AeroVironment Marks 50 Years of Achieving the Impossible

July 27, 2020

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., July 27, 2020 – In the 1970s, AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) founder Dr. Paul B. MacCready, Jr. became the first to design and build an aircraft that successfully achieved controlled human-powered flight, giving birth to the company’s reputation of achieving the impossible in aerospace engineering. Now, as the company begins its 50th year in business, it’s preparing to break yet another barrier by enabling a first-of-its-kind mission on Mars.

AeroVironment began operations in 1971 as a small engineering firm focused on applying aerodynamic principles to solve important challenges facing the world. Since its founding, AeroVironment and its innovators have done just that.

Following groundbreaking human-powered aircraft including the Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross, AeroVironment proceeded to reshape the battlefield as the leader in tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including Raven®, Puma™, Wasp® and Quantix™ Recon, and tactical missile systems with Switchblade® and Blackwing™.

AeroVironment also pioneered the concept of high-altitude solar-powered UAS, setting world unmanned flight and telecommunications records at the turn of the millennium with Helios and Pathfinder Plus. Today, AeroVironment’s HAPSMobile Inc. joint-venture with SoftBank Corp. has led to the next evolution in stratospheric unmanned flight with the development of the Sunglider solar-powered high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS), currently undergoing testing at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

But AeroVironment isn’t stopping at the outermost regions of Earth’s atmosphere. The company will further humanity’s exploration of our solar system and its search for evidence of life beyond Earth when NASA’s Perseverance Rover departs on its seven-month journey to Mars this summer. Secured to the underbelly of Perseverance is the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which will be the first aircraft to attempt controlled flight on another planet.

Ingenuity is the brainchild of Dr. Bob Balaram of NASA/JPL. AeroVironment began working on the concept of a Mars helicopter with Dr. Balaram in the 1990s and collaborated with NASA/JPL in the development and testing of Ingenuity. The atmosphere of Mars is very similar to that of the Earth’s stratosphere at 100,000 feet above sea level. Applying their knowledge from past stratospheric unmanned solar flight programs with Helios and Pathfinder Plus, AeroVironment’s engineers designed and developed Ingenuity’s airframe and major subsystems, including its rotor, rotor blades, hub and control mechanism hardware, propulsion motors, landing gears, power electronics and the thermal enclosure for JPL’s avionics, sensors and software systems.

“Throughout our history customers have presented us with challenges that seemed impossible, but instead of viewing these as barriers, we choose to see them as opportunities at AeroVironment,” said Wahid Nawabi, president and chief executive officer of AeroVironment. “Whether it’s aerial robotics, flying robotic hummingbirds, interplanetary drones, or ‘what’s coming next’ behind the closed doors of our MacCready Works lab, AeroVironment will continue to overcome ‘impossible’ challenges to support the success of our customers.”

For more information on AeroVironment’s 50th anniversary campaign and to view a timeline of AeroVironment’s innovations, visit

About AeroVironment, Inc. (AV)

AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) provides technology solutions at the intersection of robotics, sensors, software analytics and connectivity that deliver more actionable intelligence so you can proceed with certainty. Celebrating 50 years of innovation, AeroVironment is a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems and tactical missile systems, and serves defense, government and commercial customers. For more information, visit

Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors outside of our control, that may cause our business, strategy or actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our ability to perform under existing contracts and obtain additional contracts; changes in the regulatory environment; the activities of competitors; failure of the markets in which we operate to grow; failure to expand into new markets; failure to develop new products or integrate new technology with current products; and general economic and business conditions in the United States and elsewhere in the world. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

E-mail Facebook Twitter Share

Additional AV News: click here
AV Media Gallery: click here

AeroVironment, Inc.
Makayla Thomas
+1 (805) 520-8350
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Mark Boyer
For AeroVironment, Inc.
+1 (213) 247-4109
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)