Flying Free | 2000
Alan Alda speaks with Paul MacCready, who set the world of aeronautical engineering on its head in the mid-1970s when he designed and built the first successful human-powered airplane. Now 75-years-old, MacCready continues to build flying machines. Alda and MacCready fly a variety of planes, ranging from a flying wing almost as long as a football field, to a tiny and almost undetectable spyplane. Much like nature, MacCready's philosophy is to fly with the minimum input of energy, but with the maximum performance. The program also examines how nature itself first solved the problem of flight, when insects evolved wings more than 300 million years ago.