Dr Paul MacCready, who made aviation history by engineering the first human-powered aircraft, Gossamer Condor, and then developing that technology to create the Pathfinder electric and solar-electric aircraft, died on 28 August following a serious ailment.
In August, as he marked the 30th anniversary of the first Gossamer Condor flight, he announced his retirement from AeroVironment, the company he founded in 1971 (Flight International, 28 August-3 September). Dedicated to engineering that combined nature and technology, MacCready's achievements in human and solar power made him a hero to designers, who recognised that nature was an inspiration rather than an adversary.
MacCready has been honoured with American Society for Mechanical Engineers Engineer of the Century award, a NASA Public Service Grand Achievement award and was named one of the 100 greatest minds of the 20th century by Time Magazine. He was born in 1925. He leaves his wife Judy, three sons and two grandchildren.