For centuries humans have dreamed of flying on their own power. After the achievement of heavier-than-air flight at the beginning of the 20th century, most inventors and dreamers abandoned the idea of human-powered flight. Many dismissed it as impossible. One who did not was Paul MacCready. After half a lifetime of experimentation with gliders, MacCready answered a challenge issued by the Kremer Prize committee to produce a human-powered flying machine.
The human-powered Gossamer Condor is only the most famous of Paul MacCready's innovative air and land vehicles. His Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger were the first successful solar-powered aircraft. MacCready also drew on the energy of the sun to power a high-performance automobile, the Sunraycer.
MacCready joined a lifelong interest in aviation with a mature passion for developing environmentally sound transportation technology. In addition to his experiments with solar power, MacCready's firm AeroVironment developed efficient battery-powered vehicles, such as the Impact sports car for General Motors.