Paul MacCready‘s first try for the Kremer Prize for human-powered flight, in 1976, was his Gossamer Condor, a Mylar-covered aircraft powered by a very, very tenacious bicyclist.
Filmmaker Ben Shedd followed MacCready’s team as they designed and built this elegant plane. Shedd’s resulting documentary, The Flight of the Gossamer Condor, won an Academy Award in 1978. Now, on the 30th anniversary of the prize-winning flight, the film has been remastered and released on DVD. In 1979, the LA Times called this film “uplifting, cheering and amusing.” On its re-release this year, Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal writes: “its essential brilliance lies in the inventiveness of MacCready and his team, in their eagerness to learn from successive failures, and in the broad-winged Condor itself, a thing of fragile beauty but a timeless monument to the man who made the dream a reality.”
Another impetus for re-releasing the film: It’s set to become part of Project Lead the Way‘s curriculum for high school engineering students — so MacCready’s creativity and passion can inspire another generation of young engineers, builders, makers and flyers.