At age 14, he was setting model-airplane records. At 32, he was an international soaring champion. Now, almost 50 years later, his company, AeroVironment, designs the most innovative unmanned aerial vehicles. To Paul MacCready, it's all the same thing.
It's a Tuesday afternoon at a small, radio control modeler's airport near Los Angeles, and the guy bent over his model Messerschmitt Me-109 looks serious. After a lot of fiddling, he squeezes gasoline into the little piston engine and connects his toolbox-cum-battery pack to the airplane. She's a beauty: deep forest green, meticulous iron crosses on fuselage and wings. "Flies for 16 minutes before