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Paul MacCready Oral History Interview with Sara Lippincott [sound recording], 2003-02-14 - 2003-03-14


Scope and Contents

An interview in three sessions with Paul B. MacCready, Caltech graduate (MS physics, 1948; PhD aeronautics, 1952) and inventor and entrepreneur who became internationally known in 1977 as the "father of human-powered flight." Conducted by Sara Lippincott, the oral history covers MacCready's scientific and entrepreneurial career, including biographical details. MacCready discusses his family life, early education and aeronautical interests in New Haven, CT. During his youth he progressed from the construction of model airplanes to the flying of motor-propelled aircraft and gliders. MacCready recounts his soaring competitions along with his education at Yale in the 1940s; he continues by describing his graduate work at Caltech from 1947 to 1952 and his high altitude soaring in the Sierras and Europe; he relates this to his interest in weather modification and his entrepreneurial work in cloud seeding. In 1971 MacCready founded AeroVironment with his associates Peter Lissaman and Ivar Tombach; he discusses his early clients and research. Beginning in the mid-1970s MacCready began work on the celebrated Gossamer aircraft series; the interview includes discussion concerning the advent of the Gossamer Condor in 1976-1977 and the flight of the Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel in 1979. The interview also includes his continued interest in human-powered flight and environmental issues, as well as unmanned solar-powered flight.


  • 2003-02-14 - 2003-03-14


Conditions Governing Access

Released: unrestricted


1 unspecified containers : MEDIUM: Sound recording; FORMAT: Sound cassette: analog; QUANTITY: 1 set (4 cassettes per set)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository

1200 East California Blvd.
MC B215-74
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