fun

Thank you Paul, from one of the thousands Soaring pilots that have seen in you an example of imagination and original thinking. every time I’ll board my glider, I’ll think of you….

By Marco P.V., on Aug 29, 2007

Visionary Leader

I had the great fortune of meeting Paul in 2001.  What an honor to meet such a legendary, yet incredibly humble, visionary leader, thinker and doer.  Two years later, he was the opening keynote speaker at our annual Forum in Los Angeles, reminding us that A Different Starting Point Explores Different Actions.  He left us awestruck.

By Bill Bellows, In2:InThinking Network, on Aug 29, 2007

Life is fleeting; inspiration is eternal.

Dr. MacCready showed us all that dreams can become reality—but not just by dreaming about them. Knowledge, dedication, curiosity, inventiveness—and focus—these lead to great accomplishments, and make great men. Dr. MacCready was a great man. I never met him, but I’ll never forget him; and I know I’m not alone in this.

By Tim Kern, Tim Kern INK, on Aug 29, 2007

An inspiration

It is sometimes difficult to motivate community college students to work hard and transfer to the university. I didn’t know Dr. MacCready personally, but I’ve used his story of quiet determination to motivate my students. Finding out how even great men like Dr. MacCready struggle, fail, and continue to struggle lets my students know that setbacks are a normal part of learning and success. No one succeeds who has not weathered such setbacks. Dr. MacCready’s work, achieving all the world wide accolades it deserves, continues to inspire my students to push themselves past disappointment and to continue to explore new ideas and new paths to greatness. May his family and friends find some peace in the idea that he will continue to inspire students long after his death…

By Joe Franko, Mount San Antonio College, on Aug 29, 2007

I was privileged

I was privileged to observe first-hand the development of his human- and solar-powered aircraft in the late seventies and early eighties. My condolences to his wife and family.

By Don Monroe, on Aug 29, 2007

Thanks for Your Support

It is with a great deal of sadness that the college learned of the passing of Paul MacCready. I am sure that his leadership as founder of this impressive company will be greatly missed but imagine it will be the vision he ably provided for so many years that cannot be replaced.

He was such a standout in his industry that there are far too many accomplishments and milestones to mention, but I would be remiss if I did not mention that his sage advice and creativity will be sorely missed at Harvey Mudd College and on my Presidents Corporate Advisory Council.

The time taken by leaders such as Paul to support the college and its programs has helped make Harvey Mudd a great educational institution, and we are truly grateful for his support over the years.

As we embark on a major effort involving sustainability, an area where his expertise would have been invaluable, it is truly sad that he will not be available to help us down this exciting path.

By Maria Klawe, Harvey Mudd College, on Aug 29, 2007

Great Men are Simple

I was saddened by the news of Paul’s Death. I was listening to a sermon on the radio this morning, the day after, and one of the points was that one characteristic of great people is their simplicity. They live true to their visions, undistracted.

Paul’s vision was to inspire humanity through the power of human flight. What greater symbol than flight is there for a life such as his, lived so fully, and so generously?

By Mark Valentine, Penton Media, Inc., on Aug 29, 2007

Thank you Paul

Che tutto il tuo impegno profuso per volare al meglio in terra ti serva ora per volare ancora meglio nel nuovo cielo ....

By W. Giordani,, on Aug 29, 2007

A Great Mind

I worked for Paul and AV in the ‘60s and ‘70’s.  It was my first job after my obtaining my degree in meteorology.  Paul helped teach us the value of creativity, entrepreneurship and imagination.  And Vitamin C.  He even scheduled classes for employees on thinking and creativity (based on the creative thinking philosophy of his friend, Murray Gell-Man).  He was one of the most unique, creative people I ever met.  He meant a lot to me and other AV employees.  I will miss Paul very much.  My condolences to his family as well as my gratitude for sharing him with the world for all of these years.

By Doug Allard, on Aug 29, 2007

Remembering Paul

As Director of Photography, Associate Producer and an editor, I had the great pleasure of filming Paul during the making of Ben Shedd’s Flight of the Gossamer Condor film.  As the plane and the shooting progressed, it was always inspiring to see how Paul pushed the limits and explored options. 

My deepest condolences to Paul’s family and co-workers.

By Boyd Estus, Heliotrope Studios Ltd., on Aug 29, 2007

Preservation of Torrey Pines Gliderport and the pl

I had the great fortune to work with Paul MacCready in 1992, prior to the June 6, 1992 dedication of the Torrey Pines Gliderport as the Fifth National Historical Landmark of soaring in the United States.  Mr. MacCready flew there in the 1950’s winning several contests (editorial help on this please).  Mr. MacCready was very helpful in making this historical designation a success. 

I again met Mr. MacCready at the SSA Annual Convention in Ontario California were I was speaking on history of Torrey Pines Gliderport.  I was flattered to be remembered.  One othe things that he told me has always stayed in my mind, and it is message to all mankind.  He stated that history will show that people living between the 1930s and 2030s will recognized as being the most fortunate in the history of the planet. Mr. MacCready recognized that mankind is irrerevesibly degrading the earth.

It is sad to lose him, we can all remember him best by working actively to address our pressing environmental problems.

By Edward Slater, Associated Glider Clubs of Southern California, on Aug 29, 2007

Thank you Dr. MacCready

Working for such an innovative company inspired me to finish my college education has also inspired my child.  Eight years ago, my daughter had the opportunity to meet Dr. MacCready at a company picnic and discuss art, importance of education, and self-worth.  I’m proud to say that she is now a junior in college studying what she wants, art.  Thank you Dr. MacCready and my condolences to his family.

By Lisa Mc, AV, on Aug 29, 2007

A Privilege

I met you and your sons on top of a hang gliding ridge near Alamogordo, NM circa 1976.  I told you that I worked for George Applebay and had heard him speak many times of you. I showed you my brand new 3 1-4 diameter Ball Vario which I intended to use on my hang glider.  You took the time to make a simple but effective static source for the instrument using a small piece of surgical tubing.  You cut a few holes along the tubing, plugged up the end with a piece of string and attached it to the static port on the instrument.  I used that instrument for many years and eventually sold it.  But I still have the piece of surgical tubing…

By Steve Hill, Twisted Composites, LLC, on Aug 29, 2007

Thanks Paul and AV

Thank you Paul for founding AV and providing me with my first real job in aerospace. Through the years, I’ve kept returning my thoughts back to your great company with fondness and much respect.  My sincerest condolences to the MacCready family.

By Vince Perun, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on Aug 29, 2007

Sorrow at his passing

Years ago when I was a stockbroker with Shearson, as it was called then, I had a customer who worked for AeroVironment.  He was a nice man, whose name I no longer remember.  I was invited to visit your offices in Monrovia and took a keen interest in Mr.MacCready.  He was a tower of inventive creativity and one of my personal heroes.  I am so very sorry that he is no longer with you,  I am sure his spirit will be there always.  Only rarely does a person with such a visionary look at the world come along. I wish he could have stayed a lot longer.  With sympathy…Marilyn Daugherty

By marilyn s. daugherty, on Aug 29, 2007

An Insightful Mentor

As I look back, a few people and events have been key to setting the direction for my life and influencing its course. Meeting Paul MacCready in 1969, having him as my mentor at Meteorology Research, Inc., helping him develop AeroVironment , and working with him for some 20 years at AV qualifies as one of those major markers of my life.

Paul was an unusual, shy man who held a child-like curiosity that I admired. Although he achieved fame for his unusual aircraft, what was really notable to me about Paul was his ability to think about a technical problem in very simple terms. In my eyes, his ability to reduce a complex problem into a simple one that could be solved was key to his success with his aircraft and other projects.

Paul was genuinely concerned about the future of mankind, especially with regard to energy use and environmental pollution. This concern was in the background of many of his creative developments, even though it was not always an explicit or obvious objective.

I believe Paul meaningfully enriched the world with his creations and his creative thought. I know he enriched my life. Farewell, Paul!

By Ivar Tombach, on Aug 29, 2007

HP Aircraft, LLC

I think that perhaps no other single engineer or scientist in the 20th
century expanded the envelope of the possible and practical as much as
Dr. MacCready did. He was our Leonardo, our Michaelangelo. His
accomplishments spanned incredible scope and range. From refining the
art and technique of competition soaring, to getting human- and solar-
powered flight off the ground, to developing practical, usable,
manufacturable electric cars, I can think of nobody else who did so
much to advance technology in ways that united benefit to the
environment and benefit to ordinary people.

Everybody is familiar with Sir Issac Newton’s saying, If I have seen
a little farther than others, it’s because I stood on the shoulders of
giants. Dr. MacCready was one of those giants, and his legacy stands
as a tribute not only to his intelligence and dedication, but also to
his thoughtfulness and humility.

By Bob Kuykendall, on Aug 29, 2007

It was a Privilege to work for him

I started working at AV in 1973, the beginning of a 25-year career of exposure to Paul’s creativity. He put true meaning to the words Doing More with Less and Imagine the Impossible And do it. He was an inspiration to all.  My condolences and best wishes to his family.

By Jerry Thelen, on Aug 29, 2007

With Deepest Sympathy

I am saddened of the news of Dr. MacCready’s passing.  My 18 years at AeroVironment working with such a great human being, mentor, and kind man, I reflect on his daily appreciation of the work our Publications Department and his commitment to the future of flight.  He taught us much, loved many, and was appreciated and loved by the masses.  He will always be remembered.  My deepest condolences to his wife Judy, his three sons, and his two grandchildren.

By Barbara Stevens, Insight Environmental, Engineering & Construction,, on Aug 29, 2007

Our Condolences to the MacCready Clan on the Pass

Thank you, Paul MacCready , for your leadership during the Zero Emission vehicle era of the 80’s. The EV1 was the standard for all to emmulate during this country’s 1980’s crusade to reduce vehicle emissions, dependency on foreign fuel, increase energy efficiency and build ZEVs , right here in California. You hung out the carrot which a whole passel of us pursued…Thank you for your leadership during that hopeful decade…

By Ken Allison,, on Aug 29, 2007

A Great Man

I had the opportunity to meet Mr. MacCready this past June at a Washington and Jefferson commencement.  He was honored as the innovator and was recognized by the faculity for his achievements.  I was honored to pull him aside and discuss many future projects and ideas with him.  Simply facinating!  Our universe has lost a truly honorable man.

By Fred Polanec, US Government, on Aug 29, 2007

In Memory of my Mentor and Friend, Paul MacCready

A few short words can never express my gratitude to, or fond feelings for, my one time mentor and long time friend, Paul B. MacCready.
Our first meeting was when he came to Penn State Universitys Meteorology Dept in 1963, on a recruiting trip for his company, Meteorology Research, Inc.
I felt an instant rapport for this unassuming stranger.  I always hoped the feeling was mutual.  I soon came to work for MRI.  It was my first professional meteorology job.  Under the tutorship of Paul and Ted Smith, I matured enormously during those years at MRI. I will always be grateful for the confidence he and Ted showed in me.  I could never have grown so much, professionally and personally, without the support I received from them. While many called Paul The Father of MRI, I likened him more as the big brother.  Always up to new ideas that Ted, some extent I, carried out. 
Like flying an armored aircraft into the core of a hailstorm to get the first observations ever inside these storms.  I remember testing the armor in the basement of MRI.  Paul was to be the pilot and me the observer. This dubious distinction eventually went to others.  I jokingly attribute my going back to PSU for my PhD to Pauls armored aircraft idea.  Thinking a desk at PSU was safer then the seat of a plane flying through the core of a hailstorm. 
Besides his direct supervision, Paul was also a fun friend.  I can remember with much fondness the wonderful times we, and our families, had together during field trips in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Paul, and Judy, were always part of the gang.  Never the boss.  I do not think that word was ever part of Paul’s vocabulary.
It was a momentous day is my life when Paul announced his leaving MRI.  I left not too long after. 
I never, ever, had as creative a colleague (Yes (Paul always made me feel as colleague) as Paul MacCready. Always tackling the hardest problems with enthusiasm and creativity.
Over the years we maintained contact.  His visits to Washington often included dinner with my wife and me.  My visits to California included a stop with Paul and Judy.  We exchanged New Years greetings annually.  I even had the good fortune to have some professional dealings with Parker. 
I have met many successful people in my life.  But, there will always be a special place in my mind…and heart… For Paul MacCready.

By Alan Weinstein, Retired One time employedd of Meteorology Researc, on Aug 29, 2007


Dr. MacCready was our guest for our interactive satellite TV classroom, and presented just after the Sunraycer but before he could say anything about the Impact.  The slightest trace of a smile when telling us he couldn’t tell us anything, knowing what had come before, was wonderful torture.  He commanded rock-star status with our science, math and technology students (and a bit with us professionals, too).  Endlessly insightful, and uncomplicated in the best way.  The Condor documentary still has the power to stop students in their tracks whenever we show it.  He never lost a sense of simple wonder, and it spread - in the midst of the Gossamer construction, Parker playing with a handheld mountain and a model hang glider, and on our set, donning pterosaur hats with our esteemed host.

By John Pellino, Talcott Mountain Science Center, on Aug 29, 2007


We are two italian glider pilots and we would like to thank you, Paul, for everything you have done for glider flight, and for the enhancements and new ideas that you introduced into the aeronautics. Our condolences to your family. Although we never met in this life, we keep you in our hearts. See you in the Sky!

By Federico & Laura, on Aug 29, 2007

An Appreciation

Since I first heard the news - in 1977 - of the Gossamer Condor, Mr. MacCready has been an inspiration to me.  He did what he loved and he did it without peer.  Without pretense or can’t, he showed us the importance (and opportunity) in his areas of research. My condolences to those who had the chance to interact with the man; he must have been an extraordinary individual to know.


By J. Brennan, on Aug 29, 2007

Lasting Memories

It was with much sadness that we heard of the passing of Paul. Our families spent many wonderful summers in Flagstaff when we were employed by MRI, and I say we were employed because it was like a family affair. We all lived very close together and had many great conversations with Paul. Our prayers and memories of times past are extended to Judy and the boys. May the soul of Paul rest in peace.

By Fred & Rosie Clark, Clark's General Services, on Aug 29, 2007

Thank you, Paul

I worked at AV in the 80s, working for Paul in wind energy, on the marketing team for the EV-1, and as part of the crew that flew the QN in Washington, DC. Like many of us at AV at the time, we learned from Paul the joys of perpetual curiousity, and the rewards of questioning boundaries. Paul was recognized in those days as a visionary for the nascent wind power industry, and helped to convince California’s reluctant utilities of the great potential for wind power in the state. I’ll always be in his debt for helping to get the world started on a major renewable energy revolution.

By Pat Quinlan, Second Wind Inc., on Aug 29, 2007

In the beginning. . .

It was my pleasure to first know Paul McCready in 1971 as he was founding AeroVironment, typing up his documents on my IBM Executive typewriter. The documents shouted creative genius in a fascinating field, while the quiet, wryly humorous man sat on the hearth of my shop in Old Pasadena,  passing along scribbled sheets.  Fifteen years later, at the now-seasoned company, it was exciting to become part of the bubbling pot of ideas and projects, with Paul at the heart of it all.
Favorite memory: Dr. M, standing teetering on his office chair, looking out the window, trying to catch the green flash of the setting sun. Hope you finally saw it, Paul.

By Rosalie Barili, on Aug 29, 2007


Paul was an esteemed member of the Los Angeles Adventurer’s Club.  I know we were thrilled when Paul attended meetings or better yet presented the latest and greatest flying insect bots, or mini planes with cameras, deftly flying around the grand hall and sometimes shaving the whiskers off the polar bears.  Paul was to myself and those at the Adventurer’s Club, an inspiration as to what it was to fly outside the box and yet give so much back to the world.  Paul, as you now traverse on your Great Adventure your inspiration and humanity soars with you and inspires us all.

By David Grober, Motion Picture Marine, on Aug 29, 2007

Thank you, Paul!

As luck would have it, I worked for AV off and on during the early years while I attended UC Irvine.  The admiration everyone had for Paul was clear to me from day one.  He commanded respect and was quietly magnetic.  Once, I went boating with him near my parent’s house on Johnston’s Lake in Pasadena.  I recall his fascination that day with the interaction of wind and water and with the ducks flying overhead - some things he probably saw millions of times, but that never failed to fill him with enthusiasm.  While I certainly admired him for all he was and accomplished, I mostly admired him for the sense of self worth he gave me.  That was a time in my life I needed to feel self worth the most.  You wanted to work for Paul and the people around him because you knew you were doing something meaningful, and he made you feel important.  I will never forget the brief time I spent with Paul.  I was more than blessed.

By Mark Passarini, Trihydro Corporation, on Aug 29, 2007


I heard Paul speak several times; all were memorable. The last was at the Pasadena Museum of History recently where he was still looking ahead at our energy future. Most of all I remember when he sat next to my wife one evening at a Caltech event and entranced her with his tales of the solar powered plane under test.

By Sid Gally, Retired, on Aug 29, 2007

Condolences and Fond Memories

I knew Paul and Judy in the late 1960’s when my (now ex) husband, Alan Weinstein worked with Paul at MRI. Knowing Paul in a social way, not professional, and yet observing his professionalism was a learning experience for this young married.  He and Judy always made me welcome, as a friend, not the spouse of an employee.  An easy man to be around, easy to talk with, a pleasure to listen to and learn from. Paul’s fertile mind was never idle.  I saw him as a consummate idea man. A man who dreamed seemingly impossible things, and then set about to make them real.  My world expanded because of him and MRI and Judy, and their children.  Though I hadn’t seen him in many years, I never forgot the opportunity he gave Alan, and by extension me, to dream big and envision worlds beyond ourselves.\n\nGoodbye, Paul and God Bless.  To Judy and the boys, oops, men, may you be at ease in your sorrow and know that so many of us, world-wide, mourn with you.

By Sylvia S. Gordon (formerly Weinstein), on Aug 29, 2007

Many thanks

Paul touched my life in a couple interesting ways. Early in my soaring career, I was a member of the Mohawk Soaring Club in Schectady, NY. The pride of the fleet was a 1-23, which Paul flew to a National Championship in 1953. It carried me to a successful Silver Distance on my very first cross-country flight, now long ago. \n\nAt the SSA Annual Convention in 2005, I was fortunate to enjoy dinner with Dr. MacCready at the Awards Banquet. Our first and only meeting, it was quite a thrill to relate the experience I had in his former ship, and enjoy a most fascinating conversation. His love of flight in all its forms and his love of life illuminated our talk, and I shall never forget it.\n\nRest in Peace, Paul MacCready. We are lucky to have shared your time on earth.\n\n

By Dave Fanning, on Aug 29, 2007

With respect and sympathy

Paul was a good man. He was also a man that knew the joy of being a good husband, father and grandfather. \n\nTo all of you…my respects and sympathy. \n\nMike Rega

By Mike Rega, on Aug 29, 2007

A Truly Great Person

  I remember Paul’s quiet genius who understood many things easily. Always polite and kindly considerate when asked to evaluate anyones new ideas, much like Dr. August Raspet did many years ago. Soar well into the next world, Paul. We loved having you here. We will greatly miss your presence.

By Richard H. Johnson, on Aug 29, 2007

A loss for the entire world

AeroVironment was my first job after college starting in 1976 and lasting for 17 years of my life.  I feel very fortunate to have worked with a great man like Paul and all the others at AV who became like a second family to me.  It was always a delight to be associated with Paul’s exploits, as well as cutting edge environmental work.  AV had instant name recognition due to Paul and he sparked the imagination of all around him.  I’ll always treasure the time I spent at AV.  My condolences to Paul’s family and to the entire world for the loss of this great thinker and visionary man.

By Sara Head, ENSR, on Aug 29, 2007

What a guy!

The world could use more like him!  Thanks for the insight and opportunities, Paul.  You gave me hope in humanity its capabilities and possible accomplishments.\n\nRest in peace and condolences to the family.

By M Scharfenberg, on Aug 29, 2007

Thank you Dr. MacCready

I have known Dr. MacCready since first meeting him in 1976 at a Meteorology conference. In 1988, I was priviledged to have been hired by him and to work with alongside him for 17 years.  In each of our lives, there are a few individuals who stand out among the others. For me, Dr. MacCready, as a mentor of mine, was one of them.  His message was to Imagine the impossible and do it.  I saw him do the impossible with (among other things) the solar car, the solar powered stratospheric plane and GM.  A technological genius with purpose and vision.  I am honored to have known you, Dr. MacCready.  Your legacy continues in those many individuals that you touched and mentored.  Thank you.

By Kenneth H. Underwood, Atmospheric Systems Corporation, on Aug 29, 2007

Chairman, Critical Care Medicine

I never had the chance to meet Paul but have long been convinced of his greatness as a critical thinker.  He is inspirational to many of us at Mayo Clinic.  We will seek to achieve more with less as he would dictate.

By Mark Wylam, M.D., Mayo Clinic, on Aug 28, 2007

Thank You

It has been both an honor and a pleasure to work for such an innovative company.
I have enjoyed working with Dr. MacCready immensley, and I wish all the best to his Family.

By Heather, AV, on Aug 28, 2007

Thank you for your imagination…

To the family and friends of Dr. MacCready - my heart goes out to you all.  While the world can never replace such an imaginative man - the world is indeed a better place for him having been part of it for the time we did have with him.
I did not know Dr. MacCready other than through his work in aviation.  I would have been honored to have known him.

Soar High Paul!

By Greg, Just an Aviation Buff, on Aug 28, 2007

Loss of my best friend

Everyone who is reading this knows what a great and tremendous man Paul was, and how he devoted his entire life to making the world qualitatively a better place, and how incredibly unselfish and giving he was to all that knew him. Just over a month ago, when we were having a private farewell lunch he expressed how, after years of struggling to take his company AeroVironment public, he had finally sorted out his finances, was now ready to make a difference, and now this. It was the first time I had heard him really frustrated (other than at the current Administration and state of the world). There was still too much to do, and he felt it was all unfinished.  What can we do to get people to understand the population
problem? were his last words to me.

How quickly things can change? Just last Easter, Paul and Judy joined us for two weeks at our passionate minds salon in France. What a wonderful time we all had together, exploring France and having wonderful and lively discussions with so many delightful people. There were no clouds on the horizon. Everything was before him, and he was taking delight in all that was about, especially the medieval French villages and the prehistoric cave drawings.  He was relaxed and happy. Judy and Paul had a wonderful time together. Only after his arrival home did he discover his illness.  Luckily, he went in a peaceful way. The last few weeks he rested at home with Judy and his family. I know that he was very grateful for the good wishes that everyone sent in the past few weeks.

Today, I have lost my best and dearest friend for
twenty-six years. Yet, far more importantly the world
lost today one of its very best.

Paul’s mantra was Doing More with Less, and in a very real way, the world needs more people like Paul, not less.

By Al Seckel, on Aug 28, 2007

Memories and sincere condolences

I so much enjoyed walking past Dr. MacCready’s office as I went to
my work space.  Looking in the door, I would often see him sitting on his
couch reading or writing on a notepad, eating lunch and at times lounging on the couch.  I wish I would have had a camera on me at some of those times
because the image was priceless.  On 1 occasion he was laying on the floor outside his office in front of some file cabinets, looking pretty relaxed and reading a file.
Seeing the pictures on the wall and watching his video, he impressed on me the
great magnitude of his mind and his ability to see beyond the normal limits and yet
he came across as a very humble person.  I will miss seeing him and now wish
I had that camera earlier.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

By Anna, AV Inc, on Aug 28, 2007


I am one of the lucky ones.  I met Dr. MacCready when I started working for AeroVironment in 1988.  I didn’t know much about AeroVironment, flying or Dr. MacCready and all of his great accomplishments.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I had stumbled into something amazing.  I have always felt privileged to work for such an innovative and inspiring company; we are all here today because of Paul’s passion and vision.  With my deepest sympathy to his family, he will be missed.

By Mandy, AV, on Aug 28, 2007

Role Model

Paul was a role model to so many in the aviation community.  I admire his many accomplishments and his humble manner.  A great loss.

By Mike FInegan, on Aug 28, 2007

Dr MacCready’s legacy

We in the electric vehicle community owe a huge debt of gratitude to the man who started it all.  We drive electric cars today in large part due to his genius, his creativity and his determination.  Our job, now, is to honor Paul’smemory by making sure we make it possible for everyone to have the choice that we lucky few have had due to his efforts.

By Linda Nicholes, Plug in America, on Aug 28, 2007

From Popular Science magazine

Here’s the end of the announcement we placed at today:

But MacCready will be remembered most for what he representedthe noble, ever-optimistic pursuit of advanced technology in the name of conservation and efficiency. In 2003, MacCready participated in Popular Science’s Centennial of Aviation roundtable discussion about the future of aviation, which involved many aerospace luminaries, including Burt Rutan, Peter Diamandis, and George Muellner. He made one of the greatest impressions of the groupon this observer anywaywith a single comment: Do more with less. By that he meant, when designing a vehicleairplane, automobile, bicycle, whateverdon’t spend time trying to get more power into it. Rather, focus on getting it to consume the least amount of power possible. Words to live by, and a supremely elegant approach to all of the challenges he faced. It may not be the official mantra at AeroVironment, but it’s evident in everything they do there.

By Eric Adams, Popular Science, on Aug 28, 2007

Thanks Paul for all your knowledge

My heart is to the family of Paul MacCready. I have been able to fly many miles in my glider by using the Macready speed to fly measurement and thank him. The day will come when we will all fly up to see him in Heaven!

By Todd, Glider pilot, on Aug 28, 2007

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