Share Your Thoughts

We have been fortunate to have so many incredibly talented people be a part of our history and help contribute to AeroVironment’s success over the past 50 years. We invite you – employees, retirees, family members, customers, UAS enthusiasts, vendors, and everyone in between to share your memory with us. This memory section will serve as a lasting reminder of our shared history with people around the world.

Share Your Own Memories
By Leo Modelski

I was only there a year but the best company I’ve worked for. The flight Ops division is full of some pretty amazing people. The true superstars that keep AV going!!

Aug 25, 2020

By Mark Allison

Conversation with Dr. Paul MacCready about wing loading.

I met Dr. Paul MacCready in 1975 through Rich Grigsby. At the time Rich was the editor and I was the art director/illustrator for Hang Gliding Magazine, I also worked for Rich as a hang gliding instructor in the So. Cal Hang Gliding School. I remember a conversation when Rich asked Paul if he would consider writing an article on wing loading related to hang gliding. Paul wrote it and I illustrated the article w an illustration of a turkey vulture opposite a hang glider. The article compared the wing loading range of turkey vultures (4 to 11 oz/sq.ft., the lightest wing loading of all birds) to hang gliders (14 to 16 oz/sq.ft., the lightest wing loading of all personal aircraft). He related the thermaling flight circles of heavier Egyptian vulture with the turkey vulture and figured out a formula based on wing loading that comes up with the tightest circle that a bird or aircraft can fly without stalling their inboard wing. Turkey vultures are the winner! They can cut about a 10 foot circle w/out stalling. I had a delightful example of this effect when I was hang gliding in the Summer of 1975. I caught a thermal right on take off at the 800 ft spot on May Mountain, Sylmar. My variometer was pegged at 2000 feet per minute - the sensation would be like stepping onto an elevator going up at 30 miles per hour, the whole glider creaks and groans with the sudden load, makes your heart pound! The altitude gain is so fast you have to keep swallowing to neutralize the pressure in your ears. My gliding circle was about 25 ft., that's very tight! At one point I realized that I had "cored" the strongest lift and my inboard wing was actually stalled but being held up by the strong central updraft. I climbed right past a sailplane pilot in a very pricey Grob. I could see him frantically working his controls but he still had to do coordinated turns that left him w about a 100 ft. diameter circle which couldn't stay in the strongest lift. The lighter wing loading wins again!

Paul told me after he had won the Kremer prize that he had his Eureka-moment while gazing at my illustration for his article after he re-read it in the latest issue of Hang Gliding. He said it was then that he suddenly realized he was staring at the design solution for the Kremer prize attempt. It had to be modeled off the lightest existing aircraft - hang gliders. They're fast to build, way easier and faster to repair than any other aircraft -- the perfect solution for the designer, allowing him to keep revising the design: "cut-an-try on the fly" so to speak (sorry!). They're the only practical way to beat the turkey vultures at the wingloading game. Here it is, Gossamer Condor wingloading, w pilot: 1.341 oz/sq.ft.!! 96 ft. wingspan, 70 lbs.!, w a 145 lb. pilot = 215 lbs. total, in the air! That's 1/4 of the turkey vulture's wingloading!

The propeller was designed by the genius (most would agree), Gene Larrabee who designed the most efficient low speed propeller for the Gossamer Condor. I used Larrabee's low speed prop designs in my aeromodelling hobby and took first place 5 years in a row (1987 to 1991) in the "Intergnats" the annual world postal contest in the very smallest rubber-powered scale model category - "Pistachio Scale" (wingspan 8 inches, or fuselage length 6 inches). For the curious, there's also Peanut Scale (13" max wingspan), Walnut Scale (16" max span) and Coconut Scale (36" minimum span). His propeller designs took the modeling world by storm w wave after wave of new records in all categories.

So hats off to Eugene Larrabee! And Bryan Allen!! And Dr. Paul MacCready!! World record breakers who've greatly accelerated the science and design of air and spacecraft.

Aug 29, 2020

By Daniel Carreno

One of the coolest companies I ever worked at. Watching Dr. M take notes was inspiring.

Aug 31, 2020

By Barnet Schmidt

Dr. MacCready was our commencement speaker, Stevens Institute of Technology, Class of 1980. When the university provost introduced him, he said “The first human powered flight across the English Channel, winning the Kremer Prize, unclaimed since 1959, was the romantic dream of the ages. It took a visionary and a genius as Dr. MacCready to realize this dream”. When MacCready began his address he said “Just so all of you know, I was not the one who flew the Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel. That belongs to Bryan Allen, who is an accomplished bicycle racer!” At the time, that flight was a true marvel and a wonder!

Aug 31, 2020

By H. Fazlay Rabbi / CEO. AVA Corp Ltd

On the significant occasion of the 50th. Anniversary of the foundation of the organization of AeroVironment, Inc., it gives me great pleasure to extend my warm congratulations and best wishes to the worthy Representative of this organization and to all who have the goals of the organization at heart and collaborate in their achievement.
Thanking you,
With my best wishes,
H.Fazlay Rabbi / CEO.
AVA Corporation Limited
( Exclusive Rep of AeroVironment Inc., in Bangladesh)

Sep 15, 2020

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