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The Flight of the


Academy Award® winning Film - Best Documentary Short Subject 1978

Jacqueline Phillips Shedd and Ben Shedd, Producers

A Shedd Productions, Inc. film
New DVD web page at www.gossamercondor.com

Brand new 30th Anniversary DVD Edition

30th Anniversary Edition DVD

Buy the new DVD In Stock  Order Now

Link For Classroom Version.

Public Performance License Rights

    Project Lead The Way DVD

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary Year
of the Gossamer Condor's
Kremer Prize winning flight
and the film's production.


New high-definition digital transfer 
from the 2007 film preservation print
by the Academy Film Archive!

About The Film:

THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR film tells the inspiring true story of history's first successful human-powered flight. Renowned inventor Dr. Paul MacCready and his team were filmed creating the world-famous pedaled-powered airplane as it happened. 

This Documentary film from filmmaker Ben Shedd and Producer Jacqueline Phillips Shedd received the 1978 Academy Award® Oscar® for Best Documentary Short Subject and 14 other International film awards. 

The historic flight of the Gossamer Condor was featured as one of the Millennium Moments in the National Geographic® magazine February 1998.   This family film about the first successful human powered airplane shows an historic landmark event in the world of flight. 

(From the Back Cover)  From the earliest of times, we have longed to fly like a bird, to soar through the air by our own power. The Gossamer Condor is the fragile aircraft that fulfilled this age-old dream. This true-life film account of a landmark in history documents the work, adventure, and creative thinking which turned an impossible dream - human-powered flight - into a scientific reality. 

The Shedd Productions film was made over one year as inventor/scientist Dr. Paul B. MacCready, his family, and crew struggled to win the coveted 50,000 British pounds sterling/$100,000 Kremer Prize, offered for the first successful human-powered flight. 

The Gossamer Condor aircraft is on display in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum where it hangs in an honored place beside the Wright Brothers' first airplane and the Apollo 11 moon capsule. 

THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR film captures an important historical event and scientific achievement on film and attests to the strength of the human spirit. It takes us inside the invention process and reveals how the magic combination of creativity, dedication, persistence combined with aluminum tubing, styrofoam, wire and mylar together made human-powered flight possible. Uplifting entertainment for all ages, this film by Jacqueline Phillips Shedd and Ben Shedd is an inspiring view of the creative process underlying all discovery and invention. 

Excerpts from reviews about the film:

"A film to set you soaring."  Media and Methods magazine 1979 

"The Condor, a frail, wide-ranged beauty of mylar and string and aluminum pipe, with its bicycle-pedaled propeller, looks unlikely to move, let alone lift off, but it does at last - to thunderous applause from the theater viewers. ·(The) film itself shows remarkable tenacity, requiring hours of stand-by at remote fields in the chilly dawn. The results have been smartly edited into a well-paced 27 minute narrative, with a useful and unforced voice-over. After one crash, the Condor is carried off tenderly by many hands, exactly like a great wounded bird. ·It is, to coin a phrase, wonder uplifting, cheering and amusing."  Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times Movie review, March 20, 1979 

"From a flight of fancy to a magnificent obsession, the creation, evolution, and successful flight of a human-powered aircraft are detailed in this absorbing production that closely follows the wavering course of the GOSSAMER CONDOR and the resolute perseverance of its inventor, Paul MacCready. Creating a wonderful sense of immediacy and fascinated involvement, controlled and elucidating footage is effectively structured to record both the aeronautical developments and modifications and the human ingenuity and determination portrayed in numerous dawn-to-dusk test flights, yawning late-night design conferences, and catastrophic mishaps and minute triumphs as MacCready attempts to snare the prize in an English sponsored contest. ·the concluding sight of MacCready's prizewinning aircraft proudly displayed in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum evokes a contented smile from the viewer, who has become part of this historic effort. ·will be an enthralling addition to programs on the history of flight."  American Library Association Booklist, May 1979 


     Producing this film which documents the development of a man's dream into a scientific and historic achievement was, in itself, an extraordinary effort. There was an immense risk involved in making a commitment to film a scientist's effort at achieving something which had never done before successfully.

      Filmmaker Ben Shedd met Dr. Paul MacCready soon after MacCready had drawn the original first plans for the Gossamer Condor airplane. Shedd did extensive research into human-powered flight and recognized that if such flight were possible, Dr. MacCready's design for the Gossamer Condor should achieve it - and if his design failed, then human-powered flight was probably impossible.

      With no guarantee of success, this film was begun. Following the events as they occurred for almost an entire year, the production team filmed every stage of the plane's development. MacCready's design went through 12 major prototypes and over 400 test flights before finally culminating on August 23, 1977 when Bryan Allen flew the Gossamer Condor into aviation history by completing the mile-long Kremer Prize figure-8 course in 6 minutes, 22 seconds. The flight won MacCready and his team 50,000 British Pounds, nearly $100,000. All this is captured on film, including the final, historic flight.

     The Gossamer Condor project took nearly nine months longer than its designers originally thought, and producers Jacqueline Phillips Shedd and Ben Shedd maintained their determined commitment to documenting the project. The 27 minute film is cut from over 25 hours of cinema-vérite footage, showing the persistent and creative efforts of the plane's design team. Filmmaker Ben Shedd feels that finding Dr. MacCready when he did was "like finding the Wright Brothers just before they built their first gliders and following them to Kitty Hawk, camera in hand."

     The Gossamer Condor now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, next to the Apollo 11 moon capsule and the Wright Brother's first plane. THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR film had it's premiere showing at the Smithsonian on the first anniversary of the Kremer Prize winning flight and a short excerpt of this Academy Award® winning documentary is included in the Gossamer Condor National Air and Space Museum exhibit.

Paul MacCready

       Paul MacCready is often called the "Father of Human Powered Flight" for his many achievements over the last three decades, including the Gossamer Condor airplane and leading the Aerovironment, Inc. design teams in building the Gossamer Albatross airplane, the Solar Challenger airplane, the Q N Pterodactyl mechanical bird, the GM Sunraycer solar powered car, the GM Impact electric car, and the Pathfinder high altitude solar planes. Among his numerous awards, Dr. Paul MacCready was named Ingenieur of the Century Gold Medal, 1980, by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; and Inventor of the Year Award, 1981, by the Association for the Advancement of Invention and Innovation. Aerovironment, Inc. has a web page about Paul MacCready's life time of landmark accomplishments.  

Newly remastered and digitally restored DVD of the Academy Award winning Documentary Short film THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR                    Order Now. Brand New DVD In Stock.      
UPC 6-89076-37757-7

For Classroom and Educational use,

please purchase Public Performance License Rights for

Project Lead The Way DVD at this online link.



Production Credits:

Churchill Films presents A Shedd Productions film

Directed and written by Ben Shedd

Produced by Jacqueline Phillips Shedd and Ben Shedd

Director of Photography: Boyd Estus

Edited by Ben Shedd and Mary Bauer

Sound Design and Mix: John Brasher

Narrated by Roger Steffens

Associate Producers: Boyd Estus and Oscar Williams

Animation and title design: Jeff McGrath

Additional photography: Fred Elms, Carl Boenish, Michael Murphy, Kyoichi Furusawa, Patrick Allen, Ben Shedd, Terry and Donna Morrison

Sound Recording: Leslie Shatz, Wolf Seberg, Peter Hliddal, George Stupar, Keniche Yoshida, John Barbee, Jacqueline Phillips Shedd

Assistant Sound Editor: Roberta Doheny - FX Recording: Lars Nelson

Special Consultant: Winter D. Horton Jr. Centre Films

Still Photography: Mariana Gosnell, James Joseph, Paul and Judy MacCready

Production Assistants: Nancy Audley, Michael Bloecher, Susan Motteau, Dick Shedd, Mark Brewer, Jan Colmar, Jim Rice

Special Assistant: Nara Shedd

Special Thanks: Harry and Florence Phillips, Robert and Beverly Shedd,

Robert Churchill, George McQuilken, Peter Hoffman, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, Simon Campbell-Jones,

Paul MacCready and the Gossamer Condor crew, Aerovironment, Inc.  BBC, NBC News 

and thanks to all our friends and associates who believed in and supported this film. 

A Shedd Productions, Inc. film Copyright 1978 DVD Copyright 2007

Film Awards for The Flight of the Gossamer Condor Film: 

Academy Award Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject of 1978 * Blue Ribbon Award, American Film Festival, 1979 * Cine Golden Eagle, 1979 * Certificate of Participation, Moscow Film Festival, U.S.S.R. * Diploma of Honor, 1st Place, International Science Film Assoc. Film Festival, Cologne, Germany * Silver Boomerang, Melbourne Film Festival, Australia * Certificate of Commendation, tied for Best Science Film in the World, Australian & New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science Film Festival * Lawrence Science Award, National Educational Film Festival * Certificate of Participation, Bilbao Film Festival, Spain * Los Angeles International Film Exposition Screening * Seattle Film Festival Screening * Gold Cindy, Information Film Producers Association * American Association for the Advancement of Science Film Festival Screening * Gold Plaque, Documentaries, Chicago Film Festival Best of Elementary, Birmingham Film Festival *Bronze Medal, International Film & Television Festival, New York * Selected Film for Young Adults - 1980, American Library Association * Distinguished Achievement Award, San Francisco State University * Alumni Award of Merit, University of Southern California Cinema Circulus * Screenings, Museum of Modern Art Screening, New York & Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Washington DC, Premiere. 

Link here to order PLTW DVD with

Public Performance License Rights

For classroom use.

And check out another new movie about inventing and building,

from Shedd Productions, Inc.



tells the story of building one of the world's most energy efficient,

high performance buildings

- the Banner Bank Building in Boise, ID -


Now available in Widescreen DVD at www.deepgreen.tv.

Produced in High Definition by Shedd Productions, Inc.

and WideEye Productions, Inc.

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